The Blog

Can You Be An Introvert With the Career of an Extrovert?

Just like Warren Buffet had to overcome his fear of public speaking in order to become one of the most successful businessmen in America, we can all work with our limitations and not be held back by them. You need to figure out what your true voice is as early in your career as you can.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

The Greek philosopher Plato determined everyone in the world had one of four personality types: Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine or Melancholy. He called them "humours" but nowadays experts take it further, studying personality in more in-depth ways, like with the famous Myers-Briggs test (which is also based on the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung). They say you can do better in the world if you know your personality type, and once you know it, you can easily find the right job for you.

It can be hard to figure out who you truly are and what you want to do for a living. You look around at social media and it seems like everyone else has got their stuff together, all figured out, with beautifully curated photos (like one of my favourites, Lucky editor Eva Chen) to match. How did they know what they wanted to do? Did they always know? Did they pick a job that perfectly suited their personality type? I believe we shouldn't limit ourselves by choosing a career that's exactly like our personalities, and instead focus on what we're passionate about. Just like in love, sometimes our perfect match is actually our opposite!

I believe finding the right fit is about more than just personality. How many times do you hear about celebrities who have a fear of public speaking? It seems ironic but even Warren Buffet admits he had to overcome this side of his personality in order to succeed. To me, this just goes to show the power of your true calling.

A couple years ago, I wrote a blog about succeeding as an introvert in an extrovert's world, and it remains one of the things people ask me about most. As an introvert, I've had to overcome certain personality traits in order to let other ones shine, and when I recognized this about myself, I was better equipped to realize my full potential. I may not seek to dazzle an entire room, rather hone in on those people with whom I have an authentic connection, and focus on cultivating deep one-on-one relationships.

With this self-awareness comes self-care and self-acceptance. I make time for myself to recharge after being in the extrovert world I work in. One of my favourite things to do is simply to sit on a park bench and have a think; I have a favourite bench in New York and I love going there from time to time.

If you're also an introvert trying to find your way in an extrovert's world, or just at a point in your life where you want to feel in sync between your career and personality, here are some things to consider:

Your authentic voice might be louder than your personality

Just like Warren Buffet had to overcome his fear of public speaking in order to become one of the most successful businessmen in America, we can all work with our limitations and not be held back by them. You need to figure out what your true voice is as early in your career as you can. It will evolve as you grow but if you recognize your authentic voice, you'll have a better chance of listening to it...and being able to overcome challenges that might have silenced it.

Always go back to your core values. The easiest way to stick to your authentic path is to constantly compare your actions with your core values. If you know what truly motivates you, then you can use that as a gauge for making decisions about your career. For me, it was to make my son proud and to give back to the world in a meaningful way. I ALWAYS returned to that as I was building my career, and I still do today.

Be brave. I have this tattooed on my wrist because it means so much to me! As an introvert, I love one-on-one relationships and find crowds more challenging; people often find my stay at events short, but I try and make my time meaningful. Whenever I'm in a situation that I feel hesitant about, I use the exciting energy of extroverts as a way to step out of my introvert "comfort zone."

Trust your gut. It never lets you down. No matter if it's about falling in love or finding your dream job, your gut reaction is likely the best indicator of whether you're on the right path.

Don't compare your journey to someone else's. Social media is taking over our lives. We are so aware of what other people are up to...and it can seem like we're missing out. The only cure for #FOMO is to look within; ask yourself what makes you unique, what your core values are, what strengths and weaknesses you have, and what you honestly want out of life. Not everyone's career and personality match will be obvious; it might take some digging to figure out. Ask yourself what works for you want to be "in the know" and on centre stage, or do you prefer to "take it slow" and work back stage? Some people are happier in the spotlight. That doesn't mean everyone else is missing out.

Our personalities are complex things; no quiz or test can tell us everything about ourselves. It's about getting to know yourself through experience, learning and time.

Knowing your personality type can help you better understand how to develop your personal brand, but don't let it limit you. Just like how I am an introvert with the career of an extrovert, I followed my gut and discovered this incredible career that I love. Sometimes, if you are brave enough to step out of your boundaries just a little bit, you might find your dream job in a place you never expected.


10 Places Perfect For Introverts