Help! I’m Not An Extrovert!

I didn’t know there was an actual term for it, but have always figured myself to be what I have called a Middle-vert. What does this mean, you ask? I don’t know exactly either, but will attempt to explain.

I enjoy the company of people, but lengthy interaction zaps my energy. I enjoy my own company, but I get bored if alone too long. As a business leader, it seems stereotypical that if you are not viewed as an extrovert, you are assumed to be unable to achieve certain success. It’s a label us extrovert-challenged souls must battle. Frankly, I’ve always felt I’ve had a great blend of both traits that have allowed me to navigate the extremes of both, resulting in more balanced relationships and outcomes. And low and behold…I recently ran across some information that has given my theory some credibility! It has an actual name (coined by psychologist Hans Eysenck in 1947):

Ambivert (n): Someone who exhibits qualities of both introversion and extroversion.

In an article by Vanessa Van Edwards, published author, behavioral investigator and founder of Science of People, she shares the studies of Adam Grant, associate professor at the Wharton School, where study analysis demonstrates basically zero relationship between extroversion and results. Further, he conducted a survey of over 300, male and female, salespeople that showed us middle-roaders turned out to be better salespeople.

Ambiverts pulled in 24 percent more in revenue than introverts, and a mind-boggling 32 percent more in revenue than extroverts! (Study conducted by Adam Grant, Associate Professor at the Wharton School/Adam Grant

“The ambivert advantage stems from the tendency to be assertive and enthusiastic enough to persuade and close, but at the same time, listening carefully to customers and avoiding the appearance of being overly confident or excited,” Grant said.

This is refreshing validation and further, personal confidence, that my ability to reside in the middle is a very valuable asset. In another article from Inc., writer Larry Kim, he shares Adam Grant’s idea of the “The Ambivert Advantage” which notes the traits of flexibility, stability, intuition and influence that give an ambivert balance. Spelled out this way, I can see how these traits manifest themselves. Where I’ve seen myself as “being on the fence” due to my 50/50 tendencies, it actually appears that I possess the ability to adapt well in a quickly evolving landscapes, balance the sensitivity of introverts and the assertiveness of extroverts, know the right time and place to make a move and lastly, effectively influence outcomes.

I believe it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that there are many positive factors associated with each of the three personalities. Without the far left focused, detailed and introspective traits of the introvert we wouldn’t have Green Eggs & Ham, Facebook, Microsoft, Harry Potter, the flux capacitor, Google or The Gettysburg Address. Dr. Seuss, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, Steven Spielberg and Abraham Lincoln…all introverts. And without their extroverted counterparts, we wouldn’t have found Nemo, known the “Greatest”, The Iron Lady, Forrest Gump, The Cable Guy or enjoy our iPhones. Ellen DeGeneres, Muhammad Ali, Margaret Thatcher, Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey and Steve Jobs are clearly well known for their outgoing, high-energy and determination driven accomplishments.

The bottom line…it takes the diversity of all personality types to achieve the well-round world around us. Each brings critically important perspectives that prevent a one dimensional society, lead to innovation, entertain us and balance us. However, it’s quite clear that saying success is mostly achieved by extroverts, is false. Where do you fall?

PS…here are some quick definitions to help you decide!

Extroverts are drawn to people. These individuals get energy from social gatherings and are often very outgoing.
Ambiverts strike a balance between extroversion and introversion. These individuals typically slide up and down the spectrum depending on the situation, the context and the people around them.
Introverts prefer peace, solitude and quiet time. It is often draining for these individuals to be around a lot of people.