I have been reading the book “Quiet: The Power of Intraverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain and firstly I am filled with gratitude. After spending the last three years as an intravert in the role of CEO, it is wonderful to read a book that describes my experience of being in that role so beautifully.
Of course, many would not recognise me as an intravert. I love people and have become somewhat adept in social situations. I have trained and practiced in networking and public speaking so I can be more confident and effective in doing that. I can play the role and turn on when I need to, but the truth is that it is more like playing a character. People and social settings are great and enjoyable for me, but they don’t energise me. Actually, I found this aspect of the role incredibly draining. For me I need personal space, time, quiet and room for contemplation to be most effective and to recharge my batteries.
This kind of self-knowledge is hard won (and I’m still only in the beginning of that journey). I sat in denial of my intraversion and needs for personal space and quiet. I tried to be like others (dangerous), or live and work up to what I believed was expected of me as a CEO. And while I think me pushing myself had some benefit to the organisation, it did come at some cost to me.