My friend was telling me recently that his son was interested in acting, but he was concerned that his son wouldn’t succeed because he was an introvert.  Quickly I let him know that being an introvert doesn’t need to exclude anyone from any career.  We just do things a bit differently.

Introversion is still so misunderstood by so many.  Introversion is not about your confidence or lack of confidence, social ability or social desire.  Introverts spend more time getting lost in their inner world of ideas.  Introverts often have vivid imaginations and a rich inner life. Of course, introverts pay attention to what is going on around them, but definitely spend more time in thought.  Extroverts spend more time focused on the outer world.  Introverts and extroverts both spend time in thought and also paying attention to what is happening around them, but the ratio and some other factors are different. Coming to understand this has been quite liberating for me.  I have come to know myself, what my strengths are, and what I need.

Can introverts really be whatever they want?

So can my friend’s son be an actor?  Absolutely! I hear some silly stereotypes of careers that introverts should and shouldn’t do.  About half of the population are introverts so it’s a little crazy to stereotype HALF of the population. When it comes to many areas of life, the real question is not can an introvert do something, but rather how they do it.

 


 

I have heard that many actors are introverts. When it comes to acting as an example, what might attract an introvert to acting?  What strengths do they bring? Any needs to be aware of? I am not much of an actor unless you count the couple of plays I was in as a kid.  However, I absolutely love to perform!  My “performances” take the form of presentations and speeches.  I am going to answer the three questions above with my own experience and my love and need to perform.  You can relate this to acting.  And in the case of any career, you can ask the same three questions: Why are you attracted to this profession or activity? What strengths do you bring?  What needs do you have?  All introverts are not alike, so the answers will vary by person.  Yet there are some commonalities that can be helpful to discuss.

So why do I like to give presentations and speeches? 

As an introvert, I have many ideas.  I happen to think that they are all good.  I love to share them.  In a presentation or a speech, I can prepare those thoughts and concepts ahead of time and put them into a coherent and hopefully powerful and impactful message.  Also as an introvert, I am very reflective and some of the absurdities of life are very apparent to me, so I like to think I am funny.  It is also nice to share my thoughts in the way I want without interruptions.

What strengths do I have?

I think deeply.  I like to think of how to make the world a better place for my family, friends, colleagues, and the world.  I am a big-picture person who can also take account of the details.  For example, I see how we are all unique and have our own gifts and strengths.  Yet there are helpful patterns of personality that we can be aware of for ourselves and for others.  This is something that I am aware of and is a message I want to share.  In this example, I want to help others understand themselves and others.

What do I need?

When it comes to presentations and speeches I need to spend some time preparing.  I know plenty of people that can “wing it” and give a great speech.  That is not me.  I definitely can give a great speech, but it will be best with plenty of preparation.  It’s also helpful to know what gives you energy and what drains you. Things you enjoy may still be draining.  I love giving speeches, but I find it is best if I can have a little downtime soon after to recharge.

Of course, all introverts do not want to be actors or give speeches.  The point is, first, figure out what you want to do. Then ask yourself how will you go about it? This can be applied to more than just career choices.  You can use it to design an approach to relationships, communication, leadership, productivity, and overall success and happiness.  Embrace your strengths and embrace your introversion.

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