Do you remember taking the Myers Briggs Test? I think I was in college when I took it, and I found that I was an INFJ. Being a very friendly, over-involved student, I was a bit surprised at the “Introvert” label, until I read the explanation. While I love being around people and growing friendships, I get “recharged” by being alone, retreating, being introspective. Then, I’m ready to take on the world again.

It’s interesting now seeing that in light of the “Style of Influence” or “Strengths” test that we use with our customers. One of the measurements is along a “cognitive scale.” The higher you fall on the scale (1-100), the more abstractly your mind works. A more “abstract” person enjoys dialogue around ideas, opinions, philosophies, values. I am very, very low on the scale (6!), and as a result am VERY concrete – “I mean what I say, and I say what I mean.” 😉 I like wrapping my mind around events, activities, tangible, committed things, even feelings. I listen to what exactly people say. I make a great copyeditor because I care about how concepts and ideas are communicated in specific words. I am drawn to concrete language, definitions, and quotes – and use that to tie me into important values and concepts.

I enjoyed a fun dinner with a friend the other night who has also taken “the test” and was very, very high on the cognitive scale. She, another “introvert” said she is recharged when she reads books or listens to radio shows that fill her mind with new ideas or concepts she resonates with. That’s when I started putting things together. My best friend had mentioned it a long time ago, “you know how you like to listen to music to recenter or recharge you; books and new ideas do that for me.” She’s another “high-cognitive introvert” friend. She loves to read or listen to TED talks or sermons or watch documentaries to fuel her “idea tank.” And in effect, her emotional “tank.” I started thinking that all “high-cognitive, introverted” people might be the same.  And also that to know that as a mom and accept that and seek that out would be so helpful.

As a mom, I do find it quite inconvenient to be an introvert because the little ones around are constant, but I just have to work harder at finding those small pockets of time to recharge, vs. longer hours of quiet. Those days will be here again, and I will miss these for sure. One of the ways I “recharge” is by listening to music by myself – in particular to beautiful music with powerful words. I like poetry and quotes probably for the same reason. I love to read as well, but what I find myself looking for are those great quotes within the narrative or explanation of ideas. I can hang on to those specific things to noodle on and pull inspiration from.

How do you recharge?  I think it is so important to know.  As a mom and wife especially, we can be more engaged, patient, loving, and kind when our emotional tanks are full.  And as a worker, we can be more productive and effective when inspired.

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