Monday, May 26, 2014

An happy introvert

About two months ago, I discovered I am an introvert. For the first time in my life, I've been able to put words, but also to better understand how I felt for 28 years.

I've always been considered as a quiet child. I could play on my own for hours without needing any attention from the grown ups around me. I've always enjoyed the company of books. Even before I could read, I would hide books under my pillow and "read" them after my parents would put me to bed. Needless say I always brought books with me in holidays. (Imagine my happiness when discovering in my mid twenties the magic of unlimited number of ebooks on my iPad!).

At school, I tended to have a small group of friends rather than being the popular one. I've been friends with extroverts for years. I guess they acted as buffer, or shields, between the others in the class / school and myself. I'm not a sport person, and team sports tend to make me really nervous. As do any situation I cannot really imagine, prepare in my head and get ready for.

At the tender age of 9, I decided I was going to become a journalist. My goal was to make sure that everyone knew the truth and to help people communicate. Also, I really loved to write. I've been through middle and high school with this goal in mind. I tried to enter one of the few reknown French journalism schools but failed by far. I managed to get a summer job at the local newspaper, to get some experience in the field and earn some money. I hated every minute of it. I required me to attend crowded events and to talk to people I didn't know. I had to ask them unwanted questions. It was a great source of anxiety and make me realise it was not a job for me.

I directed myself toward communication. Some aspects of the job were fairly close to journalism, but at least relationships were held under the rules of the company. I was an employee as any other, and was due respect and help for this fact only.

After 3 years in communication, I was offered the opportunity to work as a full time continuous improvement project leader and to be Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt trained (and hopefully certified sometime soon). Again, I was facing the unknown everyday and had to go towards people when my guts would ask for some peace and quiet environment.

And after 6 years working for the same company, I was invited to a Leadership and Development. Not knowing what to expect was hard and make me reluctant to really engage. I took the tests I was asked to before the training, but without really understanding what it would bring me.

I have learned that how I feel is normal - just not to the extroverts around me. I have been able to identify stressful situations and react better to them. I have been able to say to my extrovert husband that even though I love him, too much interactions with people during this particular work day make me want to be on my own for a while.

Knowing myself better doesn't change the fact that working on an open space or training people is very much outside of my comfort zone. Though, that knowledge and my (nerdy) love for statistics pushed me to start a blog and my own prediction model. 

Indeed, my goal here is to capture data about my interactions with the outside world, to measure when I have my fair share for the day and thus be able to predict the "how much" and "what kind" of interactions I can take in a day (and also measure the minimal threshold for an extrovert).

I'll take you with me on my journey and would be glad to share thoughts and suggestions.