The layman’s understanding of the difference between the two often relates to how “outgoing” a person is. They would describe an extrovert as ‘someone who you know is in the room because you hear them before you see them’, and an introvert as ‘the person standing quietly in the corner observing’. These classifications are not exactly accurate.
I was taught way back in my psychology lectures that the correct definition of an extrovert is someone who draws energy from those around them whilst an introvert draws energy from within when alone. So why is this important?
Having been in speaking and training circles for some time, it strikes me that the speakers and trainers who really have an impact are often introverts, which is contrary to what we might expect. The significance of this observation is that they place themselves on stages or in training rooms because of their drive to contribute towards and empower others rather than the desire to be recognised or admired. These types of speakers and trainers radiate authenticity and commitment to their purpose and in my opinion, dominate the speaking world for this reason.
This contribution driven purpose by no means excludes extroverts and I have observed a similar parallel in the world of entrepreneurship. The EnQ classification of this heightened level of authenticity and purpose is a “contribu-vert”. Entrepreneurs who are contribu-verts understand that it’s not all aboutthem and that their purpose extends way beyond their immediate wants, to the well being of many others they might lead and empower.
All highly regarded economists have a common message and that is that the stability and well-being of economies worldwide in the future will depend largely on our entrepreneurship abilities. They don’t mean that we just need to look after ourselves. Whilst the extroverts might collaborate freely and broadcast their presence and the introverts might plod along in isolation, it will be the contribu-verts who overcome the many challenges of the uncertain entrepreneurial environment and succeed – humbly and simply by their commitment to their purpose of a broader contribution.
Which one are you?
Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season. I say peaceful as I am not sure that restful goes so well with entrepreneurship. There is no doubt though that the downtime period ahead is a great time to recharge and refocus on how we might make a serious difference to our world in 2013.