Are you an Introvert?

Introvert Search

Think through these questions:

*Have you ever thought you needed to be “different” to succeed in your career?  

*Does the idea of networking make you want to crawl in a hole and hide?

*Do you prefer a quiet office in which to work over a noisy, open floor plan?

Chances are, you are an introvert living in an extroverted world.

Tell me more: Introvert or Extrovert

People who identify as introverts get their energy from the inner world of ideas, emotions, and impressions. Introverts tend to prefer quiet spaces – it is easy for an introvert to get overstimulated by the outside world.

On the other hand, introverts are thinkers and need to use quiet areas to think through ideas and recharge. This skill makes it easy for introverts to enjoy going deep on topics or digging deep into an activity.

In contrast, an extrovert gets energy from outside of themselves – talking, socializing, interacting with others. They love being with people, going places, and seeing things. They are energy spenders. As such, extroverts may find it hard to sit quietly for long periods, preferring to take in a little bit of information across various topics to keep their minds stimulated.

So, what if sometimes you are a little bit of both? Recent research suggests that many people fall between the introvert and extrovert spectrum, often referred to as ambivert.

An ambivert sometimes enjoys quiet alone time and sometimes wants the energy that comes from the outside world. 

The Personality Test – helpful or harmful?

The introvert-extrovert spectrum is part of many well-known personality tests. You have likely taken a personality test at some point in your life, either in school or at work. The most common is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). This test is used widely across colleges, corporations, and training courses. The first letter within the MBTI® is either “I” or “E,” indicating your preference for Introversion or Extraversion. 

My first experience with the MBTI® was as a freshman in college, and it was the first time I got a label on what I thought was my quiet and shy tendencies. Since then, I have taken the MBTI® many times at future academic endeavors, company team building events, and leadership training activities. But, for me, the results have always come back clear – the extreme side of introversion.  

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® isn’t the only personality test out there. Many assessments exist, and companies use them for different purposes, from pre-employment during recruiting to leadership development courses.

Recently, Ray Dalio (author of Principles, 2017) partnered with Adam Grant (Organizational Psychologist, Author) to publish a new free assessment called PrinciplesYou ( While the resulting archetypes don’t call out introversion and extroversion specifically, you may find insights in the details about your results that help you to understand your preferences better.

The quick Introvert assessment – how many of these sounds like you?

No test? No problem! If you relate to the list below, there’s a good chance you are an introvert. 

  • Prefer to hang out alone or with a few close friends
  • Appear calm and quiet to the outside world
  • Prefer to listen versus talking; like to think through things / be prepared to talk or act
  • Have friends but consider only a handful of close relationships to be in that group
  • Like to observe
  • Don’t like being put on the spot, often blank out when called out
  • Like to do things on your timeline, don’t like feeling rushed

Nurture your Nature

For me, from the first MBTI® assessment, “introvert” felt like a label. For as long as I can remember, my thoughts about my introverted characteristics and tendencies have made me feel different.  

Being an introvert is something that I always wanted to change.

Can you switch from being an introvert to an extrovert?

Ugh, I wish! I mean, really. I cannot count the number of times I’ve had that thought. 

My logical brain convinced me that it would just be easier to be an extrovert. 

In the early 1900s, Carl Jung pioneered research that brought to bear the introvert / extrovert spectrum. He concluded that we all have a “natural niche” where we function best, a niche that comes from genetic inheritance. Scientists have continued to build on his theories, and while they have evolved in definition and scope, the leading thought is still that introversion is a part of the DNA. 

So can we change our natural niche – not really. 

But wait – there is good news!  

While you may not be able to change, you can operate outside of your natural niche.  Practically, this means that your natural preferences don’t have to define how you work, but you need to manage with them in mind to be successful.

Finding the sweet spot between spending time in your natural niche and operating outside it is a constant balancing act. 

We’ll delve into this idea much more in future blog posts.  

A quick note: Shy vs. Introvert

It is common to assume that all introverts are shy.

But shyness is a distinct personality trait that can occur in both introverts and extroverts. 

Fear is what drives shyness, specifically fear of interacting with people. Both those who get energy from the inside and outside can be nervous in situations around people. In contrast, both introverts and extroverts can be outgoing and have no fear around other people.

While temperament can influence shyness, parenting practices during childhood and life experiences strongly contribute to the sense of self that we each develop.

There’s no place like home – especially for an introvert!

Does the description of introvert resonate with you? You’ll find a home here. 

The mission at the Corporate Introvert is to support women in achieving their extraordinary goals at work. With coaching, courses, and a community built just for introverts, I hope you will feel supported and empowered to go out and kick-ass at work.  

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P. P.S. What does community mean to you – how would you like to interact with TCI? Please drop a comment below to let us know!

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