Introversion Is Not a Condition. Get Over It!

By Thursday, October 3, 2013 5 Permalink 0

I read a comment on yesterday’s post about the power of referrals that pissed me off. If you read it, you’ll notice I also gave a bit of networking advice, which this person responded to with:

“This is probably another reason my job search isn’t going well. I’m an introvert and would be uncomfortable doing this.”

To the casual viewer, this seems harmless. Not worthy of anger. But as an introvert, I hate when I see this type of comment because I know how destructive it can be. One, it’s an excuse. Two, it’s letting fear of discomfort affect your potential for success. Three, this attitude stops you from being free (and great).

Let’s get this straight; Introversion is not a condition, illness, or disease. Introversion is not a disability unless you make it one. Do you know what it is though? It’s about where you draw your energy from. Being introverted doesn’t condemn you to a life of meekness and missed opportunities. It will, however, require more of you for big social gatherings and other situations involving a lot of people. You won’t wanna yell to be heard or bounce around speaking to every person in the room. You will think about what it feels like to get home and plop down on the couch while you’re out and about. The thought of public speaking will (occasionally) create nausea. People will make assumptions about you and often times put you in an unsavory box. Yes, these things will happen. But introversion doesn’t have to be your crutch. It doesn’t have to be your disability nor the reason you’re not progressing. Yeah, some stuff will be uncomfortable but:

If you’re not willing to be uncomfortable, you’re not willing to succeed.

If you’re someone that makes comments like:

  • I can’t do that. I’m an introvert.
  • The event sounds awesome, but you know me, the introvert.
  • I wish I could, but I’m not great around people.
  • That’s too uncomfortable. Wouldn’t work for me.

Cut that shit out. Now. Today. Get out there and be uncomfortable. But more importantly, get out there and be free. Don’t let excuses and discomfort stop you from being great. Don’t get trapped in yourself. Go to a relevant networking event or conference where you know there are people with similar interests, and push yourself to stay away from the wall. (Bring your extroverted friend with you need be necessary.) Hell, create your own event and ask friends to each invite a couple positive people. Control the numbers. Start a Meetup group. Make use of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to warm up relationships.  Email people! Consider opportunities for public speaking (my work in progress)!

There are so many things you can do to break out of your comfort zone. And once you start doing them, you’ll be surprised at the results: new contacts, friends, and opportunities. But the best part to me is no longer feeling like a slave to something you think no one else gets.

It’s time to take control. It’s time to be free. Not a slave to a mentality. Get out there and get uncomfortable!

Rich

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  • Sandra

    You have just reminded me of a discussion that I had with my mom. She was telling me that I am not very open and I told her that I was an introvert.
    My mom was like : What does this mean?

    I started to explain it to her and she cut me off saying : Nobody cares about it !!

    And, truth be told, no one is really an introvert, we all fall in the middle of the introversion/extroversion spectrum.

  • Well said! As an introvert myself, I know all too well the desire to rest on “eh, that’s not my thing so I won’t do it.” But I do think there’s been a very recent increase (maybe caused by the popularity of Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”?) in people citing introversion almost defensively, and I’m not sure that will lead us anywhere good.

    Also: 1,000 times yes to your point that introversion and extroversion aren’t about whether you’re shy or not. They’re about how you draw energy and how you recharge. Someone could be a very social introvert, or a shy extrovert.

  • Dawn Marie Snodgrass

    Hi Rich,

    I read a quote most recently (Can’t remember the author), but the person wrote “You can choose comfort or you can choose courage”, which resonated with me because I always get that twinge of discomfort/nervousness/social anxiety when I have to attend a networking event. It is not even that I HAVE to attend, it is that I have come to learn that I need to because as you state in your post, I have seen the payoffs of establishing new contacts, friends and opportunities.

    Alot of people react with suprise when I tell them that I am an introvert, because in my line of work I am constantly meeting people, networking, ect. –Have to do it tonight for a career fair, and already getting the jitters. It is something I force myself to do because I know it pays off and you are correct when you say that it is just something you have to “GET OVER”. I keep hoping one day that I won’t feel that slight sense of dread when I have to go to a networking event, but I know that fear will no longer hold me back. I feel very free to have moved past this fear, because truth be told, with the exception of some conversations that felt a bit awkward initially, I have definitely had some great experiences and met some great people forcing myself to get out there. Introversion is NOT an excuse. Thanks for another great post…I hope all the fellow introverts out there take heed.

  • Tired

    I was the OP yesterday. So glad I could provide fodder for your blog.

    • Rich

      Thanks for commenting and glad this was well-received! I realized a lot of people probably have the same perspective you voiced and it seemed like a great opportunity to address it for those dealing with the same thing. 🙂