I’m an introvert. I remember one incident last year when I was supposed to attend a bloggers convention. For years, I have been dying to attend that event, meet people and find good friends. It was a chance to break free from my alone-time-all-the-time shell.
To cut the story short (if there was a story at all), I didn’t go. The day of the event, I sat there, munching on my breakfast when a herd of negative thoughts ran through my head. Thoughts like, “I don’t have anyone I know coming with me, what if I chicken out on introducing myself and meeting people?” “What if nobody talks to me?” “I’ll be meeting people that are going to intimidate me.” “What if I regret ever going?”
I feel as if I’m the biggest loser when it comes to social events. I’d always think that my blog will find its way into the bloggers network without me actually going out there to market it. On the other hand, I realized that one of the reasons I followed through with my blog in the first place is the thought of meeting other blogger friends. Crazy, right? I plan on being more social and I screw everything up the last minute.
If you go out and talk to me, I’d always have the best stories to tell. However, if you invite me for a meeting, together with a bunch of your friends, I’d be thinking ten times before I decide to accept. It’s not that it’s hard to talk to people. It’s that I almost always feel physically and mentally drained so quickly that it’s traumatizing.
Plus I hate the thought of being ignored. To cope, I try not to be in a circle of people with different personalities and ideas. There are always these three people in a group: one where there’s almost always someone who talks so loud and fast that no one else gets to speak; another who tries to stir up drama; and another who’s exceptional at saying nothing and complaining later. I get easily intimidated.
I have the tendency of putting a rock hard solid Ms. Nice face in front of other people that sometimes when they piss me off, even a little, I feel tiny cracks gnawing through my inner being simply because I couldn’t find it in me to do anything about it, and that’s basically the kind of trauma I suffer in every past circles I have been in.
You just want to tell people to shut up but you can’t because it’s rude and you’ll feel guilty for feeling party-pooper feelings so you just stay away from them. I wasn’t always like this, but I guess that’s a different story for another blog post.
I needed to address this issue ASAP. Truth is, I am a very ambitious girl and yet someone who’d rather stay at home than go out and explore. If I wanted to open my own business and live the life I dream, I have got to get my shit together and repress this inner craving for alone time, which I have too much of already. It gets sickening sometimes.
I have observed in the little social events that I got to attend (because of my brother) that people casually approach other people to introduce themselves and it’s totally okay. Even the most prominent of figures in the industry, when ordinary people approach, they respond like normal people without badges of their achievements all over their faces.
Of course, there’s always going to be this smug bitch in the crowd but generally speaking, approaching people and talking to them is super harmless. Same thing happens whenever I go out with my aunt. She asks people every time about absolutely everything, even the most absurd and obvious, and not one person responded negatively or sarcastically. Everyone tries to be polite.
As an Introvert, why do I fear so much of putting myself out there?
The fear of rejection is something that haunts everybody, even the most successful and well-known individuals. Even Lady Gaga gets the jitters before a stage performance. Come to think of it, they won’t be as successful as they are now if they stayed inside their comfort zones, keeping their genius for themselves for fear that people won’t appreciate their existence, right?
Somehow at one point in their lives, they decided to get their shit together. They learned to conceal that inside voice craving for solitude. And in the light of it all, they allowed the world to recognize their talent and worth in society.
Introverts have no excuse, literally, to stay hidden behind that “introvert” stigma, all cradled inside their fear when there’s a wide, wide world simply waiting for them to unleash their power and make it a better place to live in.
This week I have been tuned to Marie Forleo (subscribe to her channel if you’re into Personal Growth, Productivity and Business, she’s awesome I tell ya), and one of the videos I have watched so far that really dug deep inside me and gave me a kick back to consciousness is her interview with Susan Cain.
Aside from being a kickass introvert, Susan Cain is also an award-winning published author of New York Times best seller Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World that Can’t Stop Talking. In her short interview with Marie, she has mentioned five tips on how introverts can maximize their potentials, get out there and balance the need for social life and solitude.
To be able to succeed in the career path you have chosen, it is no longer wise to repress your introvert nature. Trying to make yourself an extrovert to mask your shyness is ridiculous. Introverts can be good at networking too without trying so hard to be an extrovert.
