As a military veteran with 29 years of service, I’ve seen, done, and been to more places than most will ever even consider in their lifetime. For the first 18 years of my military career, I served as an enlisted person. The past 11, I served as a commissioned officer. I’ve had the opportunity to serve at the very lowest levels and some of the very highest, including command. Even though I truly appreciate the opportunities I’ve been afforded, my typical MO has been characterized by a slow start with a strong finish. No matter how much time and effort I’ve devoted to my goals, they just haven’t come as quickly to fruition as my peers’. Typically, I’m about 10 years behind everyone else.
Being the introspective guy that I am, I began to ask: why? I’ve diligently earned four degrees (two associate, one bachelor, and one MBA), completed countless training/leadership courses, and attended Dale Carnegie. Currently, I’m working on an MS in warfare studies and have a future goal of achieving a doctorate in global leadership. Was it my inability to work with people and build relationships? Not at all. I am an approachable guy. I excel in scenarios where strong working relationships are built over time. I am also routinely required to address large groups and make difficult decisions others either can’t or won’t.
So why was I always (and only) starting slow and finishing strong?
I had my lightbulb moment while attending a warfare studies course. One of our assignments was to watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk, The Power of Introverts. From her experiences at summer camp to her definition of an introvert and explanation of the “New Groupthink,” her message resonated with me in my core. I meet almost all characteristics of the classic introvert. In a crowded room, I’m always the guy hanging out at the fringe. I speak to large groups, but I have almost no “stage presence.” And ultimately, I find strength in developing one‐on‐one relationships; in quietly considering possibilities and developing solutions; in being entrusted to complete projects successfully without boundaries (quietly); in being introspective and self‐corrective; and in learning, learning, and learning (again, quietly). I always knew I was an introvert, but until now I never attributed it to my inability to socially/professionally progress.
Hello, my name is Scott. I start slow and finish strong. And I am an introvert.