Are you an introvert or extrovert? Or a mix of the two? Getting sick forced me to get honest with myself about this for the first time in my life. That honesty has completely overhauled my approach to work.
At the time of my PSC diagnosis I was almost forty, and working in both my family’s real estate business and with Franck. My job(s) entailed days packed with meetings and consultations with others.
When my PSC symptoms landed me with sepsis and a prolonged hospital stay about a year later, it dawned on me that this constant interaction and communication about work, even with people I loved dearly, was something that sucked the precious little energy I had right out of me.
I am a seriously impatient person. Like, dire. It is not my most appealing trait (just ask Franck) but I had to get honest about this too. Discussing and consulting about doing stuff made me feel like I was going to jump out of my own skin. I just wanted to get the stuff done (and on my own thankyouverymuch).
I was OK with making mistakes on my way to learning. Screwing up is, in fact, my preferred method of education.
As you can imagine, my true nature plus the dementia-like symptoms I was experiencing due to my sick liver made working with me a veritable fairy garden of delights. I declare openly to my CEO friends that I would make the world’s worst employee and it is #truth. I’m certain I was a nightmare. Desolé.
What replenishes me? Being alone with my own thoughts and ideas. Preferably on a beach, but most days a desk or the dining room table will do. I still make mistakes all the forking time - like constantly. I continue to be surprisingly OK with this, as long as they are my mistakes.
I got honest about the fact I am a card carrying introvert, and that I need far more of this alone time than the average person. I threw myself into writing for the first time in my life and the more I wrote and published, the more it dawned on me that this was the perfect career set-up for my introvert self.
I spend most of my days alone writing, thinking, and strategizing. My assistant works from her house, and she provides an awesome skill set that helps plug the many gaps in my own. I adore meeting and chatting with my fellow writers at conferences and online. By the time my family come home after work and school I am sick of being by myself and am nice and “fresh” to hear about their day.
My days are punctuated a few times during the week with breakfasts, lunches, walks, exercise classes, and drinks with dear friends. I cherish every second of these moments. It’s a fallacy that introverts don’t have many friends. We are, as a matter of fact, fantastic friends. It’s just that we need to balance that alone time with the social time so we can engage as deeply with our friends as we like to.
I love my family and my husband, I just don’t want to work with them. No offense.
My daughter Charlotte, on the other hand, is a born extrovert and often comments how she would be miserable working like I do, spending entire days with my laptop and my thoughts.
Thank God we are all different. As long as we can all get honest with ourselves, we can all find ways to play to our strengths, as well as play nice...well, nice-ish anyway.