Thursday, August 20, 2015

On trainers and teaching, Part IV (8/20/2015)

Most days when I commute to Richmond I listen to Doctor Radio on Satellite Radio SiriusXM Channel 110.   Thursday mornings between 8 and 10 is the Emergency Medicine Show with Drs. Billy Goldberg and Howard Greller.  In his show Dr. Billy lamented about someone complaining about him being a clown on the radio and his shtick and that struck a nerve with me.

Being a public speaker/teacher who travels throughout the state of Virginia people are always surprised to hear that I consider myself an introvert.  When I am in front of a class I make the darnest effort to lose that and I try to fake being as much as an extrovert as I can be.  Yes I move around a lot, that is my way of loosening up; I joke, I tell (to many?) stories and anecdotes; and during breaks I try to interact with the students to see how the class is going.  Yes, I have been told that I am too flippant or cynical at times, but in my eyes that's to make a point.   Trying to be an extrovert is absolutely exhausting to me!  It is so nice to just sit alone in a restaurant later that evening and people watch, not having to interact with anyone.  There are exceptions of course, and that is when I teach with close friends.

So yes, I do understand Dr. Billy, you have to be serious in your job, work is a serious business, but you need an outlet, some levity whether you are an emergency doctor, or an introvert in a job made for extroverts.  You can heal, teach, do your job at your best without taking yourself too serious all the time.  This reminded me of the episode of MASH where Alan Alda came into the O.R. dressed like Groucho Marx. 

How can I be sure I am an introvert?  I’ve knew it all along, but really figured it out when I went to leadership school for the UU church we go to.  We had to do the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and it showed I was an INFP or someone who is an Introvert, who relies on Intuition, who is Feeling and Perceiving.  Reading some of its descriptions even in Wikipedia INFP describes me to a T, including the desire for creativity but also (as most of the people close to me will attest to) my sensitivity to criticism.  Wikipedia shows an interesting list of people who are INFPs.  Wow. 

How does this relate to training?  Well borrowing this from Wikipedia:

  • I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFPs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
  • N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
  • F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFPs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
  • P – Perception preferred to judgment: INFPs tend to withhold judgment and delay important decisions, preferring to "keep their options open" should circumstances change.

Combine that with statements like low assertiveness and poor organization, and that is probably how I might be perceived by some of my colleagues.  My office may look like a mess, my brain is a mess, but it is all there.  I brood, and at one point it all come out and it flows out on Power Point, in a blog, all in a concise package that we can call a class, or rambling like this.  Even in planning trips, or shed building projects in the back yard.   My wife has learned to roll with the punches it all comes out ok even without paper plans and assertiveness.  I know it and so does she.  

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