Being introverted or extroverted has to do with how you get your energy, not your actual social skills. I am an extrovert, so I get energy from people and from crowds. I feel a buzz and a zip of energy when I walk into a room of people. This also means that I will absorb energy easily, and I can give energy easily. I do however run out of all my spunk once I’ve spent it. A girl can only extrovert so far.
Recently I was blessed with two offers to sit on a boards for local organizations. I wanted to do both, but I knew I only had time and energy for one. I really wish I was the do-it-all-in-heels kind of gal, but again, a girl can only extrovert so far and I am already over-subscribed. When it came time to deciding which to serve, here’s how I thought about it:
**_Which one makes me feel most pumped up with energy and ideas?_**
I am usually flooded with ideas when I first hear about an opportunity. I get so excited and worked up about it, and can’t wait to jump in with both feet. Sometimes that enthusiasm wanes, but usually it fuels me forward. This is when I know an opportunity is one that I am going to enjoy and give the most to. If you’re an introvert this is especially important – think about how you will contribute if you don’t want to be at big events, or surrounded by tons of people. If this is a great place for you to do some one-on-one or at-home work, then maybe that’s the right move for your energy management.
**_Which one has me surrounded by people who will cultivate my energy, not drain it?_**
Choose the people who influence your life wisely. Are the people you’re about to surround yourself with the type to give, or take? Are they cheering you on, or questioning your motives? Are they inviting you in, or are they filling your calendar? The ideal situation to be in is one that is win-win, where everyone feels they are getting the best end of the bargain.
If an opportunity came out of this, would I be excited about it, or dread it?
I am all about strategy, and tell many people to join boards that they’re not only passionate about, but that can also create opportunities for them. When that is the case, think about what type of opportunities you want, and who you’ll be working with as a result. If you’re a big time believer of the cause but will need to work with people you don’t admire or respect, then maybe pass and put your name in the hat next year.
Which one did I tell my husband about first?
This is the final test for me. When I came home and talked about my day, or called my mom, or went into a meeting and the first thing I wanted to gush about was one of two cool opportunities, then that is typically the one I should lean towards. If something fills you up enough to want to evangelize about it and share, then that is something you could be meant for. When you lead with your heart, you will have to learn how to guide and protect it. Finding the right way to manage your energy can prove to be a built in shield that helps you stay on the right path with ease.
Photos by Valerie Denise