A Confident Introvert Facing the Fire: What It Takes

RBG film posterI just saw the movie, RBG. It’s a must-see! You’ll get to see an example of a powerful, confident, and courageous introverted woman, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I’m so inspired! It helped to restore my hope. I need that during these times. Don’t you?

RBG, as she is affectionately called by her many fans, is a good example of someone living true to herself and her values, and willing to face the heat of those who don’t want to listen to her opinions.

It’s not easy to be yourself in a culture that is so judgmental, and sometimes cruel. It can be easier to keep our mouths shut. But then, a deeper part of us wants more. Right?  Continue reading

Introverts Can Really Get Talking, If…

When starting my self-employment journey 9 years ago, it occurred to me that specializing in coaching introverts would make my heart happy and would fill a big need. I floated the idea to a couple of business friends, and they both said something like this: “That’s a bad idea. No one will admit to being introverted and they will never contact you or attend your events.”

Hmmmm.

Mind you, this was years before the explosion of introvert pride sparked in 2012 (when the book Quiet came out), so they were right about the negative attitude toward introverts and people’s hesitance to admit to being introverted, but my heart told me the need was there. I wasn’t going to let their opinion stop me.

So I decided to host a free discussion for introverts to talk about their work concerns so I could learn more before jumping in. I posted the invitation on a large email list and I got two kinds of responses:

  1. From many introverts: “When and where?! I’ll be there!”
  2. From a few extroverts: “A discussion for introverts? No one will talk.”

How wrong those extroverts were. So-called “quiet” people have a lot to say.

I’ll explain what gets introverts talking, and what happened in those introvert discussions. It was wonderful.

Continue reading

The Introvert’s Easy Path To Going For It… Without Getting Overwhelmed

One of the main worries I hear from introverts sounds like this:

“How am I supposed to put myself out there when I’m too introverted for that?”
OR
“How can I move towards what I want when it feels overwhelming just thinking about it?”

Have you said anything like that to yourself?

I’m an introvert too and I know I’ve said those things. Luckily, I have learned through experience that phrases like “I’m too introverted for that” or “I won’t be able to handle it” are false. Not just for me, but false for all of us. I’m not saying you need to become someone other than yourself either. In fact, don’t do that! It won’t help or feel good. I’ll explain.

The truth is that you don’t have to get overwhelmed or drained when you go for something you want. No matter if you’re introverted, extroverted, or in between. Really.

Our human brains play a trick on us, trying to keep us safe, by telling us that if we leave the comfort zone of the known, we’ll freak out or get overwhelmed, like in the image below. So we feel stuck and we stop moving forward. It’s very common to get stuck right there.

Comfort zone vs overwhelm zone image

This is what your brain tries to tell you, to stop you in your tracks: “Don’t leave the comfort zone or else.”

I’ll explain in the video below with a simple diagram that will give you a big Aha moment. (Making the video was outside my comfort zone so you can watch me facing my discomfort zone in real life.)

Continue reading

Introversion and Shyness: The Connection

[Image: Ever feel like you don't want to come out and be seen? That's a shy moment.]

[Image: Ever feel like you don’t want to come out and be seen? That’s a shy moment.]

Even my friends who hear me talk about introversion all the time will ask me, “Isn’t introversion the same as shyness?”

No, they are not the same thing.

And yet, shyness and introversion can be connected, and they can look the same on the outside. That’s why we confuse this all the time. It’s very important, for everyone’s well-being, that we understand the difference.

Let’s clarify this…

Continue reading

The Introvert’s Path from Pain to Confidence

It strikes me that these are the two classic paths for introverts. And this description helps explain the connection between introversion, shyness, and anxiety.

Of course real life is not so linear as the models below, but this makes a good bite-sized model. I hope you find this helpful.

The Path of Increasing Pain

If there’s no understanding or consciousness of one’s introverted temperament and how our brains work, introversion can lead to anxiety like in this example:

Introversion

over-thinking

perfectionism and self-judgment

believing the negative stereotypes about introverts

shyness (fear of being seen as imperfect)

avoidance and/or wearing an extrovert mask

increasing fear and exhaustion

anxiety and low self-esteem
 ↓
trapped in worsening anxiety and burnout.

Ouch, I’ve been on that path. It didn’t have to be like that. Finally I learned about introversion and that made a huge difference.

This painful path is more likely or worsened in cultures that tend to look down on introversion, such as in the U.S. But even in cultures that support introversion, the introvert’s brain is still prone to over-thinking which can lead to anxiety if left unchecked.

The Path of Growth and Ease

If an introvert learns about introversion, this is a more likely path: Continue reading