I’m currently 40,000 feet in the air as I write this. There’s nothing quite like 6 hours on a plane with no connectivity to allow one to meditate on and process the results of a 7 day team retreat. It also leads a long task list in one’s notebook!
What I found myself meditating this time around was the people. How we’re all so varied, so unique, and yet with striking similarities repeated across a group of individuals. After spending 7 full days in the same house with 22 other people, I’ve realized two things.
First, the topic of introversion vs. extroversion so quickly becomes silly and unproductive. It’s a spectrum, plain and simple. A broad one. We all fall somewhere on the line, with different characteristics displaying where we live along that spectrum. What may classify one person as introverted may be completely different for the next.
Second, in her article titled The Outgoing Introvert, Jenn Granneman poses the idea that some introverts are social and not shy, enjoying the spotlight on occasion and not fearful of meeting others. Yet, when the battery gets depleted, these people need time alone in order to recharge and be ready for the next event.
This is exactly how I found myself. The past week drove that home once more. I love the chance to have some face to face time with my teammates. Getting in front of the team to speak is fun, not intimidating. Voicing my opinions in a healthy team debate is not a problem. And I cherish spending time with the newer teammate I’ve met for the first time, getting to know them a little better (or a lot). The concept of a team retreat for remote workers is critical to my job satisfaction.
It’s also exhausting!
Our last night was a great illustration. As we finished our last dinner together, the topic turned to what we’d do for the rest of the night. When someone mentioned watching a movie, one of my colleagues leaned over and said, “How about talking? To people? That’s what we’re here for.” And he was right.
But after 7 days of being in the company of others from morning to night, as enjoyable as it was, talking was the last thing I wanted to do. My teammate clearly is energized by the interactions. I had nothing left and wanted to just shut down. Neither is wrong; it’s just how we work.
As I looked around my other overtly introverted teammates, I could see the same thing on their faces. And so I enjoyed a good movie with a couple of other folks. Once again, I came away feeling blessed for working on a team that values diversity and allows us to be ourselves. We push each other to do our best, but all while respecting and embracing our differences.
I like that.