(MP3 Introvert Recharge available at the bottom of this post – please login to your free account for access)
Sometimes introverts can withdraw from other people in a very self-protective way. This is a problem because introverts love people. And many introverts are at their best – creative, problem solving, resourceful – only when they are with people. (or person – have you ever said anything like that… “I don’t need people, I need person. One person. One on one.”)
See many introverts are very external – they like to run their ideas and issues past someone else. This helps them tap into their own resources faster and deeper. Thinking out loud to another human being seems to create this around richness to the ideas.
So, short answer – yes.
And yet, introverts can fall into the belief that they need to avoid people. You can see the problem in that can’t you? Building on last week’s post about the twisted definitions that society foists on us about introverts, that is part of the reason.
Introverts may feel awkward, hate small talk, feel exhausted by social interactions, feel anxiety about what to say. They may even start to tell themselves that they hate people because of how taxing interactions are (at least when they are not deliberately managed).
What is immensely freeing and empowering is to expand on each of these statements. The temptation when we feel icky in any way is to avoid thinking about it right?
But let’s look at what happens when we unpack each one.
“I feel awkward with people.”
To unpack this statement we can ask – all people? all of the time? And discover perhaps that the real statement should read:
“I feel awkward in groups of strangers when it is unstructured until I find an individual that I click with.”
Notice that this is both more specific AND more true.
Yet when you say, I feel awkward with people, this over-generalization gets accepted by your unconscious mind. Your unconscious, automatic behaviour (which is designed to keep you safe and comfortable) starts helping you avoid people, building even more discomfort into the idea of socializing. this way you won’t forget and accidentally socialize.
Let’s try another:
“Networking exhausts me.”
Okay – does thinking about networking exhaust you or actual networking? Does this happen when you network with one or two people, or just in large groups? Do you have a mastermind group of 2 or 3 others that you meet with regularly – and does that exhaust you.
Unfamiliar groups, large groups, strangers, people that you have nothing in common with, events that are a waste of time… all will be more tiring.
And – keep in mind that when you know your limits – and don’t over-stay – you will start to form more enjoyable experiences. And, your unconscious mind will actually reduce the anxiety it thinks you need to feel in order to stay safe and comfortable. This creates a lovely upward spiral of things getting better and better.
“I hate small talk.”
Okay – so who says you have to DO small talk? Just because all of the extroverts do, that doesn’t mean it is actually a rule.
You could meet someone and, instead of asking, “hello, what do you do?” you could ask some cool deeper questions.
Why do you do what you do?
Who are you hoping to meet here tonight?
If you could be anywhere other than here, where would you be? Why?
What is the most exciting thing happening in your business right now?
Boundaries are the answer.
Get to know how you want to show up. What helps you perform at your best.
Decide to structure your networking (your life) that way.
Build on your strengths, focus on finding opportunities that let you show up and find small-groups. Learn to look for individuals or small groups at larger events that are open to you joining them. You don’t have to meet everyone at the event for goodness sake. Make one or two good connections. Decide in advance who you want to meet and why.
You are a deep thinker. Ask deep questions so that the conversation is interesting for you too.
If you are not sure what to say – because introverts process at a deeper level – ask a question back. People love to talk about themselves and share their ideas. As they talk allow yourself the luxury of truly listening. If you still have nothing to say, ask a “drill-down” question about something they said.
Notice too, that when you take breaks of 10 to 15 minutes in the middle of an event, you can come back rejuvenated.
In Business Support
Create a small weekly mastermind of 2 or 3 other entrepreneurs that inspire you.
Look at the rules you have been assuming exist and change them to match your needs.
If you want to meet someone, don’t wait for a networking event. Connect with them on LInkedIN. Share some ideas and resources with them. Ask them for a coffee date.
And deliberately recharge.
Find a ritual that lets you recharge fully and faster. I find it helpful to imagine that as I walk through a room, my attention is like a tendril of energy that gets connected to each individual. Recharging consists of taking time alone to visualize that I can gather in my energy. Bring it close and smooth and organize it so that it is strong, like a shield or bubble surrounding me.
If you are interested in trying this, download this MP3 – 15 minutes of recharging for introverts.
Please login to your free account to access instantly.