I am frequently confused for an extrovert. On Sundays and other important days of ministry I can perform as an extrovert. I assure you, it’s not what comes natural for me.
I’m very much an introvert. I almost max out this preference on the Myers Briggs.
I’ve written extensively about introversion on this blog. You can read some of those posts in the suggested posts at the end of this one. But, my church often sees me look very much like an extrovert.
I don’t want to be fake – and I’m not trying to be. My church hears me say I’m an introvert. I’m not hiding the fact. But, I know my role calls for me to engage people.
As a result of my ability to appear extroverted, a question I receive frequently is: How do you do it? How do I appear so extroverted when I am so introverted?
Here are 5 ways I break away from my introversion to perform as an extrovert:
Love people. This sounds simple and may even sound trite, but I genuinely love people. I love connecting with people. I want to engage with others. Doing so doesn’t come natural to me, but it’s not because I don’t love first. In fact, I think it’s very hard to be a leader – and certainly not a pastor – unless you love people. (One of the biggest misunderstandings of introverts is when extroverts think we don’t love people. It’s not true for most of us.)
Be purposeful – Since I love people – and know connecting with them is a huge part of my position – I remind myself there is a reason to be extroverted in some occasions. Often people are waiting on me to engage them. To be a Kingdom-builder, I have to converse with others – even when it’s uncomfortable. The reason I am willing to act outside my comfort zone is I love people and value the connection with them more than I love my individual preference or comfort.
Prepare mentally – I have to prep myself before Sunday. I remind myself – I have a job to do, people are expecting me to engage with them, it’s not going to be easy, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. It’s a mental exercise before any event where I need to be outgoing. (And, some days I do better than others.) I also try to shut down on Saturday evening – planning few social events – and I plan to have adequate recovery time following an extremely extroverted event.
Discipline myself – At some point, I just do it. I simply have to make myself do what I may not at first want to do. Work the room. Make the initial approach for a new relationship. Talk! Engage! Connect! Do it! And, with practice it gets easier. It really does. I’m always glad when I do. (And, extroverts can understand this one – or maybe the whole post.)
Reward myself – After an extremely extroverted occasion I crash heartily. Sunday afternoon naps are the deepest sleeping I ever have. Plus, my family understands if I’m quieter than normal at Sunday lunch. Sometimes I go for a run. Sometimes I plan a walk with Cheryl. It’s my time to renew do I can do it again when needed.
Okay, introverts, your turn. How do you breakout of your introversion when you need to do so?