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.)
I work for myself, which some of us call being a “solopreneur.” In a way that word sounds so lonely, as if everything is on your own shoulders. No employer and no employees to rely on. Some people think that means there’s no help, and there’s no room to be sick or a take time off.
Well, I’m here to contradict those stereotypes:
- There IS Support.
You better let in help or your business won’t make it. Seriously, every self-employed person who is making it has people behind the scenes who are helping in significant ways. It might be a spouse, an accountant, a helpful friend, colleagues to bounce things off of, and/or a business coach.
- There IS Sick Time.
Solopreneurs DO have sick time available, if they are willing to send themselves home. When you have a sustainable business model, it allows for sick time, with no financial loss.
How I Allowed Time Off and Support
As I sit here on the tail end of this very determined sniffly cold, I’ll tell you my real life story of taking time off as a solopreneur. Continue reading
Feeling squirrely this time of year? Racing after nuts before winter? (Photo by David Johnson, click for his site.)
This seems to be the start of many conversations I’m having as Fall approaches…
“Maybe it’s the change of seasons, but I am… off/ spinning/ questioning everything/ feeling squirrely/ jittery… [fill in your own words].”
I am feeling it. Are you? I started looking at my calendar for September and I could get overwhelmed if I’m not careful. I’ll be speaking at two new places in September, and launching 3 programs in September and October. As I look at it, I get jumpy and start rethinking these plans that seemed so logical a few months ago.
Is it just the season change jitters, or do I need to question the amount of commitments? Because I’m so determined to maintain balance, I am stopping to consider whether my schedule really feels good to me and reflects the kind of life I truly want. (You can borrow my list of self-assessment questions, shown below.)
I paused here and came back to finish this post a few days later. Keep reading to see how it turned out. Continue reading
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 almost titled this post, “Stop Worrying About the Words.” You’ll see why.]
Even if you have some memorized answer to “What do you do?”, you probably still worry about whether you’re using the right words. There’s so much stress over the words related to our work. You’re not alone in that struggle.
I especially notice this struggle when it comes to describing a new business or cause that you’re really excited about. It feels like there’s no possible way to capture all that is in your heart about it. Using only a few words to capture it feels like you’re cheapening it somehow. Sound familiar?
And if you get really tripped up on the words and you’re rethinking it over and over, you might be an introvert. We’re at higher risk of over-thinking our words. That’s me! While it’s also an asset to naturally think things over thoroughly, that can cause trouble too. The worst is when you’re thinking and thinking, then you start feeling more nervous about getting it right, and negative thinking can take over. You know that feeling? Yup.
Think about all these words you have to come up with for a business. The list itself is overwhelming.
- Business name
- Tag line
- Your title
- A brief description of what you do (the dreaded “elevator pitch”).
- Business card words (It’s so small!)
- Words for your website’s Home page (What the heck?!)
- Words for your website’s About page (Credentials? Your personal story? Your philosophy? Huh?)
- What to say in an introductory video
- Your Linkedin profile description
- Your email signature
- What to say when a reporter interviews you about your work
- Your bio for an upcoming presentation
- Then there’s the presentation itself!
- I’m sure you can think of a few more.
If any of these items on the list cause you to tense up, you’re in good company. Finding the words is one of the hardest parts of having a business. And the same goes for a cause you’re working on, a new career direction you want to pursue, or anything to do with what you do.
OK, now you get the extent of the tongue-tied problem.
Here’s why it’s so hard, and what to do about it. Continue reading