Because I chose a career as a professional coach, I talk to people, often a lot of people at once. People often perceive me as an extrovert because of my job and frequent role as a public speaker. The assumption is that introverts don’t do well in social situations, especially being front and center of a group.
Confidence Isn’t Exclusive to Extroverts
On the flip side the assumption is that extroverts, with their high energy and easy ability to approach people, must be inherently confident. I recently sat in a training program, surrounded by a group of professionals who were insisting that I am an extrovert. The instructor and the other extroverts in the group had no problem labeling me as an extrovert. They were insinuating that I wasn’t self-aware of my own personality style, that how I see myself is not how others perceive me. I sat there, silently stunned, wishing I could explain to them that shyness and confidence do not exactly correlate to whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert. And that’s how I label myself, as a confident introvert.
Shyness refers to fear associated with social judgments. Confidence is almost the opposite, having conviction in yourself and being less concerned with how others perceive you. That is why having confidence as a public speaker is perceived as extroversion. Sometimes, in my role as a professional coach, my clients ask me to change them from an introvert to an extrovert. I explain that’s not possible, but that I can help them become a confident introvert.
Those of you who know me well know that I specialize in personality and communication. I’ve even created my own program (MIND The Matters) that deals with the interpretation of and relationships between personality styles. It is nothing new to have others argue with me about my style. In fact, many participants in my training classes view me as an extrovert and feel quite confident in their assessment, as if I’m completely blinded by my own extroversion. But here is the scoop: It is possible to be a shy extrovert or a confident introvert.
Being Shy Does Not Make You an Introvert
The defining feature of introversion or extroversion is actually unrelated to shyness: it is directly related to energy and vitality. Extroverts derive energy from social interactions. They enjoy being around people and talking aloud. Introverts derive their energy from solitude. They enjoy personal reflection and thinking time. The bottom line: an extrovert may love being around people, but may still be shy about whether others will like them, whereas an introvert may surround themselves with a group of people with a sense of confidence–they just need to be alone afterwards!
Whether you’re a shy extrovert or a shy introvert, working with a professional coach can help with your confidence which will ultimately help you succeed more often. If you haven’t looked into speaking with a coach about how you can improve your life or business, I’m happy to speak with you. Reach out to me through my contact form and we’ll decide together if I’m the right professional coach for you.