This is a guest post, by the beautiful Tanja Gardner. She lives in New Zealand, although she spells like she’s British, and she’s an amazing writer who’s taking a powerful stand for introverts stepping regally into the full expression of their purpose in business.
There’s a difference between honouring your introversion and playing small
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone dismiss introversion as an “excuse to play small”, I’d… Well, I’d probably invest it, live off the interest, and offer my coaching services for free.
Seriously, the myths around being introverted — that we’re all just shy, poorly socialised, or just too selfish to make an effort — are mindboggling. Errr… no actually, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence for genuine physiological and biochemical differences between introverted and extroverted brains. (In everyday terms: we really are wired differently!)
That said, introversion can make an incredibly convenient excuse to avoid stretching beyond your comfort zone. So how can you tell whether you’re being true to who you are as an introvert, as opposed to hiding your light?
It’s a complex question, and without getting to know you, I can’t say for sure. But here are a few things to consider that might help you figure it out for yourself.
Before we talk about whether you’re honouring your introversion or not, it might help to check that we’re all talking about the same thing.
Being introverted (or extroverted) is basically about how your energy levels tend to respond to interacting with others.
- If you’re introverted, you’ll generally find that spending time with other people drains your energy levels; and you recharge from being blissfully alone.
- If you’re extroverted, you mostly get your juice from being around other people; and you start to feel flat when you’ve been too long by yourself.
Note the terms “generally” and “mostly” there. That’s because introversion and extroversion aren’t absolute characteristics – most of us experience a little bit of both in different situations. So instead, the terms refer to what you tend to experience most often.
(Not sure which “-vert” you are? This fun, free and totally unscientific quiz might help you figure it out!)