And I thought the concept of social battery was just a construct
However, it all comes as a cost. As I said, I am an introvert. No big deal, many of us are. And I have learnt to manage it so that I can give a talk to 900 people by surprise (IDPF, 2013... man, I still sweat just by thinking about it) or manage ever-growing teams or partnerships. And after each interaction, my social battery drains.
I read about the concept of social battery years ago. I thought it was a great construct, a simplification of really complex matters, a way to "cluster" people. The same way people are "introverts" and "extroverts", there are people whose way to "charge their batteries" is by being with people, and others who do the same by being alone.
But as the number of constant interactions with people from different areas grow, with almost no single "me-moment" to just work with no distractions, the construct becomes very real. Even without any tension at all, talking to very nice and incredibly talented people drains my battery off. Sometimes so much that I'm done by Tuesday. Well, not totally done, but really, really tired.
Some articles mention some types of interactions as the worst for someone like me:
- Being the center of attention.
- Standing in the crowd.
- Adapting to a new environment.
Totally agree. However, I would add a fourth type, loosely related to the third one: having unscheduled interactions. The worst case for me is having my agenda relatively set up, with some time to work, and suddenly see it change with some new, unexpected meeting in a relatively critical project or unknown environment. I will manage it, I will do my job... and 50% of the weekly battery will be off a few seconds after I finish the meeting.
Obviously, writing this exposes one of my main weaknesses from a professional standpoint. But it also helps me rationalize it. This is my weakness but I have learnt to somehow endure it. And if I am able to find some free hours to think per week, I can help make an impact to my team. This is why hybrid work is so important to me. I need some me-time to just think, re-organize my mind (and my inbox, which after all is basically my second mind) and continue my hustle.