What if you could hack your introversion? I think there’s a way, and I’m going to be the guinea pig!
As a child, I was always the shy, reserved type. Often Happier to sit with a group of adults and take in the conversation than play with the other kids. As I entered my schooling years, this remained and strengthened. Never one to take centre stage and only speaking up if I was sure I was correct. High school really drove home this approach to life, bringing with it all the challenges of a cracking voice, acne and a nerdiness for maths that was never going to make a lot of friends.
As the years went on, my shyness was replaced with introversion. A readily available and recognised personality type, making up roughly half the population. And there it was, an easy way to explain away why I was the quiet guy at work who wasn’t great at networking and came across as closed-off and sometimes rude.
As I reflect on my personality, I realise it’s just a story I tell myself.
What if I could change the story, without losing the aspects of my personality I like? I actually quite like certain aspects of my introversion. I believe it makes me a more reflective, thoughtful human and gives me the ability to write articles like this one!
So how might I approach this? What’s a way to frame it this doesn’t mean I have to become the outgoing, extroverted life of the party? I mean, it would be weird if I just turned up at work tomorrow a completely different person, right?
But, by making small steps and getting out of my comfort zone at least once a day means I’m approaching life with a growth mindset.
So how will I do this? By framing introversion the same way I approach imposter syndrome.
Let me explain how this manifests. Rather than ‘I don’t deserve to be here’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘People are going to figure out I have no idea what I’m doing’, my introversion is often framed as ‘What if I say the wrong thing?’ or ‘I’m no good at talking to new people’ or ‘I’m terrible at networking’. The end result is the same. I run away from my imposter and let my introversion take over. I stay comfortable as the guy in the corner on his phone.
My approach then? To explore feeling uncomfortable at least once a day, every day. To speak up when I usually wouldn’t. To talk to someone I don’t know. Or to actually sign up for that networking event I’ve been invited to! By making small steps towards my goal, I will grow.
My goal: to be less introverted.
The outcome: who knows? The possibilities of opening myself up are endless.
One Reply to “Embracing my extrovert”
Very perceptive and relevant post. I am also an introvert and made the conscious decision one day to be more assertive at work. This resulted in me being pulled in to a meeting room by a colleague who asked me why I was suddenly so angry, so sudden was the change in my demeanour. Like you say, you can’t suddenly present as a different person but you can make small changes to reach your goal of becoming less introverted. I look forward to hearing how you go!