When someone has identified a challenge, consciously pushed through with a plan to succeed, and overcome, there is no greater cause for respect in my eyes.
As an introvert or shy person I also understand that the easiest thing to do when required to step out into discomfort is to retreat to a position of comfort and familiarity. But we can’t keep doing this…….Introversion and quiet characteristics are assets, not excuses. True or true?
Sometimes it’s a case of being honest with ourselves and managing our energy levels, rather than aimlessly committing to every invite and then experiencing burnout, or constantly refusing invites for fear of burnout. Let’s pass on both of these options, shall we?
Managing our Energy output
In his article named The Power of Quiet: 4 leadership tools for introverts, Joe Indvik, the Co-Founder and President of Sparkfund and an introvert discusses managing your energy budget; a fantastic concept. Essentially he advises that we prioritize using our energy budget and use for activities/meetings that will profit us most.
Personally, it helps me to give myself a little time in between coaching and speaking sessions. And as much as I can avoid it, I don’t schedule in back-to-back events without a break in between. I also try and schedule my working week in such a way that I have no more than 4 important meetings each week and have quiet time before, where possible. A common trap that is fallen into is to look at our calendar, see that we have the time and jam-pack it full of events/activities that require a high level of energy (especially at weekends and certain seasons), simply because we have the time. Don’t fall for it!
I work with my coaching clients to get them to the stage where they are able to unapologetically manage the expectations of others with regards to what they can and can’t do. For example, there is no problem with accepting an invite and making the host aware that we’ll be in attendance at the beginning, but may also need to leave earlier. Do they need to know why?? The fact that you have gotten up and showed up, even for a short while, honours the person or event and that’s what really matters.
It may help for you to keep an energy journal for a week, whereby you briefly note down your schedule and you identify the occasions within the week where your energy has been most depleted and most importantly, where you can schedule in some time to recharge. Of course, it’s important to be productive and get things done, but you also need to avoid energy burnout AT ALL COSTS, as once you reach this point, it’ll take a good while to recharge.
When we understand when energy levels are at their peak and lowest, we can then create and apply the tools and mechanisms, some of which I have mentioned above, which will help with managing our time and energy in a way that is most fitting for our lifestyle.
This powerful statement was made by Maya Angelou and has always stuck with me “If a human being dreams a great dream……….if a human being dares to be Martin King, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, or Malcolm X; if a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born — it means so can you”. Essentially, we can create who we want to be and develop the necessary characters and changes and I feel that this is possible when we have a process to follow.
Have you identified those individuals who have worked past the issues or difficulties you may be experiencing? My advice is to identify highly successful introverts and shy individuals and study their approach to using their characteristics to their advantage. Take Warren Buffett, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Bill Gates for example, these people have used their introversion as an asset to help them excel and there isn’t one reason that you can’t also.
Peace, love….and the love of quiet
From A Seed Coaching
In a previous life I was a HR professional and I am now a Personal Coach. I have an absolute affinity with introverts, the shy and quieter folk and I help these awesome humans to apply themselves in a way that results in maximum benefit, in a professional (and any other) capacity; especially where awkwardness, anxiety or low self-confidence is experienced.
I’m also a proudly introverted person. Party over here!!….Let’s face it. I’m an introvert; my ideal party would be in my bedroom.
Honestly though, introversion is a deliciously invaluable tool in my kit of armor (otherwise known as my characteristic makeup), which I revel in when I have the opportunity. However possibly like yourself, I do not always have the option to indulge, especially in my professional life where, excluding my client base, I mingle and network with the very loudest of them all.
In this capacity, if ever my introversion comes up in conversation, it’s because I’ve revealed this information; not because it is so obvious that others can perceive it, even my fellow introverts. I believe that this is because in a world that appears to lean increasingly towards extrovert tendencies, I have learned the ‘ways’ of extroversion and, in situations whereby this may be required for a determinable amount of time, the ability to cloak myself in this disguise. I ensure that my introversion works for me.
