A term introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed inward. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other people.
If you were to ask me if I was an introvert vs extrovert before 2015 I would have said I’m an extrovert. I have spoken at over 100+ tech meetups, conferences and events. I’ve organized conferences that has 1000 plus attendees and attended large events such as SXSW and CES with over 50K attendees. I’ve been active on social media before it was called social media. Most people who know me would say I’m good at networking and business development. But then there’s their the anxiety and coffee shops … the other side.
Before I moved to San Francisco in 2012 you could always find me during the weekends or at night in North Carolina at a coffee shop. Their was the Morning Cafe or Cafe Helos. When I moved to San Francisco the trend continued. I was staying in the Mission District which was cafe heaven.
What does the cafe’s have to do with being an introvert? For me it was my safe place. Even though I was around other people it kept me from feeling lonely but it also allowed me to feel and think in my own world… which always at time was not the best thing.
As an entrepreneur looking back, I can now see why I had soo many side projects. I’m no doctor but my assumption is the “introvert” in me was always busy thinking of ideas to build that I liked.
I’ve learned over the years to become more self-aware of how I feel and think, I’ve started to ask why more. Why at times I don’t want any meetings. Why I want to be alone and what makes me feel happy and sad or angry. I’ve learned that I like sitting in a cafe or home building websites, hacking WordPress themes, launching MVPs or learning a new technical skill. I’ve learned I like to workout alone and run alone. I’ve learned that I like short 30 minute in person meetings. I’ve learned that I don’t like happy hours or long group meetings. I’ve learned that I can go weeks with back-to-back meetings scheduled and then I would do my best to have weeks with no meetings so I can have more time to myself. I’ve learned that I’m not the best at leading a team because at times I would want to be alone. I’ve also learned that I like hosting events, conferences and large gathering but through the event I’ll stay busy so I’ll have time to myself or find a corner to get away. I’ve learned that I love mentoring startups but I have a time limit before I need a break. I’ve learned that I like one-on-one meetings vs team meetings.
Whew… and most of what I’ve learned about myself I’ve learned and acknowledge in the last three years. It wasn’t until August 2015 when I realized that I’m an Introvert. I had one of those Facebook status update confessional moments.
I haven’t taken any official testing or read any books on the power of the “introvert” but I’m sure I’m an introvert and I love it. Now I’m able to examine my thoughts and emotions to see when I’m working to put myself in the best environment for productivity. That’s when I’m in control or don’t have any meetings or events that I must attend.
Embracing being an “Introvert Entrepreneur” can have it’s pros and cons. For pros if we go back to the definition of an introvert, your motives and actions are directed inward. Then you are thinking about yourself, which is not a bad thing. What if you use that time to learn a new skill or do an activity you’ve been putting off or workout. You’re also thinking a lot. If you become self-aware of your thoughts you can use that time and energy to build confidence.
As for cons, being an introvert can lead to loneliness, being self-centered, selfish and negative thinking which can lead to depression (disclosure my assumptions).
Being an Introvert is great. Being self-aware of how you think and feel is even better. Embrace who you are become the best person you can be.