Tonight I am tired. Not physically tired, but emotionally tired. I’m tired of people, and the next three days don’t look like they’ll be offering any respite.
Despite all public opinions to the contrary, I am a decided introvert. It suppose it’s hard to look past the playing in a band, working with clients, being loud, and having massive hair. When I took my first Myers-Briggs test back in college and my type started with “I” everyone was surprised but me. I felt suddenly sure. This piece of paper with its little lead-filled ovals had confirmed something I had intrinsically known for 18 years.
What I knew was that I always preferred a book to other people. That was one of the questions, actually, “Do you prefer to read a book or go to a party?” I thought. “No contest! The book. Obviously.” What I didn’t completely appreciate at the time was that a spectrum of introversion and extroversion isn’t measured purely on an interest in reading over talking, but in where you draw your energy.
I do not draw my energy from other people, which makes my chosen professions as client guy and band leader a little suspect. Aren’t I exposing myself to people by definition in both of those settings. Well… yes. But, it’s important to remember: I never meant to be an account man! I was obsessed with communications, and the next step was managing creative projects, and those projects had clients, and I had to talk to them, and the whole thing just snowballed until I was overseeing hundreds of clients. It’s the same with the band, really. I wanted to write music, and then I wanted to play the music I wrote, and then I figured I had to play it in front of people to know which songs were good, and now I’m in a cover band that plays five hour sets.
The distinction is that I don’t really draw energy from the clients or the crowds. I draw energy from the problem solving and from bettering my own last best solution. It’s a lot like yoga, actually. I’m in it just to deepen my practice.
Which brings me back to today. I’m out of energy. I’m like an electronic device with a desperately blinking “charge me” light, hoping to be plugged into a wall. It’s hard to find enough non-sleeping time to get that charge back, even by expanding my bubble of introversion to include E, EV, and even some of my bandmates, colleagues, and close friends. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and then your weekend is parties and shows and rehearsals and dinners, and then it’s right back to the energy depletion again.
As I look forward to my birthday next week marking another year of introversion, I think I might need to learn some new techniques. I know there are major music stars who are introverts, but what about business leaders? CEOs? Media darlings? If I want to keep leveling up in this life, I need to figure out how to recharge better and faster, and how to run near empty longer.
Hopefully I can learn that all from reading a book, and not from going to a party.