Have you ever felt that you were different, not as good as you could be, or wished you could be more like someone else? I’ve come across so many introverts that at one time thought they were “broken.” People often experience feelings of inadequacy at some point in their lives, so this is normal. But I feel like it’s much more prevalent among introverts because of our introspective nature.

Certainly, there are many introverts that have not felt this way, but we can all benefit from learning from other introverts’ secrets and strategies for success, happiness, energy, and peace.

A man in a leather jacket looking down while sitting on a ledge in a city

You are not “broken”

You are not alone. And you are not broken. Many of the very successful introverted authors, coaches, speakers, and podcasters I speak with and read about have felt this way at one time… that something was wrong with them. The good news is that with some inner work, they realized they were not broken and each had some amazing strengths because of their introversion. They eventually discovered that they would not be the successful person they became without those introverted strengths! And you can too.

Unfortunately, there are still too many introverts that think their situation is hopeless… And that they can’t get what they want out of life… That they are “broken.” This is why I do what I do.  If you are feeling broken, you are not. Introversion is not something to fix. It’s a natural part of who we are and should be embraced. When we introspect, we often find that there are many things that make us happy and fulfilled in our own company, but we also find joy in the company of others. We don’t need to change who we are to be successful or to match what we see in others; we just need to find the right opportunities and partners.

 

Introversion is not something to fix

It may take some time, but as an introvert, you need to come to understand your gifts and also what you need in order to honor your introversion. I was definitely part of the group that felt that something was wrong with me – that I needed fixing.  About the time I learned my introversion couldn’t be fixed, I realized it didn’t need fixing. I realized that introversion is a beautiful thing.  I do not need my introversion to be fixed or cured, and neither do you. But rather, we each need to understand how we work best and where our strengths truly are. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced.

man lying on soil

You have amazing gifts as an introvert

If you’re still feeling broken, it can be hard to imagine that you have amazing gifts, but I promise, you do!

Did you know some of the most influential and successful people in our time are introverts? Here’s a list of ten (in no particular order) who came to understand how to put their introvert superpowers to use, and there are so many more introverts that have used their great gifts to become successful. These introvert gifts such as seeing the big picture, deep data analysis, self-reflection, rich imagination, and an ability to “see” others were used to create empires and change the world.

  1. Warren Buffett – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
  2. Oprah Winfrey – Television Personality
  3. Mark Zuckerberg – Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Facebook, Inc.
  4. Sheryl Sandberg – Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Inc.
  5. Michael Jordan – Businessman and former Professional Basketball Player
  6. Elon Musk – CEO and Product Architect of Tesla
  7. Steve Wozniak – Co-Founder of Apple
  8. JK Rowling – Best-Selling Author
  9. Bill Gates – Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corporation
  10. Rosa Parks – Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

And there are so many other highly successful introverts!  Learn about a few more amazing and successful introverts herehere, and here.

So how do you figure out your own unique gifts and how to use them?

brown dried leaves on sand

Cherish your differences

When I was in graduate school I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which is a self-assessment of personality designed by David Keirsey. It closely resembles the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, but there are some significant differences between the two assessments.  I later read Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey. Right at the beginning of the book, Keirsey takes on this concept that we don’t need fixing, but understanding. 

“If you do not want what I want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong. Or if my beliefs are different from yours, at least pause before you set out to correct them.”

“Or if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, please let me be. I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up trying to change me into a copy of you.”

“Or if my emotion seems less or more intense than yours, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel other than I do.”

“And one day, perhaps, in trying to understand me, you might come to prize my differences, and, far from seeking to change me, might preserve and even cherish those differences.”

I love the word “cherish” here.  I believe we all need to cherish our own differences and also the differences of others.

woman in gray sweater sitting on white chair

Discover your strengths

My personality type is INTJ or the “Mastermind.”  I like the sound of a mastermind, and just knowing that title, someone could make some assumptions about me. There are many 16 different personality types in the Myers-Briggs assessment, and each type comes with its own unique strengths. But for this to truly be helpful, we need to dive into what is behind the label, again, what are your own preferences, strengths, and needs.

