On Friday September 15th, I attended the first Agile Coaching Summit. I already told my wife, co-workers, and friends how exhausted I would be from that weekend. Many thought my exhaustion would stem from staying out late and doing lots of activities. I was exhausted because I am an introvert.
As an introvert, I spend energy being near people, whereas extroverts gain energy instead.
A good friend, Chris Murman, said that he came to this open space to recharge. I can appreciate the idea of it, but I knew I would experience the opposite.
I don’t know how many fellow coaches are introverts compared to extroverts. I will say that our profession demands some practice at certain extroverted qualities. We have to get in the spotlight, create meaningful relationships, and navigate personal dynamics. Extroverts have a leg up in that they enjoy the interaction, but I bleed during it.
That doesn’t mean I don’t love what I do. Rather that I understand the impact it has on me. This is what allowed me to attend the open space.
I need time between rich interactions. I prefer to be alone after being in a group. I have to push through fatigue and discomfort so that I can be near the people I respect.
An open space takes a form created by its attendees, and hopes to dive into many topics to various levels of depth. A 50 minute session can feel like a workout.
I have to choose when and how I interact. In fact, on Saturday I went home as soon as the day was over. It exhausted me. I was also a little hung over, which didn’t help. I made a choice that getting rested for the next day was more important than being near my friends.
I suspect that if you are working on a software team you are working near a good number of introverts. If they are like me, they may crave deep interaction with people, but need space between.