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.)

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The Joy of Silence… Even If It Makes You Squirm At First

Many people knew I went on a 5-day silent meditation retreat last month and have asked me “How was it!?” I think this captures the range of thoughts behind that question, and perhaps you’ll recognize your own reaction in here:

  • “I don’t know if I could handle that. That’s not for me.”
  • “Hmm, that could be nice but I don’t have time for that. Maybe one day.”
  • “Oh wow, silence for 5 days sounds great.”

When I heard others going away on these retreats over the years, I had that same range of reactions, first starting with the most resistance to gradually more intrigue. Mostly I thought it was for other people.

As my meditation practice has grown more easeful and rewarding over the last few years, I found myself curious if a retreat was for me after all. Something in me felt ready, partly to take on a new challenge, but maybe more so because of an ache in me to hit a reset button.

On the surface my desire for the retreat looked like a simple desire to escape the email inbox for a few days. That alone was starting to sound like nirvana. And I knew it was more than that.

It was a deeper knowing that I was being pulled too far into the sped-up, digital-driven lifestyle. It wasn’t feeling like the true me. I knew I needed to power down and find my true center. Don’t you crave that sometimes too?

Finding Center

 

It was time. I signed up (at Insight Meditation Society) and the sweet anticipation began, for a noticeable wait of 4 weeks.

Now that I’m back, I want to answer “How was it?” but it’s hard to put the power of silence into words. It was profound for me, in fact. I am tearing up as I write this.

I’ll do my best to share my discoveries. In this Western culture, we have such discomfort with silence and stillness… and we have a simultaneous deep need for it. I want to give you a window into the power of it.

I’ll start with this. Let’s take a pause, right here in this moment.

Inhale. Exhale.
Oh, that is kinda nice.
Maybe another inhale, exhale.
The inbox can wait.

Here’s what happened when I hit the giant pause button for 5 days.

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That Dreaded Writing for Your New Website

My first coaching client came to me because she had been trying to write the content for her website for … years. And it was driving her crazy.

Every time she thought about that unfinished website that wasn’t getting launched, she would have anxiety about putting herself out there. Her business was so important to her, so close to her heart, that to write about it, in public, felt too exposing, like the whole world could trample on her heart.

Do you know that feeling?

F1-help

Most helping professionals, especially the quiet or introverted ones, go through this struggle. It’s usually the worst when they are first thinking of publishing a website. They might go hire a web designer first and then that designer says “What do you want your website to say?” and there’s the big gulp. “Ummmmmm, hmmmm, well uh, lemme get back to ya’.” And it sits and sits and sits.  Continue reading

Are You Feeling Drained by Social Events?

[Image: Party Survival for Introverts]During holiday season, party survival is on a lot of introverts’ minds. And it comes up year-round with all kinds of events or conferences.

Let’s get real with this. Here’s what happens to me and what works to stay out of trouble.

These same “party survival” tips below apply to all kinds of social events, from networking gatherings to conferences.

I have a love/hate relationship with parties. Even with all the stars aligned at a social event — nice people, nice environment, good conversation, fun dancing — I can find myself hitting a wall and ready to scram early.

When that happens, my inner critic can start telling me I’m being rude, and people will think I’m a jerk, and before I know it, I’m forcing myself to stretch past my limits, and then it can get worse! I turn into a wall and end up crashing later (both my energy and my mood), and that’s not good for anything.

There is a better way. It takes gumption to take a stand for your needs, but it can really save your well-being and support those valued connections with others. I hope the ideas below can help light an easier path for you. It’s helping to re-light the path for me as I write this. We’re in this together.  Continue reading

Shyness and the Part that’s Hard to Talk About

I saw an incredible movie recently, Buck. It’s a documentary about the real “Horse Whisperer.” It got me thinking about something that must be talked about, but is hard to talk about in public. So let me try.

I’m goin’ deep and gettin’ personal here about the roots of painful shyness. Continue reading