For example, Keirsey lists that INTJs are “head and shoulders above the rest in contingency planning.” This is definitely a strength of mine.  I work in an environment of limited resources and personnel and often am juggling to determine the most efficient use of the resources at hand.  Not only am I good at it, but I thoroughly enjoy using my strengths in this way.  This has always been a super-power of mine, but I have not always fully understood this gift. 

Also, it’s important for me to know that I need to contribute in this way.  I also need to be recognized by others as being good at this, because I know I can frustrate people who don’t see the big picture of things the way that I do.  This doesn’t make me better than anyone, but rather the understanding allows me to use my gift and allow others to use theirs.

As you learn more about your own strengths, you’ll see how to better contribute and make a difference in your own work, endeavors, and life. You’ll be able to know where to spend your energies and efforts most effectively and see the greatness in yourself.

woman in black spaghetti strap top posing for photograph

Understand your Weaknesses

Part of understanding your personality type is also being aware of your weaknesses. Having weaknesses doesn’t mean you are WEAK. It simply means that there are things about your personality traits that if you are aware of, you can avoid certain issues by identifying your weaknesses or blind spots. For example, I need to be aware of certain INTJ traits that might be problematic if not understood.

Keirsey states “Colleagues may describe INTJs as unemotional, and, at times, cold and dispassionate when in truth they are merely taking the goals of the institution seriously, and continually striving to achieve those goals.” I need to understand this, so I can make sure that I’m understood by others.  I don’t ever want to come off as “cold and dispassionate,” and may need to explain why I made a particular decision. 

I care deeply about my organization and the people in it, but as an INTJ I can be misunderstood if I’m not careful. By being aware of your own personality traits and the accompanying weaknesses, you can avoid pitfalls when dealing with others, making decisions, and understanding yourself.

grayscale photography of woman wearing eyeglasses

Being Seen

As a podcast host, I have had some amazing introverted professionals, coaches, and therapists on the Quiet and Strong show.  And I have been inspired by them. I believe coaching can be so helpful in gaining further understanding of ourselves.

Personally, I had a great experience with a coach as I was beginning my journey into understanding strengths. I had a coach that saw me for who I was and who helped me see the great gifts I had. She was not trying to fix me, but rather to help me understand my own gifts. That is what we need as humans: to be seen and understood rather than to be fixed.

Even if you are not a coach, you can bring this to those in your life: whether you are a supervisor, parent, co-worker, spouse or partner, or any other relationships.  The experience of “I see you” from another is a magical and inspiring feeling.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that we can’t get better, but we improve by leaps and bounds when we understand ourselves and are not trying to be someone we are not or not trying to force or coerce someone else into being something they are not.

Have you had the experience and frustration of having someone trying to fix you? Or have you had the experience of joy by being seen for who you are?

If you feel that you are not everything you can be, you absolutely can get better by starting with your own self-awareness. And as you are more self-aware you can work to use your gifts and help people around you understand your gifts and also your needs – and help them understand themselves better too.

Get to know your own personality

An instrument like the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and a Myers–Briggs personality assessment can be very helpful. Do you know your own personality type? The more you learn about yourself the more you can understand how to use your own superpowers. You’ll gain confidence in yourself and be able to make positive changes in your life.

Also, as we learn more about our own personalities, we need to validate if it is true for us.  We need to remember that these assessments are just tools and there may be some things that don’t apply to us. Take what is true for you and use it to grow and develop your unique strengths.

We are all individuals, but these tools can help us see some similarities we may have with others and some strategies for success. Also, even without an assessment, you can pay attention to those things that strengthen you each day and work towards incorporating more activities that strengthen you.

If you’re interested in taking a personality assessment to get to know yourself better, here’s the one I recommend. This free assessment will give you the 4-letter Myers-Briggs code and you can purchase an extended report if you’d like to learn more.

Ready for more?

Take the Typefinder Personality Assessment

Listening to the Quiet and Strong Podcast

Read more from the Quiet and Strong Blog

Recommended Posts