I have learned so much from these alone and I’m still at a third of her book. To all of you who have a lot of great ideas but are like me, struggling with introversion and the Good Art/Bad Marketing dilemma, here are 5 quick tips on unleashing your power and being the most successful introvert you can be.
Choose your business/career wisely
There are times when we tend to choose a career that challenges us in order to prove something to ourselves. That’s okay. I’m totally down with it. That’s how I got my nursing license in the first place. However, it’s still wise not to put yourself in a situation where you are well aware that it’s suffocating you already and its as if you’re trying too hard.
If work is starting to get toxic already, it’s okay to take a break. Or and your co-workers tend to be louder than they usually are, take a break! Better yet, find another career that suits your temperament. Find one that you feel you’re enhancing the best of your potentials.
Make a Quota
Susan talks about desensitizing your fear of public speaking.
Her suggestions include: Attending social events, meeting people and talking about your ideas in order for you to get used to the activity.
The downside to this is that no matter how we think and believe we’re comfortable already when it comes to social events, truth is that it can still be too exhausting. Not only that but at the same time, it paints a shadow of guilt over the thought of rejecting event invites. We hate the thought of turning people down but we’d hate it more if we’d go home after the event wishing we never went.
Make a quota of say, 3 events per month. First invite first serve or by ranking of importance. The rest you can reject. It decreases your sense of guilt and optimizes your sense of assertiveness. It’s healthy to say ‘No’ sometimes.
The Power of One and the Rule of Thumb for Networking
Finding a gem in a horde of coals is a challenge but is nevertheless as fulfilling. Don’t expect to be friends with everybody you meet in a convention. Don’t try so hard to establish affiliations with strangers for the mere thought of expanding your social empire. Believe me, people can tell when you’re being extra nice. More often than not, they would assume you need something from them.
It’s a nice goal to widen your social sphere. Plus, it’s quite handy to know a lot of people. However, it can also turn into a nightmare when they all start to clamor for your attention or worse, take off their masks all at the same time. Find one soul sister or a small circle of trustworthy friends. Stick with that, nourish those little relationships and make magic together.
Don’t be all business and guarded when dealing with people. You can be both an introvert and a really friendly person. Trust me, it’s rewarding.
The Power of Partnerships
It may sound funny but it’s a hands down true cosmic coincidence when I say I am surrounded by extroverts. My boyfriend and most of my besties are extroverts. I am not sure why this is but it takes the “Opposites attract” mantra to another level.
If you’re a Naruto fan, you’ll know this when you take Hinata’s strange attachment to Naruto in consideration. Hinata’s obviously the worst kind of introvert. He’s like the worst of extroverts but that’s exactly why Hinata likes him. Hinata’s alter ego reflects on Naruto’s personality.
Introverts attract extroverts because we tend to listen more than speak or react. Extroverts like it so much when people pay attention. That’s also the same reason why extroverts attract introverts because they have a lot of stories to tell. And introverts can be really good listeners. Yin Yang, y’all.
The point of this is that you have to find that person who can do the stuff you know you can do but you have to push yourself harder to accomplish, at such ease and finesse that it doesn’t feel as if they’re trying at all. That makes a great partnership.
When it’s Time to Fly, Don’t Deny
How to get yourself out of a social situation when you start feeling as if your energy is starting to drain out is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. Unlike extroverts who can go out and be surrounded by people almost 24/7, we introverts easily reach our breaking point. This manifests physically into headaches or fatigue, much like that feeling of being stuck in an elevator.
As much as we feel it’s rude to leave a conversation to take a breather, Susan says it’s okay.
Think of it this way. You’re not a party pooper. Maybe like a cellphone battery, you have to turn it off in order to recharge it. Be polite and learn how to make the right excuses in order to leave in peace. People will understand.
Here’s the interview video.
Here’s also a video of Susan Cain’s TED Talk.
If you’re an introvert struggling with introverted issues, I hope this article helped.
Go on and be the most badass introvert you can be without as much as trying so hard to be an extrovert.
Unleash the power hidden beneath the shy nature of your personality.
Allow the world to see your genius.