Or an Extroverted Introvert?

I’ve been classified by many as an extrovert as I do not hesitate to take the stage or speak my mind. Just look at all the social media content I have created over the years – over 300 episodes of 60 Seconds of Real (and 15 Seconds of Real before that,) more than 400 YouTube videos, North of 5,000 podcast episodes (across a dozen shows) and in excess of 15,000 blog posts. Add to that my fourth book about to launch, dozens of Lunch & Learn presentations, seminar talks and you’re looking at someone who is fairly comfortable being in front of people.  So where does the introversion come in?

I think it’s all a matter of knowing when to talk and when to shut up. When I first meet someone, I am rarely the one to start vomiting words. I stay pretty reserved and while it is not something I do consciously, I find myself fascinated with learning about them – that keeps me quiet. I’m not sure if that is a defense mechanism where I need to feel safe to open up or something else. If I rambled on with close friends and family, I would believe that, but I am mostly quiet around them as well.

So when does my extroversion take over? When called on to make a presentation – to clients or an audience. I guess other than those times, I am pretty content to blend into the woodwork. What about all the social media content I’ve created?

Yes, it reaches a huge audience – over 1 million downloads of my podcasts alone. I create that content in private for the most part. An idea for 60 Seconds will strike me while driving or riding my bike, I’ll pull over and record. The blog posts are again just a random thought jotted down when a spare moment pops up. I’m writing this one early on a Sunday morning.

So what is my more natural state?

According to the Myers-Briggs psychological profile, I am classified as an ENTJ. The E is for extrovert. I am borderline I – Introvert however. To me, that means I can switch modes to fit the situation. Yes, when in a crowd of strangers, I am quiet first. I ask questions and gather information. Then, I gravitate to a leadership role if a noticeable void exists. If I see a capable leader stepping up, I will gladly resist the urge to be in charge and instead fall into a trusted adviser role.

Wow, how’s that for a Sunday morning stream of consciousness? What about you? Does your level of intro-extroversion change depending on the situation? Do you generally “shut up and color” or are you the one that calls the whole class to attention to announce that someone has the aquamarine crayon and you want it? Or perhaps you simply gather a group to show them that the “correct” way is to outline the section by pressing hard and then fill in lightly?

by Chris Doelle