Highly Sensitive Person : Realization

She is a very big fan of Dr. Elaine Aron’s work , Dr. Aron’s book “The Highly Sensitive Person” is a wonderful book . She came across the term “Highly Sensitive Person” by chance . She learned about M.B.T.I. personality test and was very keen to learn about introversion . Her search on introversion led her to the description on trait of high sensitivity . Knowing about introversion revealed partial picture of her personality, there were many things that she could relate to but still a lot of things weren’t clear. Reading about H.S.P. made many things clear .

Let’s meet this person and find out why does she believe that she is a Highly Sensitive Person?

– She takes a lot of time in decision-making . Making a choice is very hard for her : Shopping is a nightmare for her , She gets very overwhelmed and couldn’t decide . As the number of choices increase so does her confusion and frustration  .Before reading about H.S.P. , she was unable to understand what’s wrong with her .She pondered for hours that why a task (shopping)  that made other people happy left her so confused ? There were times when she started crying because she was taking a lot of time to decide what to buy .

  – She gets easily overwhelmed :– She likes quiet environment and does not want to be the center of attention . Loud noises affect hers . Before learning about high sensitivity she felt strange as others did not feel the same way . There was an incident , a loud sound made her head ache once and as a result she fainted .

– She likes comfortable clothes ,coarse fabric bothers her .

– She cries a lot even on small things : Small gestures can make her cry . A memory of past can trigger deep emotions . She cries even when she is lost in her imaginative world or thinking about a story .

– She hates to upset others : She hates to see other person in pain or unhappy it makes her unhappy so she tries to make them feel happy . When someone asks her to give her stuff to them she instantly gives them that stuff so that they become happy .

– Other people’s emotions affect her : Mood of other people affect her greatly , if the people around her are unhappy or hurt it affects her too.

– She over-analyzes things and situations .

– She needs alone time to unload her thoughts : Alone time helps her recharge her energy and to think .Her energy drains quickly  and needs sleep or regular breaks .

– She is quiet and reserved (introversion related): She doesn’t open up to others .

  – She wants to make positive change in this world i.e. to somehow make it a better place for less privileged .

Making a career choice was one of the hardest decision of her life:  At that time she didn’t have any information about her personality type and the trait of high sensitivity . She was so confused and frustrated with herself because most of her friends and classmates were very clear and quick in decision-making they knew what they wanted . On the other hand she wanted to do something special and meaningful .She made some horrible choice , due to time pressure and to avoid conflict she took decisions related to career choice that were wrong and not suitable for her personality.

She likes to help others : Although she is quite reserved and a quiet person . She likes to teach others . Whenever one of her friends or classmate has an issue or difficulty with their studies they seek her help and she tries her best to explain those topics .  She feels sorry to disappoint others .

She cries a lot : Watching someone die on a TV show or movie makes her cry . She still cries on small things and can’t stop her tears .

– She follows rules : She likes order and structure .

– She hates being late : She plans ahead and reach places 30-45 minutes before the given time .

  – She hates being watched or judged . 

– Negative comments and failure  affect her deeply.

– She is a highly achiever :  She wants to do everything right and pay attention to small details and minute requirements .

– She tends to undervalue her self : Regardless of all her achievements ,  she tends to  doubt her capabilities and undermine  herself .  – She is not good at verbal communication the thought of being watched overwhelms her .

– She feels extreme temperature more than others i.e. she feels more  cold and use more  jackets and warm clothes than others.

She is not a risk taker and changes affect her very much : She needs time to be prepared for things.

According to some online tests and her understanding of Dr. Elaine Aron’s work she is a highly sensitive person .


Introverted Leaders: An Ignored Reality

In most of the literature on  leadership , “extraversion” is defined as an important quality of leadership . It makes the introverted students believe that they can NEVER be good leaders. We are taught about the importance of extroverted behavior and charismatic leadership .It  alienates the introverted students from the topic of leadership . As an introvert , I started to belief that I am not good enough for any leadership role . My personality is complete contradiction to that of a leader . I started to doubt myself .

But is it really the case ,can introverts not be good leaders ?

According to Susan Cain , the author of “Quiet:The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking “ ,

“Quiet Leadership is not an oxymoron “.


Ah ! Imagine my relief . I personally belief that topics like Quiet Leadership and “Introverted Leaders should also be highlighted and included in literature and courses on leadership .


World has seen great introverted leaders .Some of the  prominent introverted leaders are :

1. Abraham Lincoln

2. Rosa Parks

3.Eleanor Roosevelt


Source : ”  16 Outrageously Successful Introverts ”  , By Laura Schocker , The Huffington Post  and Susan Cain’s book “Quiet :The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking “

Information on these topics  will help us understand our nature and abilities better . At least , we will have examples we can understand and relate to .

While searching for more detail on this topic . I come across some great articles and blog  posts .

Suzi McAlpine , Executive Coach , replied to my question :

” I feel very strongly that good leadership does not depend on being introvert or extrovert “

In one of her blog post ” Quiet Leadership ” she wrote :

” If you are a quiet leader , don’t try to change who you are .At the same time, don’t allow your quiet demeanor to become a stumbling block to your success..”

– Suzi McAlpine (theleadersdigest.me)

Another great article was by Pearl J.Alexander , Sr. Director HR, Georgia Tech “ Leveraging Diversity of Temperament : An introverted Leader’s Story ” in which she said :

“As an introverted leader in a people-centric career, I am sometimes misunderstood. I am misunderstood because the introversion is viewed negatively, because I need time alone to reflect or create and because I don’t need a cast of thousands or to be the center of attention to feel powerful, in charge or comfortable with myself.”

I stumble across another great blog on leadership by Dan Rockwell , who is  a great coach , consultant and presenter .

 “One of my fatal leadership blunders was underestimating quiet people.” 

“Never assume quiet is weak and loud is strong.”

– He said in one of his blog posts ” 10 ways to Deal With Quiet People”.


More and more work is being done on this topic but still there is a great gap to fill . There is a great need to discuss these details with students in “Leadership” classes . So that instead of second guessing their abilities , introverted students can learn to accept their gifts and strive for greatness accordingly .

During my search , I have come across some books related to this topic :

1.“The Introverts Guide to Success in Business and Leadership”  –  Lisa Petrilli




2 . The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength   ,   Written by: Jennifer Kahnweiler


I will definitely take out some time to read these books .

I would like to thank Susan Cain , Suzi McAlpine, Pearl J.Alexander, Dan Rockwell and Laura Schocker for their wonderful work on “leadership” and” introversion” . Without their great work I would have never been able to write this post .

All the pictures are taken from Google images .