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?”
“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.
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.)
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:
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
I think you’d be surprised how much clothing comes up when talking with my career and business coaching clients. What is it about what we wear that seems to have such power over us?
Haven’t you put on a nice outfit and you suddenly feel like a million bucks? (Like The Red-Headed Diva shown in the photo.) Conversely, the wrong outfit can ruin your mood.
Sometimes we pretend we’re “above” that fashion stuff (while we secretly watch makeover shows). Let’s forget about judging or questioning it. Instead, let’s take a lesson from the drag queens who know the power of a great outfit!
Let’s consciously use that power of our clothes for our benefit.