3 Ways I Learned To Thrive As An Introvert
About 10 minutes into a talk I was giving to a group of college students, I mentioned that I was a shy introvert. After a moment of silence, I heard a few scoffs from the audience and even, "I don’t believe that!"
I could see the paradox and I did it deliberately to prove a point.
Even though I feel a crushing anxiety whenever the phone rings, or when I cross the street to avoid small talk with a stranger, and even though I’m the one huddled in a corner having a meaningful conversation with someone while everyone else is mingling at a party, I can still confidently give a talk to a room full of students like I’ve been doing it all my life.
I’m a writer and that suits my personality perfectly. I can spend long hours quietly writing to my heart’s content while listening to the John Denver back catalogue. But then at some point I have to face the music: I have to do a book launch, have a book signing, meet my readers, introduce myself to bookstore managers, give radio interviews, appear on stage and give talks like the one I did to these students.
At first it wasn’t easy, and some aspects still aren’t. However, I know if I want to be a successful writer and share my stories with people, I have to go through this process. I need to put the fear aside and just do it.
You can imagine how hard it was for me, a shy person, to walk into a bookstore, introduce myself as a writer and then ask the store to stock my book. I was dying inside every time I had to do it, but luckily I often had my partner with me which made things a bit easier.
Now, I’m almost comfortable with my shyness and introversion after having developed a new understanding of how it affects me. Based on years of living with this reality, I’ve implemented a few workarounds which may be of help for other people too:
1. I use email a lot.
I have trouble with making the first contact with someone over the phone, so I always use email or social media at first, and that’s perfectly fine (it's how I got my first book contract)! I search publishers on Facebook to get email addresses if I can't find them elsewhere.
2. I slip into ‘another character’ every time I need to do an interview.
When I interview or make a public appearance, I’m not ‘Josh, the shy guy’, but instead this crazy, confidant guy who wants to investigate the afterlife. I still get knots in my stomach beforehand, but once I’m on, the character takes over and I play the part confidently and actually enjoy the experience. I always rehearse out loud by myself and carry talking points with me so I have a quick reference guide.
3. I’ve become more positive about presenting my work and myself to the world.
I used to tell people (and believe) that writing books doesn’t make money. But I know that’s not true, as I have made money from my books. So now I’ve changed my mantra to, “Writing books and doing what I love, makes me money and makes me happy." It’s a powerful difference and helps me push through intense moments of shyness and anxiety.
When I’m elderly, I may well still be shy and an introvert but I don’t want that to have stopped me from living a wonderful, successful life doing what I love. And remember, there are so many others out there who feel exactly the same way. You have a lot to offer the world! We need your skills too! Hopefully these tips can help take the edge off and let you shine!
Want to know if you should you go Keto? Paleo? Whole 30? Deciding what to eat to feel your best shouldn’t be complicated. We’ve removed the guesswork to give you all the best nutrition tips & tools, all in one place. Ready to kickstart your health journey? We’re here to guide you.