At least, it should be a dialogue. Many times it’s a destructive monologue, telling us how deficient we are.
Let’s turn it into a dialogue, shall we? Here’s a sample of some of the voices I’ve heard regularly around these parts:
>> You’re defective. “See all those socially-aggressive, energetic extroverts? They’re superior. Unless you’re Gary Vaynerchuk, you’re nothin’.”
> Response: Actually, I’m perfectly OK. I’m who God made me to be, and my wiring means I have some unique and wonderful strengths. Gary leads loudly. I do my thing quietly. Value comes in many forms.
> Response: Really?? Well, let’s take a look at Mack Collier. Lisa Petrilli. Gini Dietrich. Introverts can be quite outgoing (well, up to a point…!), pro-active, thoughtful, and helpful – and that’s what we need to be great networkers.
>> The most successful people have the capacity to be ‘always on.’ “You need time to think and re-charge, so you’re doomed to be second rate.”
> Response: What a crock. The need, and ability, that we introverts have to withdraw and reflect is one of the greatest sources of our strength. It’s perfectly fine to “pulse” our social interaction in a rhythm that strengthens us, not drains us.
If you’re like me, the monologue focuses on limits. That voice assumes inferiority. Introverts need to exercise the boldness to talk back, to dialogue and dismiss the self-limiting lies, and to fully occupy our place of value in the workplace.
Let’s take a cue from Susan Cain. Embrace your wiring, see your advantages, and make a difference.