Over the next two weeks I will be answering your questions regarding the Insights Discovery assessment that we use in Younique. Please submit your questions to [email protected].
Q. I lead with Yellow, which is a color associated with extroversion. However, I have long considered myself an introvert and really need time alone. Am I an extrovert or introvert?
A: Extraversion and Introversion are words that are common in the American culture, which is both helpful and unhelpful. The words help us to understand both how we refuel and process information, which can look very different from our family members and co-workers. However, misunderstandings regarding the meaning of these terms from a psychological perspective can lead to confusion.
Insights Discovery is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung. Jungian psychology presents extraversion and introversion as a spectrum, not an “either or.” In other words, we can exhibit strong or mild preferences for either extraversion or introversion. For those with a mild preference—as this question may imply—may lead with colors on both side of the wheel, such both blue and red or green and yellow.
Extraversion is the preference for processing information “out loud” or externally. Extraverts tend to do their best sense making by processing information, perspective, and ideas in collaboration with other people. Sharing ideas and teasing out ideas with others is an energizing activity for extraverts, who tend to design their days with ample opportunities to connect in meetings and/or social gatherings.
Introversion is the preference for processing information “in my mind” or internally. Introverts tend to do their best sense making by processing information, perspective and ideas in solitude before sharing with others. Time to reflect, think, and ruminate alone is an energizing activity for introverts, who tend to design their days with ample time for solitude and quiet.
Extraverts relish solitude and Introverts highly value connecting with others. Solitude and community are not the domain of one preference, but are shared characteristics of being human. We all need time alone and quality social gatherings with others.
The designation of colors is designed to help create language about where we get energy, what refuels us versus the situations and environments where we spend energy. As professionals and adults we successfully spend energy to lead well, create opportunities for growth, and achieve success. Introverts are very successful team leaders and Extraverts are very successful data analysts. The difference is not the ability to do the work but rather to know how to recharge so you can deploy your best.
Back to your question more specifically, I would rephrase your question to ask not “am I” but where do I fall on the Extraversion/Introversion spectrum. You may have a mild extraversion preference that showed up in Insights Discovery as Yellow Energy. If the rest of the profile describes you well, then that is something to pay attention to and learn more how it influences your energy self-management.
We all need time alone! That is not a clue to your presence on the Extraversion/Introversion scale. Solitude and meditation are key components to emotional health for all people. How you design your life to experience solitude and meditation, those rhythms and practices, will certainly look different based on your preferences. But be sure to enjoy your solitude and use it to reenergize so you can show up as your best self at home, work and play.