I do appreciate that for us quieter folk, team and group functions/exercises can be especially difficult, without the techniques, strategies and mindset required manage and ensure success within these situations.
Have you ever been in a group meeting/discussion where you have made (what you believe to be) a well-informed statement or proposal, only for it to be ignored and when someone else makes THE SAME proposal/statement, it is snapped up in the form of a standing ovation??
In my past, I’ve experienced the above and I tell you, during those moments i was so tempted to pull from my unconscious mind the skillful moves displayed in those Bruce lee films my Dad used to watch, and just dish out a few ninja chops to the culprit(s). Then I regained my senses and remembered that I wouldn’t fare too well in the penitentiary.
I recently ran through the above example with Sarah M, a Director at a UK talent management firm and self-confessed brazen extrovert. Sarah’s response was that she would have immediately halted the discussion taking place and referred directly to the person/people who had overlooked her suggestion with “I’m sorry, that was my idea, I actually said that earlier. Did you not hear that I had actually said the same thing earlier?” ……Que the googley-eyed emoji. That type of response is just not in the DNA of an introvert. Many of us would simply remain quiet and burn silently with the injustice of it all.
What I’m trying to say is that, in my past, the struggle to assertively articulate myself within group sessions caused some frustration and I have had to consciously apply techniques to overcome this; an example being to apply my skills to listening, reflecting and questioning. I note that such skills are priceless and I coach to this effect.
Peace, love…and the love of quiet.
Disclaimer: my blogs do not represent the views of ALL introverted, shy or quiet individuals, however many can relate!Read More
The introvert life can be awkward, that’s for sure.
That is, it CAN be, not necessarily that it is. However if you’re reading this and you’re an introvert like me, I’m sure that you’ve experienced many awkward social predicaments; some laughable and that were just downright cringe-worthy.
I personally prefer to listen and observe than to speak, which may explain why I have such empathy and second-to-none listening skills, making my role as a Life Coach something I love to do.
My Mum loves to remind me that when I was younger, say between 5–7, and I had friends around to play, I would ALWAYS, usually earlier than the planned time of leaving, request “Mummy, can they go home now?” I guess that even as a child, I was worried about my friend possibly not enjoying my Company any more and I had certainly at that point stopped enjoying theirs. Who does that?? I did that……much more than once.
Essentially there will be times when us as introverts need time, of the alone kind, to refresh and recharge; for an introvert there is real power in solitude.
I also recall during the school era desperately wishing that it would rain so that during break times/recess, I would be able to remain in the classroom and not have to go out into the playground with hundreds of other screaming, shouting, racing children and stay in the safety of the classroom with a book/drawing. How does a 5 year old explain that?
Continuing on from what I referred to above in my childhood years, there is still somewhat of a theme in these current years. I laugh when I consider the times that we have friends over and, trust me I love those times of cooking and entertaining, however after a few hours of energetic convo and laughter, I’m done. Not in a rude or particularly noticeable way, I’ll still smile politely, nod in agreement and “mm-hmm” in the right places but there is a process of having phased out from the presence of the room and into my energizing solitude. Seriously, it’s like, I love you to tiny pieces but I AM DONE; clocked out a little while ago tbh. Still love you though!
Let’s not even go into the whole guilt of awkward silences or forced social situations….these can be the worst!
Also, what is not OK is the pressure placed on introverts at times to conform to the characteristics of an extrovert; much anguish was experienced by me in misguidedly attempting to do this before I really began to appreciate who I was and what I actually possessed. I managed to turn it right around and I help others to do so too. This is my specialist area of coaching.
Rounding up, self acceptance is key; this includes knowing what we are comfortable with and having a toolkit of tips that will help to manage situations of discomfort or awkwardness that we may find ourselves within. Self-acceptance first and then acceptance by others, if that even matters at all, comes way after.
Love, peace…and the love of quiet.
Natalie (From A Seed Coaching)Read More