Shyness occupied my childhood – I lost count of the times when I used to hide behind my Mum’s skirt when people used to talk to me and my Mum used to say, “Aahh, she’s shy”, or people used to comment that I “wouldn’t say boo to a goose”. Of course, I hated it, I wanted to be like normal children not consumed by those voices in my head that told me that what was going through my mind wasn’t good enough to say, or the fear of people looking at me (nativities were a huge fear of mine).
As I grew older I became determined that I wouldn’t allow being shy to hold me back. I developed strategies for feeling more confident and pushed myself to do presentations until I no longer felt the fear. I still don’t like being the centre of attention but I no longer fear it, although I do still need to mentally prepare myself for some events. So it may seem a strange to some people that I have chosen a job where I train people and hold coaching sessions on a regular basis. Perhaps it is, but the truth is – I love it. I love the feeling I get when a client has a shift in their thinking and I know that I have helped them; I love the instant feedback I get from training. The job gives me a huge buzz.
Despite this, I know that as an introvert, I cannot put myself out there 5 days a week. I need time to recharge from all the adrenaline associated with being with people – it’s utterly exhausting. As an introvert, I naturally need time on my own, just as extroverts need time with people; and if I don’t build this in to my diary I get stressed and burn out. Luckily I am so aware of this, so when my diary has lots of training booked in, I purposely book in a rest day or a couple of office days to get balance.
When I talk to clients who identify themselves strongly as introvert or extrovert, we often talks about job roles and how they support clients preferences and wellbeing. It really isn’t a problem choosing a job that requires being with people as an introvert or not being with people as an extrovert – what is really important is that those preferences are understood and time is added into the day (or week) which allows those preferences to be met.
For me, I know that sometimes (at least weekly) it’s good to be alone – it keep me grounded and keeps me well.