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Ted Rusinoff

Welcome to a mini MDRT book club session. Today, I have two wonderful guests joining me, all Top of the Table members: Dana Mitchell from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Brendan Walsh from Detroit, Michigan, USA. And I'm Ted Rusinoff, a Top of the Table member from Stow, Ohio, USA. I think we should start this conversation with the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain.

Brendan Walsh

This is one of my favorite books that we've read, and I hear the title of this book, “Quiet,” and that it's the power of introverts in an increasingly loud world. And I thought I am the most extroverted person I know. Every test I take says I am 100% extrovert. What am I going to get out of this book?

I mean, I'm not an introvert. I get most of my energy when I'm in a huge crowd of people. But it was really powerful to me because it opened my eyes to how to be more inclusive of people that I live with, that I work with, that I interact with. Where I saw a lot of myself when they talk about people who are jumping on other people's conversations in meetings. Or in the age of Zoom, they're so excited to get their ideas out that they blurt it out to the public. But they don't realize that other people who are sitting there quietly and maybe processing the information and waiting for that moment to speak, don't get it. It was very powerful to me, and it changed how I interact in my meetings. It changed how I interact with people and committee meetings, where it makes me stop and think who's not participating, and not in a way to ostracize them, but to include them and say, “Wait, Ted, what do you think about this?”

And really pause and be intentional to give them that moment to speak. And they might say, “I don't have anything.” Or they might change the whole trajectory of the conversation.

Ted Rusinoff

You mentioned something about taking this home and opening it up in the relationships that you have at home. And I know in our book club conversation, all of us felt a little bit guilty or convicted, or maybe we weren't doing the right thing at home because our kids or our spouses might not have been on the same part of the scale we are an extroversion. And I know, Dana, you had some of that experience, looking at your kids and looking to say, “Where are they, and how do I see them and how do I make that work better?”

Dana Mitchell

Yeah, I think that's interesting. So, I loved reading this book because I feel I'm not shy, but I'm definitely an introvert. And I think that confuses people because you assume that if someone's not shy, they're an extrovert. But introverts, even if they're not shy, need to pull back and they need time to themselves. If you go into a room, you'll notice I'll never head to the center of the room.

Brendan and I still hang out, but we got to meet somewhere along the edges, and my son is the same way. He needs to pull back. He goes to his bedroom., I used to think something was wrong, but he just needs a minute. But he's not shy either. So, he's very social. He'll look you in the eye, but he needs to pull back and say, I think we need to respect that.

Whereas my daughter can just go all the time, and she feeds off of people's energy, whereas I feed off of some quiet moments, as does my son. And I think we need to understand that about people. And when people are at the edge of the room, we need to go to the edge of the room and talk to them because they're not going to come into the center of the room and hang out with all of the extroverts.

And that's OK. But we understand our families better, our clients better, our friends better if we take that moment to know that. And it's not just introverts and extroverts, it's shades of gray. And I think that that's cool to understand from someone that's in the shades of gray.

Ted Rusinoff

I said this to a member the other day, I wish our kids had like a meter printed on their forehead that would show us where their battery level is. And I know with my middle child, she's captain of the volleyball team, she's super extroverted, but if she doesn't get four to six hours of alone time, in her room, just zoned out every three or four days, if she doesn't get that little spell of time, she goes on E, totally empty. And it's not nice, it's not fun.

But when she can have that balance, where she's Brendan for two, three days, but then she needs to pull back and she's just like your son, needs that little bit of time to just fill the battery back up. I didn't understand that. Just like you were saying, is there something wrong?

No, that's the way they work and she's a shade of gray. She's not all the way E or all the way I she's somewhere in the middle, and that's important.

Brendan Walsh

That part hit me like a ton of bricks when they were talking about couples and couples' expectations of what they want to do. And I think about my wife and I, because an ideal night out is going out with all of our friends or going to an event or going to whatever.

Ted Rusinoff

Ideal for you.

Brendan Walsh

Correct, but not ideal for my wife. So, she'd love to have an intimate night with maybe another couple, and she'll feed off of that because she's an extroverted introvert. And this book brought that to my attention. And realizing that an ideal night for her might be just the two of us sitting on the couch watching a movie, whereas I would project onto her, “Well, let’s just go do this because this is what’s going to be really fun.” For me, not for her. And then it was also with my kids because I would think Well, why don't my kids want to go out? And my son in particular, who's very much an introvert, why doesn't he want to go out and do those things?

And it made me pause and say, well, it doesn't fill his bucket, it doesn't really excite him to go out in a group like I might want to. And that's OK, right? That's who he is. And accepting him and meeting him where he is and realizing that there are some people that need to be alone to fully recharge.

But actually, being alone, like from my wife's perspective, isn't what recharges her battery. It's a really heartfelt one to one. And I never really thought about that. In the pandemic when she was stuck at home with all of us, we're all stuck at home together, but her opportunity to recharge was going on an hour-long walk with one of her best friends, and they could sit and have deep, meaningful talks as they're going around.

And that was her way to really refill the bucket.

Ted Rusinoff

So just for fun, I'm going to dig a little deeper there. So, you are totally empty battery right now. The way to recharge you is send you into a room with 50 people, and you’ll come out like totally bing, bing, full, full, full. If you send your son into that room with a full battery, in about 15 minutes, he's going to be totally E, totally empty.

And you’re going to be like, OK, dude, sit in the corner. When you're ready to come back in, tap in and we'll swap out. And your wife is somewhere in the middle. She needs to go talk to Dana on the edges, but then she can step back into the middle and it's OK. But then she's going to bounce out to another edge and have a conversation.

And before this book, we all lived with these people in our lives thinking we were doing our best work, thinking we were doing really good things, and we were really missing it. And I think books bring us this opportunity to see things differently. And it's been great. So, thank you both for being here.

Mar 22 2024

Inside an MDRT book club: Insights on introverts

Understanding themselves, their families and their clients opened the eyes of three Top of the Table members. Learn more in this mini-book club discussion about the book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. Discover why some people feel drained after spending time around a lot of people.

Learn more about book clubs in the U.S. and Canada at mdrt.org/bookclub.

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