The full quote for this title is “She don’t want no one around, cause she don’t want anybody to see what she looks like when she’s down- cause that’s a really sad place to be…” It’s from a Counting Crows lyric, and when things go badly, I understand it in a very personal way. You see, despite what those who interact with me might think, I am an introvert by nature. When the world around me gets chaotic and challenging, I find peace and strength in being able to be alone and recenter myself.
This has been one of those weeks — as if the hot water heater going wasn’t enough, I also “lost” one of my air conditioning units on a 90 degree day and had water flooding my basement when the skies finally opened up and released all that humidity that’s been building up for the last few weeks. Add to that some fairly severe medical problems for two family members, and you can picture me running for the hills.
And in moments like this, I think about how this hurts me professionally. I think often about the obvious ways that, in this field, introversion can be a crutch. I cringe at group ice breakers. I become visibly uncomfortable when someone wants to bring me into a new group of people. I am fully aware of how bad I am at small talk (known professionally as “networking”).
But I’m also aware of the many ways that my introversion allows me to excel. I am exceptional at working to task independently. I can spot an individual’s needs in a group because I am focused on the individuals present rather than on the group dynamic (which I acknowledge I rarely understand). As a manager, I am able to focus on the development of each of my staff and having meaningful relationships with each one — I find both comfort and solace in individual relationships.
So, while my flooding basement and my lack of hot water heater will drive me to the hills, the process of understanding one’s own process for rejuvenation is nothing to scoff at. Better to embrace the introvert in oneself in a genuine way than to try to be someone you are not — it is the lack of the genuine that will set people off, not the desire to have a bit of alone time.