I’ve discovered last week that I have an engage-o-meter.  It measures how much I am able to engage the people around me.

I usually work 8 to 12 hours a day.  During that time, I have to be super-engaged with everyone I talk to – customers, doctors, nurses, managers, etc.  If at anytime I let my exhaustion or frustration or stress come across in any of my encounters with people, it pretty much guarantees that particular encounter won’t end well.  And after 12 hours of engaging people (using my “gush” as one of my techs calls it), my engage-o-meter is running on empty.

What happens when my engage-o-meter gets empty?  I get introverted.

How do I refill my engage-o-meter?  Well, there are 3 ways that I have found.

1) Sleep

2) Stay introverted (for a long time)

3) Be engaged by others

Sleep doesn’t always give me a full re-charge.

The amount of time I would have to stay introverted would probably take up the rest of the day – which would then lead to sleep which would top it off to be ready for the next day.  And that may sound like a great plan – for people who like to be introverted.  I personally don’t like to be introverted.  It makes me feel uneasy.  Like after several hours of introversion, I start thinking that I’ve missed something and there’s no way to go back in time and take advantage of it and that opportunity probably isn’t going to come around again, so I’m just out of luck and I MISSED IT!  And I do understand that there are times when introversion is necessary, but not in excess – and to me, because of the way I’m wired, several hours seems excessive.  So, staying introverted isn’t an enjoyable option.

The third option is being engaged by others.  Because I’m not a natural introvert, I like this option and would like to utilize it more.  Those of you who work on teams with me may have already noticed my engage-o-meter being low (the evidence being me not talking much, not smiling much, not eye-contacting much).  But, on Wednesday nights, as WE team practice gets started and Ken or Anessa starts engaging the group in the plan for the night and the group starts engaging each other (including me), I can feel the refreshing of my engage-o-meter.  And on Thursday nights, the team engages in getting ready for class.  Then the teens come in and someone engages them and, even in their teenage way, they engage us back.  So as our plan for class is carried out, again, I feel refreshed.

But that’s just 2 days of the week, I usually work 4…5…6 days a week.  And each day, my engage-o-meter needs to be refilled.

I know I have some friends who are natural introverts – they work the opposite as me.  They have a “social meter” – and when socializing drains that meter, it means it’s time to go home – they are done socializing for the day.

I’m just wondering if there’s anyone out there like me?