As someone who leans heavily towards the introvert end of the scale, I’ve been wanting to write something on this topic for a while. If you briefly look into my world, you may assume that I’m more of an extrovert – the PR, the CEO roles, the high flying career but if you’re one of my friends, you’ll know that it takes a lot of solitude for me to be able to do this and you will have the declined dinner invitations and numerous no-shows to prove it!
Being up front and putting myself out there is not a natural state of being for me. Being in nature (and with animals), spending time in my own head and constantly learning; is. These are all necessary components for me to be brave enough to be vulnerable. To put myself out there and to show the world what I have to offer. In fact, when I do take time out, unplug and head out into a wifi-free zone; I come back to the world invigorated – overflowing with innovative ideas, game-changing strategies and buzzing with creativity.
Seeing that 2016 was my year of celebrating all thing tall, I ran some experimental Tall Guides events in the UK and in Europe. I loved seeing everyone bonding and benefiting from being in like-heighted company. But I was in a very vulnerable place last year and hosting the events themselves resulted in me needing to retreat & recharge for several days afterwards. This is the kind of thing I find really frustrating because my enthusiasm for meeting new people, making genuine connections and blazing trails wants to see me going 100 mph at all times. Which is not possible. Being in my late 30’s, I am extremely self aware. And I know that this approach will only result in burnout and debilitating introversion!
One of my oldest and best friends is the polar opposite to me. She is the ultimate social butterfly, the one with thousands of Facebook friends, the one who everyone loves to have at their party. I don’t think I could be like her even if I tried. (Just the thought of it terrifies me!) If you could take 50% of my introversion and 50% of her extroversion, we might just be the perfect human being! We are both so different but yet we have both suffered from the ‘Disease to Please’. This is something Oprah talks about in the Living Brave video below and something, like many of us, I can totally relate to.
I am determined to overcome the dreaded ‘disease to please’ and after putting in a lot of work; right now it is better than it has ever been. As much as I want to please others, I know I also have to please myself. It’s a combination of balance and a refusal to let the world (and some of those in it) intimidate me. It may leave me battered and bruised from time to time but when this happens; I dust myself off, spend as much time as needed alone and then get back out there because the world needs what I have to offer. This applies to every single one of us.
If you are also leaning towards the introvert end of the scale, or even if you’re not and just want to understand it better; here are three fantastic talks that I think you’ll love.
Susan Cain : The Power Of Introverts
Our world seems to prize extroverts – but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative. She reaches millions of people through her books, podcasts and her mission-based organization, Quiet Revolution, which empowers introverts for the benefit of everyone.
Brené Brown : Listening to shame
Being a sensitive introvert can come with it’s fair share of guilt and shame. If this sounds familiar, check out Brené Brown’s talk on listening to shame.
Living Brave : Brene Brown interviews Oprah Winfrey
Oprah talks candidly about the disease to please and how you cannot live a brave life with out disappointing someone.
Despite how I was left feeling after last year’s events, I’m in a much better place this year. And I cannot deny the positive effects that these get-togethers had on everyone. As I said last year; something magical happens when you bring tall women together offline. A shift in confidence, a unique bonding and everyone leaves walking just a little bit taller. So I’m pleased to say that we will be continuing our informal, social #teamtall gatherings across the UK, Europe and the US in 2017. If this is something you would like to get involved in; you can contact me on the email below or reach me via the #TeamTall group.
If you have any talks, articles or other resources for introverts, please share them below; or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org if you would rather remain anonymous.