Introverts find various ways to carve out the time to reflect. Mine is walking. Yours may be hiking, yoga, going to the gym, taking a ride, etc. Imagine doing what helps you to reflect.
As often as I can I lace up my sneakers, set my phone to NPR or my music play list, and set out for my 45-minute walk…alone. Always alone. If you’re thinking that only a loner would walk alone, let me assure you that, as an introvert, this time is golden.
I usually walk the same route; although, I might get a little crazy and reverse the route. I joke that if someone wanted to assassinate me, they’d know where to find me based on my routine.
Why do I walk alone? I’ve asked people if they’d like to join me, but there are no other walkers in the neighborhood. I suppose I could reach out to people in other neighborhoods; I’ve seen people drive from other neighborhoods to take advantage of our hills.
I walk alone because being alone is my time. It’s my time to relax after a long day of work. It’s my time to get out of the house and be in nature. It’s my time to reflex. Besides, walking with other people would mean coordinating meeting up, and that’s just too hard.
Despite wearing a headset and listening to “On Point” or Taylor Swift (don’t judge), I am alone, and I do think of whatever comes to mind. At times I’ll formulate ideas for a new workshop. I’ll figure out a way to solve a pressing problem.
Introverts need time to reflect
I tell my job seekers that when I was out of work I extended my walking from 45 minutes a day to 90. That’s right; I doubled my distance. I walked around the city of Lowell strategizing on the job search and clearing my head.
I suggest they do the same and the reactions are mixed; some nod with approval, others give it a thought and then dismiss it. Maybe to some walking is boring. I admit if it weren’t for my NPR and music playlist I wouldn’t enjoy walking as much.
Extraverts, on the other hand, generally require a walking buddy who they can talk with, because they need to be around people. In fact the more the better. Occasionally I’ll see groups of walkers talking with each other a mile a minute.
If I notice someone in the group just listening and seldom contributing, I think that must be the introvert in the group. Introverts welcome conversation but don’t engage in exhaustive group discussion, where the goal is to win the battle of “Conversation Master.”
One of my valued connections, Edythe Richards, asserts that as an ISTP I’m extremely independent, which makes perfect sense given the fact that I love my alone time. I’m surrounded by people during the day, but after work I like to walk alone.
(I suggest you listen to Edythe’s awesome podcast on my type: ISTP. She’s recorded many more, with her goal to create podcasts on all sixteen types.)
Edythe also says ISTPs can appear aloof. I don’t consider myself aloof, but maybe that’s what makes people aloof—they don’t know they’re exhibiting such behaviors. To me, walking alone is natural and often enjoyable.
In place of human interaction, I have my NRP or music playlist. Oh, of course I have my variety of thoughts, some of which are productive (as in a new idea for a workshop) others are regarding kids’ issues, and others just thoughts. Regardless, they’re thoughts.
How introverted job seekers can benefit from walking
If you’re currently without a job, walking can be especially beneficial to your state of mind. Those who haven’t suffered the loss of a job may think that the loss of income is the most devastating part of being unemployed. This is not necessarily true.
With the loss of employment comes the blow to your emotions, which in turn can affect your motivation. A routine of walking early in the morning can replenish the motivation by giving you routine similar to what you had when working.
Getting up at the same time every morning and leaving the same time. It’s a routine and all good. You lose your routine, you lose your mojo. And you don’t want that.
Walking is also a great way to strategize about your job search, devise your day’s activities. There is a networking event coming up. Are you prepared for it? Are your personal business cards in order? Check. What are some of your talking points if you have to make small talk.
Maybe your résumé needs updating. Walking gives you the time to think about some of the accomplishments you achieved in your most recent position. They have to be included on your résumé. You have to enhance your LinkedIn profile, including adding a photo, beefing up the Summary and Experience sections.
I used to walk before an interview. It gave me time to go over my elevator pitch and answer the difficult questions I expected. So when the interview arrived, I was prepared to answer the questions. I must have confused people who saw me talking to myself. Oh well.
The time to reflect eliminates the things in your house that distract you from the job search. I’m always telling job seekers to get out of their house. Walking is a perfect way to do this.
I’m not saying walking is going to be your thing. I’m also not saying that introverts are the only ones who should walk. We’re more like to use it as a time to reflect and feel totally natural doing so. Give it a shot whether you’re out of work or just need some time to reflect.
Photo: Flickr, sabrina amico