Ever since I can remember I’ve been aware that I’m quiet. As a teenager my friend’s mother said that Carol is quiet but not shy – if she’s got something to say she’ll go ahead and say it. This phrase really stuck with me, it acknowledged who I was without it sounding like a negative. Anyone who lives in western culture is aware that being an extrovert is seen as a good thing. Reserved, soft spoken and quieter qualities are usually treated as something that need to be corrected. I’ve always had an issue with this. I don’t think your personality type should ever put unnecessary boundaries around you but it’s important to accept that certain activities will just come easier for some people.
Last weekend I was traveling to Cologne for the big H+H trade show and I started reading “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. It was recommended by several people to me but it took me a few years to get around to actually buying the book! I haven’t finished it yet but it confirmed a lot of beliefs I already had.
The job as a designer I choose to do involves for 90% of the time creative work alone. I spend intense hours thinking, planning, writing and knitting. As an introvert (with definite extroverted tendencies on the side!!) I love this time. I can dig into my brain and find an inner peace that allows me to create and articulate what’s going on in my head. Obviously my job doesn’t just involve working at home; I also teach classes and attend many shows both retail and trade. I also enjoy these parts of the job but find them much harder work. As a child, I took many drama and public speaking classes and I learned how speak in public and create a persona (or side of myself) that feels very comfortable standing up and speaking in public.
For designers that are more extroverted I suspect that the balance of the jobs they choose to do is reversed; with more time spent teaching and doing shows than at home with alone work. Neither of these choices are wrong but knowing who you are, your own natural abilities and tendencies is very helpful. It’s always important to stretch your comfort zones but denying your basic makeup is really just fooling yourself! It gets pretty tiring to play at being an extrovert for too long :-) I’m pretty happy with where I’m at, I’ve no desire to be other than I am so please extroverts of the world don’t feel like you need to change and ‘fix’ me!
Have you found your inner peace with your personality type?