Being introverted is hard – especially when the world is set up for extroverts. The expectation is that you be an extrovert, and if you’re not, well, be one anyway.
It’s crazy because they’ve found that the most effective leaders are introverts. That introverts are creative and change the world. Some of these introverts include Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, and Van Gogh.
People think being introverted means you are shy, anti-social and boring.
Not true. Being introverted doesn’t mean we’re not outgoing, it means we focus more on inner thoughts and ideas.
Extroverts get energized by others, whereas we recharge through solitude.
Yes, the truth is that introverts are misunderstood. It’s up to us, to clear up this confusion.
Did you know that only 1 out of 3 people are introverts? Shout out to all my fellow introverts.
Research has found that introverts have a thicker prefrontal cortex than extroverts, which is linked to deeper thought, problem-solving and planning.
Introverts have more thoughtful and meaningful relationships than extroverts do. While extroverts love conversations, introverts think before they speak, leading to slower, more thoughtful communication.
Of course, this can be frustrating for our extrovert friends. And it can leave us introverts in the dust, never saying what we want to say because the conversation has moved on.
As an introvert, you can still be highly successful, no matter what field of work you’re in. Trust me on this one.
There’s tons of books out there on the differences between extroverts and introverts. But the goal of this post is to share with you 6 ways that I thrive as an introvert in this extroverted world. My hope is they will help you thrive too.
#1. Feel the feelings
Tell yourself, “I’m okay. This dread that I’m feeling is just because I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. But I know the rewards will far outweigh the dread.”
That’s the thing. You let yourself feel the dread, the worry, the uncomfortable awkwardness, the uncertainty, the feeling of being less than. Tell yourself, “I promise, it’s going to be so worth it.”
Are you willing to feel the feelings that are not the most desirable? The word that’s most important here is willing – willing to feel icky feelings to get you to where you want to be? And if you just answered yes, my friend, you are golden.
#2. Manage your energy
You know you can only do so much of these types of things that zap your energy. Set boundaries about how often you do things that you know will leave you exhausted.
Also, after any event or interaction, really any situation where you’re putting yourself out there, you just need to block some time to be alone and just hide out for a few moments or a day afterwards, depending on the situation. Plan for it. Take some time for rest.
#3. Take a break in the middle of the overwhelm
When we’ve had large parties at our home, and I’m talking about with friends and family who I know really well and I’m super comfortable with, I take pockets of time to hide. I sound ridiculous saying that. I hide because I just need a little quiet downtime.
So that’s the weird thing about being an introvert, especially an introvert like me. I want to be a part of it. I get FOMO when I’m not invited. I want to be in the action, but I don’t. And that’s the battle of it all.
So when people are here or I’m at someone else’s house, I’ll go make myself busy cleaning up in the kitchen or just get a snuggle with my Sheltie Kipp. Then I come back in, and I’m good to go.
#4. Exit your comfort zone
Here’s what I know for sure about being an introvert in an extrovert world.
Unfortunately, there are times that I need to come out of my introvert tendencies.
There are moments where I must be an extrovert, meaning there are moments that I’ve got to show up. And the reason that’s important to me as a coach and entrepreneur is that I want to create a community and support people the best way I know how.
And hiding and not wanting to engage is not something that feels right for me. So I know how to be an extrovert when I need to be. I also know that when all is said and done, I’m still an introvert to my core.
#5. Acknowledge and use your strengths
It comes down to your mindset. Do you view your introverted personality as a downfall or as one of your strengths?
For example, one of my strengths is that I’m an expert (active) listener. I know without a doubt, that I absolutely would not be the coach I am, if I wasn’t an introvert.
In conversations, I like to sit back and let other people drive. I take things in and contribute when relevant. And if I want to be a supportive friend, I’m not there to jump in. I’m there to hear you, ask questions, and be a sounding board, and I’m pretty good at it.
What are your introverted strengths? Celebrate them and use them every single day!
#6. Tell people what you need.
It may sound something like:
- I need to take a break
- I’d rather go out to dinner with you and catch up instead of hanging out at a large party where I’ve got to make small talk with people.
- I need you to be patient with me if I don’t respond right away. I’m very intentional with my words and don’t like rushed communication.
- I need you to understand that I’m an empath and and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and I pick up on others emotions at a much higher intensity than others, causing anxiety and overwhelm. I’m okay. I just need a minute.
Wrapping It Up
Being an introvert doesn’t have to be a weakness, it can be a huge strength. Thriving in this world as an introvert is challenging. It’s a delicate dance. I don’t always get it right. And that’s okay.
Share this with other fellow introverts. We all need to know that we’re not alone, even if we mostly prefer some solitude.