What a relief to read this wonderful volume and be affirmed for behaviors that rarely get affirmed. I’m talking about the new book sensation called Quiet whose subtitle is: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
If you’ve met me within the last 10 or more years, you may not believe this, but I was extraordinarily shy as a child and young adult. I literally hid behind my mother’s apron/skirt and only occasionally peeked out to see and be seen. It was safe in those folds back then, and I felt protected and secure.
Of course, that doesn’t really prepare you for the next stages of life, like school and work. I remember raising and lowering my hand to volunteer for show-and-tell in first grade. I raised it when the teacher was looking in the other direction, then lowered it when she turned back around to my side of the room. I desperately wanted to share about my new shoes or goldfish, but was equally terrified of opening my mouth. It was a dilemma.
I distinctly remember the first time I offered a thought of my own in an art class at Mount Holyoke College. I remember the room I was in, where I was sitting and even the content of my thoughts. Nothing dramatic to add to the discussion at hand, but enough of a moment in time that it was memorable – the day I first asked to be called on.
How many of you fall into this category? When they say painfully shy, there’s a reason for that well-chosen adverb. It hurts.
Therapy, 12-step recovery and joining Toastmasters were the tools and programs I used over the years to get past this crippling behavior. I’m now often the first one to raise my hand, will speak up when the spirit moves me and am no longer shy about adding my thougths to a discussion.
Even with these learned behaviors, I am an introvert.
Today, because of reading this book, I feel celebrated by the recognition and support that pours forth from Quiet. I heard about Susan Cain when someone suggested I watch her powerful TED talk, which I promptly did and loved.
Why I’m writing about her today is that I launched my Soul Proprietor Coaching Program on Friday and feel like celebrating and shouting from the rooftops, “I did it–in my own quiet way.”
I’m not looking for a million dollar business or thousands of clients. What makes me really happy is serving my community well and earning enough money to have the lifestyle I desire. Simply defining that is half the battle.
Cain’s words are reinforcing my own message to trust my gut, spend time alone developing my program and not constantly be comparing myself to my highly visible and voluminously marketed competition.
Here’s to us introverts! Shhhhhhhhh…