From Good Girl to Fighting for the *Greater* Good. Let’s Be Paradigm Shifters, Together.

This is a funny combo of quiet and outspoken, and I know I’m not the only one:

I’m a recovering “good girl” who now openly questions the insane harmful systems that dominate around the globe.

In other words, when I was younger, I used to be too quiet in an attempt to seem “good” and to stay safe (beyond the normal level of the positive quiet of introverts).

Now my desire for the Greater Good is winning out, and I’ve become more outspoken, more and more each year.

I am determined to be part of moving from the dominant broken paradigm (money-driven and violent) to a life-affirming, nature-centric paradigm.

I know. It’s a long journey from here to there but I am finding it joyful along the way, whenever I turn in that direction. It’s way better on this road than the old crumbling one. Especially when I connect with kindred spirits.

This “New” Paradigm Is Our Ancestral Heritage

Triskele - symbol of natural resilience

This Triskele is an ancient symbol found in Ireland and other places in Europe, most likely about natural rhythms of the seasons.

A nature-centric world view is what research has shown me is the true ancestral heritage of all humans.

No wonder it feels so much more true to my own nature. No wonder so many are drawn to it.

This true nature paradigm has been alive all along, sometimes in the shadows and in Indigenous cultures around the globe, and it is expanding, despite pressures against it.

I’ll share more of what I mean about what’s unfolding, why it’s hard, and what can help. Continue reading

Myths and Truths About How To Find Your Right Career Path

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Too many people live with this question and don’t know how to answer it.

I notice people tend to think one or both of these methods will work for discovering your right career path:

  1. That it will just come in a flash and then you’re all set for life, you know, like it did for so-and-so (supposedly).
  2. That you can do a few exercises in a book or take a quiz online to find the one right path.

Sadly, those thoughts are often accompanied with, “Since those things didn’t work for me, I must be broken.”

I have heard something like that so many times and it hurts my heart. Luckily I can reassure them right away, those paths don’t work for most people. You’re not broken, and there is a way to find your path.

I don’t think either of those expected ways is enough for something like deep clarity and choosing your own specific steps on where you want to go in life. You wouldn’t be here on this page if you could have figured it out on your own by now.

Figuring out why you’re here and how to make it work is big stuff! And yet, the steps to uncover that are simple, just not commonly known.

Continue reading

Do You Confuse Extroversion with Confidence?

I think we all tend to confuse extroversion with confidence. So let’s re-think it.

I’m an introvert and when I speak up confidently about something, people sometimes say, “You must be an extrovert.”

Hey, I can be an introvert AND be confident and out-spoken. Or confident and quiet. (I can hear my confident introverted friend Jenn saying “Hell yeh.”)

Do you think introversion and confidence can go together? Think about it.

I was painfully shy in the past and I’m not anymore… but I’m still an introvert.

I believe that no matter how shy or anxious you might feel in certain social situations, there’s a way to find more ease and confidence. And you can still be an introvert (which is not the same as shyness). Continue reading

Informational Interviews for Introverts: A Cheat Sheet

Dear Val:
“I hear informational interviews are important so I can explore career and business ideas, but how does that work? Huh? What? Who do I ask? What do I say? They’ll think I’m weird…”
~from almost every introvert I talk to (at first)

Yes, asking people questions about their path is such a helpful step in finding your own path. And yet, it seems awkward, at first, for many introverts.

Informational interviews are good for when you’re exploring career ideas, business ideas, new niche ideas for your business, retirement ideas, and more. There’s so much gold in there.

I hate seeing so many people get stuck on this step. Let’s make this simple, right here and now.

There are particular concerns that I notice introverts raise about informational interviews. Do you recognize these?

  1. Won’t I be bothering the person if I ask them to speak with me?
  2. How can I find people to interview?
  3. I can’t just cold call some stranger I found online!
  4. I don’t know what to ask. I’ll be tongue-tied.
  5. I don’t know enough about the field to ask good questions. I’ll sound stupid.
  6. I don’t know what I’m planning to do yet, so I’ll seem unfocused.
  7. Is it a call, a lunch invitation, what? What’s the etiquette?

First I’ll give my short answer to each of those classic concerns, then I’ll elaborate and give you some basic steps including what to ask.

Elephants showing us an informational interview

It could be as sweet and simple as this.

Continue reading

Introverts Can Really Get Talking, If…

When starting my self-employment journey 9 years ago, it occurred to me that specializing in coaching introverts would make my heart happy and would fill a big need. I floated the idea to a couple of business friends, and they both said something like this: “That’s a bad idea. No one will admit to being introverted and they will never contact you or attend your events.”

Hmmmm.

Mind you, this was years before the explosion of introvert pride sparked in 2012 (when the book Quiet came out), so they were right about the commonly held negative attitude toward introverts and people’s hesitance to admit to being introverted, but my heart told me the need was there. I wasn’t going to let their opinion stop me.

So I decided to host a free discussion for introverts to talk about their work concerns so I could learn more before jumping in. I posted the invitation on a large email list and I got two kinds of responses:

  1. From many introverts: “When and where?! I’ll be there!”
  2. From a few extroverts: “A discussion for introverts? No one will talk.”

How wrong those extroverts were. So-called “quiet” people have a lot to say.

I’ll explain what gets introverts talking, and what happened in those introvert discussions. It was wonderful.

Continue reading