Saturday, March 24, 2012

a team of one

my name is lisa and i am a recovering fake extrovert. 

from very early on, the resounding message in my home, my classrooms, my playgrounds and sunday school classes was that my natural inclination to seek solitude to think things through and imagine solutions was the wrong way to go.  join the group, share your ideas (and allow others to claim them as their own), brainstorm, work as a team; these were the commands repeated by my mother, teachers, girlscout leaders and anyone else whose job it was to help me succeed.

i learned that extroversion, and particularly the group-joining model of extroversion, was the best and only path to success.  very early on i perfected my extroverted persona.   i painfully volunteered to be in the play, give the speech, lead the group.  and i was good at it.  and it worked.  because our american culture values a strong team player above all else.

it's only in the last year and my new training and work with myers-briggs that i have discovered my true and lovely introverted self.  i peeled away the numbed layers of pain from years of being a pretend extrovert.  i realized that often being a part of the team left my ideas and contributions misunderstood,  "dumbed down" or hijacked by the inevitable team climber.  embracing my introversion has actually allowed me to be more effective and certainly more authentic in a group.

thank god we as a culture are starting to realize that our obsession with teamwork has gone too far.  i'm reading the book "quiet" by susan cain.  if you are an introvert, or a pretend extrovert, or an actual extrovert, it will totally be worth your time to spend twenty minutes watching her ted talk.

i am dedicating this weekend to introversion.  there will be reading, gardening, one-on-one talks, photography, cooking and lots and lots of thinking and writing.  sounds like heaven to me.