The power of secluded work.

Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, I think it is beneficial to realize how some people function. I wonder where the majority of triathletes lie? I want to say extrovert because of group training opportunities, but then again, if you are training for a long distance race chances are pretty good that you will be spending a lot of time solo-training and you must be okay with that.

I have always thought of myself as an introvert, though tests have shown that I’m actually an ambivert – right in the middle between introvert and extrovert.

Regardless of the title, I spend a lot of time in my own head. I need a considerable amount of quiet time.

I also value connecting with other humans, and really enjoy many social activities.

I have always loved school, but I have struggled in a typical workplace setting in that I’ve never been truly happy in a job for the long-term and I didn’t think it was just ‘because it’s work and called that for a reason.’ Nonetheless, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, leading me to keep trying different jobs.

For the last 4 weeks I have enjoyed life as a solopreneur. I spend considerable time working quietly by myself, and I’m starting to notice something very unexpected when I am around other people. I have had some awesome connections with others. Different in quality than I have commonly experienced before.

I am guessing that in a work environment, surrounded by people and noise all day long, I was drained nearly all the time. This meant that when I did interact with others, I was far less connected at any given moment. Now that I have most of my time to myself, I am far more engaged and energized by the conversations I do have.

Additionally, when I reflect back to the school piece – I had the same good fortune as a student to be able to spend lots of time alone in my own head. Yes, there was lots of time surrounded by others, but not to the same extent as the workplace. Sure, the time flexibility played a role too, but I wonder if being able to be more within my own nature helped even more.

What would happen if more workplaces were more in tune with the ideal level of interaction for different people? What if we had quiet rooms that employees could go to get work done, and could shut the door for hours without interruption and without a negative stigma? (This may be called an office! But even though I had an office, I felt pressure to keep my door open most of the time to be available to others; and many of the employees I know don’t even have the benefit of an office. They have to go to work in a cubicle for 8+ hours a day) What if employees could even work from home more often?

Quiet by Susan Cain is an awesome book I think anyone should read. Especially if you tend towards introversion.

She also has a website for a project referred to as Quiet Revolution. Here is the manifesto:

The Quiet Revolution Manifesto

There is a word for “people who are in their heads too much”—thinkers.

Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.

Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There is always time to be quiet later.

But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.

One genuine relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.

It’s okay to cross the street to avoid making small talk.

“Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.

Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” —Mahatma Gandhi


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