Photo by Lê Tâ
Here in New Zealand we have just launched into Term 4 – traditionally a time of high intensity and looming deadlines. A time when things can get a little bit crazy more often than we would like. So right now is a time when you need to manage your energy.
We’ve all probably heard the story of famous comedians who, once the stage lights are off, are “flat“, even depressed. They light up for the performance then crash afterwards.
How many of us do the same?
This scenario raises an interesting question about energy – where does yours come from?
. . .
There are plenty of things that feed into whether you are feeling ready for the push towards Christmas. Sleep, food, exercise, workflow management . . . they all play a part, but today I want to consider this question through the lens of personality – specifically, are you an “introvert” or an “extrovert”?
There are whole psychological theories dedicated to explaining these two terms, and anyone wanting to take a deep dive in the subject will have plenty of reading to do for many years to come.
Happily, in this short post there’s only one simple part that I am dwelling on – the different ways introverts and extroverts maintain energy. Of course, no healthy person is completely one or the other. It’s not a binary condition, rather each of us have portions of both.
But we’re also very likely to tend more towards one end of the spectrum than the other and that’s useful to acknowledge, (or work out), because the research shows that each personality type recovers differently. In our energy hungry profession, knowing this could both help us recover when we have been stretched a little too far for a little too long, and then help us stay energised for longer periods of time.
“Fun fact: approximately 52 – 60% of people are considered introverted.”
So slightly more of us will be on the introverted side of the continuum. The reason why knowing where you sit is important is that each type needs different energy building strategies. In simple terms:
Extroverts gain energy from being around and interacting with other people.
Introverts are the opposite, they recover by spending time alone or quietly with well-known familiar people.
So, which are you?
Quiz – If you are serious about this question, you are going to have to invest in something like the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator assessment or you could take a fairly lightweight short quiz like this one here just for fun .
Given that we are all somewhere on the continuum between the two extremes, it’s likely that most of us need some peace and quiet and some social recharge to find our balance, but when you’ve had a tough week, are you more likely to crave an evening in with a good book or a catch up with friends?
As the run towards the end of the year picks up pace, it will pay to deliberately schedule opportunities that you know are effective energisers for you.
Being a sustainable leader requires smart energy management and knowing yourself can definitely help with this.
PS: If you are mainly an introvert, but you need to (or believe you need to) regularly act in an extroverted way, could this be a reason why you are often tired?