The above photo is my dream setup: serenity, alone time, and quiet.
But my dream set up is also: stimulation, athletes, and the sound of weights clanking.
Okay, don’t freak out. I’m not diagnosed with schizophrenia. Nor am I a sociopath who will break into your house with a chainsaw in hand.
I’m an extroverted introvert.
What the hell is that, you ask?
Well, it’s a not a personality disorder. Nor is it a virus. And it’s certainly not the Republican party. It’s simply a label floating around the webspace to define those who have a love-hate relationship with humans.
Extroverted introverts thrive in social settings and can be jovial, outgoing, and energetic around people, until they’re drained and have had enough. Once their social energy has withered away, they turn into recluses who bask in the tranquility of alone time. Needless to say, they’re gassed from too much socializing and need time to recharge in silence.
In the last couple years, I’ve noticed these traits especially prevalent across the strength and conditioning field, so I’m writing this piece to put fellow coaches at ease: we’re not as batshit crazy as we think.
I, for one, love people, stimulation, electronic music blasting in our facility, dancing, and going to packed music festivals. Don’t believe me? It doesn’t get more extroverted than this:
For the record, we’re sober in this video, and to deal with over 100,000 people sober, makes me pretty awesome. What’s more, is the amount of energy I had to muster up for this. Holy shit balls.
Don’t jump to conclusions. I can only get so far with the buzz of humans at a music festival. Or anywhere for that matter.
As much as I love concerts, my athletes, and youth soccer players, I’m a total hermit who also enjoys books, quiet, and cuddles with American bull dogs.
This all is dumbfounding, I know.
However to my surprise, I’ve learned my extroverted introverted ways as a person and coach can be used to my advantage by relating better to my athletes and clients, as well as excelling in my online and personal lives.
So let’s get right into it.
Extroverted Introverts As Coaches
I’d argue that being both gregarious and reserved could work in a strength coach’s favor. Out of all of the athletes we train, there is a myriad of personality types that we need to adapt to on the fly.
For the most part, I’m calm in my demeanor as a coach, and very rarely, do I bark out orders, yell at athletes, or screech at them when they’re maxing out on bench press. But in the instance I’m working with an athlete who is extroverted and feeds off of verbal energy, I’m all in. In fact, you bet your ass I’m bumping the Skrillex on the sound system, clapping, cheering, throwing out high fives and fist pumps, yelling, and I don’t know, I might even be showing off my dance moves:
Evidently, if I have to “bring the juice” I’ll bring it. If I have to take a step back, I’ll shut my mouth and quietly stare at my athletes as they work out.
Either way, being extroverted introverts as coaches allows us to be malleable with the varying personalities of our athletes and clients. We need to learn to embrace all of our contradicting traits to the fullest.
In what client situations can you be more of a cheerleader? In what scenarios can you be more soothing?
Extroverted Introverts As Bloggers
Being a blogger for over 2 years has been a whirlwind of extroverted introvert shenanigans. Alas, I’d argue my conflicting personality shines through in my prose and makes me look like a pretty cool chick.
In my articles, I’m chatty, bold, outlandish, and downright grandiose. My jokes push the envelope and I appear sociable.
Little do people know, I’m hiding behind a keyboard in the comfort of my own home with Game of Thrones playing in the background. To top it all off, I’m in sweats. Oh, and no human beings in site.
What can we learn from this?
I do have a sense of humor and colorful personality, but most of it shows within my articles. Very rarely, am I a chatty Cathy in person, but when I do drop the once-in-a-blue-moon pop culture joke and witty banter on my athletes, I’m the coolest coach alive.
Truthfully, blogging is the best of both worlds: being able to be outgoing, while still being able to enjoy silence. And if you get my sarcasm bombs in person, you’re in for a treat.
Extroverted Introverts As Family, Friends, and Significant Others
So what do I say to my boyfriend when I get home from a 12 hour day of work?
If you guessed “shut the fuck up”…you nailed it.
Kidding. We have a healthy relationship. But our differences in personalities haven’t been a cakewalk.
He is an extrovert. As a music industry professional, he’s a social butterfly, which doesn’t allow me to revert to introvert mode that easily. I’m exposed to night life and show life constantly.
But don’t get me wrong, I LOVE electronic music. And most of the time, I attend shows with him, but will stand by myself while shuffling my feet and bobbing my head. Oftentimes, he asks if “I’m okay,” when I’m just being my introverted self.
Considering I’m anti-human 99.9999% of the time, you probably wonder how we’ve been able to work this out and not have a break up comparable to Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris.
First and foremost, I’m thankful he understands my weird ways. I’ve also been bold enough to tell him when I need “me” time. And if he doesn’t respect it, he knows it’s goodbye to engagement, wedding, and baby Facebook pictures. Tough losses, I know. ;-O
As far as family and friends, they get the brunt of my introvert side. By day, I’m so on point and tuned into my athletes and clients, giving them every ounce of my energy on the field and in the weight room through my instruction, motivation, and teaching.
By night, I just don’t have it in me to provide others in my life with that same zest.
Put me in a room with family and friends, and I shut down. Worse yet, if asked about my life and how things are going, I want to hide under a blanket and snuggle a life size teddy bear. I hate small talk, can’t you tell?
Although I clam up around family and friends, they’ve gotten better with me and are beginning to understand my life. No matter what, I’ve been transparent with what I do, how I’m feeling, and what I need to do to be amped up for the next day.
So be open. Those who love you will get it. End of story.
The Bright Side of Extroverted Introverts
While our behavior may come off as crazy, unconventional, and quirky, we’re just being people – people who deal with daily life stressors, dive wholeheartedly into their passions, and provide others with SO much. It makes sense that we need time to reboot.
For me, I embrace my extroversion at work, around my athletes, and through my online voice. And I hone into my introversion at home and behind the computer.
So I urge you to find moments when you can engage fully in both your extrovert AND introvert powers. When have they worked for you? How will you use them to better your clients and athletes?