“If you’re an ambivert, you might want to replace FOMO (FEAR of Missing Out) with JOMO (JOY of Missing Out).” – Sam Horn
I was surprised when a popular speaker told me she’s an introvert. She said, “People don’t believe it because I’m such a public person, but I find it exhausting to be ‘on’ all the time.”
I told her, “I can relate. I got clarity about this last year. I had flown cross country to attend a conference. By the third day, I was running on empty. I remember looking at the afternoon sessions and realizing what I really wanted was go back to my hotel room and take a nap.”
She laughed, “You just described how I feel. What did you do?”
“Well, the little voices in my head argued for a while. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) voice said, ‘You didn’t pay all this money and fly all this way to take a nap. You can sleep on the plane home.’ The other voice said, ‘But I’m tapped out. I need some alone time.”
She asked, “So which voice won?”
“I ended up going back to my hotel room. And I’m glad I did. I was able to recharge and come back downstairs for the evening program, raring to go.’
She said, “But didn’t you regret it? Who knows who you could have met or what you could have learned if you had gone to those extra sessions.”
“Here’s the thing. I’ve learned there are three kinds of people.
1. Introverts who are energized by solitude.
2. Extroverts who are energized by socialization.
3. Ambiverts who are energized by a combination of solitude and socialization.
I’m an ambivert. I enjoy being around people and I also enjoy not being around people. It’s not an either/or – it’s both – and it’s essential to my well-being.”
My colleague looked stunned. “I didn’t know ambiverts was a thing, but that’s totally me.”
“I’ve discovered authors, artists and entrepreneurs often fall into this category because we are both public and private people. Our job often calls for us to perform our work with or for people. We can be good at that and grateful for it. We also have an equal need for space and privacy which is where we re-energize. It’s where we think about and create our work.”
How about you? Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or a mix of both?
Does your life and work require you to be around people? Can you do that for awhile, but then find yourself wanting to “get away?” Even when spending time with family members or friends, do you sometimes find yourself craving space?
That doesn’t make you a loner or a bad person … that makes you an ambivert.
Wild author Cheryl Strayed says, “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”
From now on, don’t apologize for needing “room” to be who you really are and don’t compromise it. It’s not indulgent, it’s an investment for you to nurture your soul with space.
What I’ve discovered as an ambivert is how important it is to balance our public and private time. To do that, we’ve got to replace FOMO with JOMO – JOY of Missing Out.
It’s not selfish to occasionally go SOULO, it’s smart.
If you’re going to a conference, don’t force yourself to go to all the sessions because you’re afraid you won’t get full value if you don’t. Understand that “down” time is essential to absorb and process what you’ve learned. Getting away for some time to yourself is crucial to re-fueling and coming back fresh, ready to meet and greet.
Understand it’s not stand-offish or narcissistic to carve out “alone time;” it contributes to a happier, healtheir you. You are at your best when you have the best … of both worlds.
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker – is on a mission to help people create the life and work of their dreams. Her books – Tongue Fu!, POP!, Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, on NPR and taught to Boeing, Intel, Cisco, Nationwide, YPO, Capital One.