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There’s Wisdom in Patience & Working SLOW

There's Wisdom in Patience & Working SlowI guess I stirred up some concern when I wrote in my last blog post,

“…quitting isn’t about giving up on ourselves. It’s about trusting ourselves enough to invest in something more – by changing paths to choose authenticity.”

To clarify, it’s not Wise Introvert that I will be quitting.

But I have started a process of quitting some of the WHAT and HOW of my days (increasingly guided by the question, WHY?, and placing priority on my energy). 

Most noticeably, I have quit posting to my blog and social media when I find myself doing it simply because I put it on my schedule, thereby creating a sense of obligation when it’s not necessary.

Instead, I’m posting when I feel that I have something to actually say (or when I’m struck by inspiration or wonder).

It feels more authentic to me and is therefore my way of consciously avoiding more NOISE.

And guess what? When I do post, more people are listening. And, they’re still liking my Facebook page, following me on Twitter, and signing up to invite me into their inbox. Not in droves, mind you, which is perfectly fine with me.

What I’ve learned is that being in constant output mode doesn’t work for me.

That’s because, throughout my creative process, I need to respect my introvert energy needs. It turns out that includes seasonal fluctuations.

Especially as the days are shorter and darker, I find myself more inclined to hibernate and contemplate. Gather ideas. Ponder. Question. Reflect. Let my mind wander.

It’s a time to snuggle in by the fire with a view out to nature, surrounded by books, and with my favourite pen and notebook by my side.

It’s a time when I am more naturally inclined to temporarily quit the external part of my work in order to create space for the internal part. Put more simply, it’s a time when I feel an urge to disconnect from my online life.

As I write this, my current internal work is to decide, “What’s my next project?” (so that I can start mapping out the specific details). I need time and space to listen to my inner voice with patience so that its wisdom can surface and I can hear my authentic answer.

That waiting is a challenge in itself.

There’s a pressure to be ahead, know quickly, decide, and to take action. There’s a sense of already feeling behind in the planning when you look at “others”. Gasp, you don’t have your business strategy and planner filled in yet???

So what’s an introvert to do?

Commit to space for quiet listening. Take the pressure off. Trust your intuition.

Turn down the noise so that you can hear your own voice.

Trust your natural rhythm.

Find your own wisdom in patience.

Appreciate the value of SLOW!

P.S. On my reading list: In Praise of Slow & The Slow Fix, both by Carl Honoré

If you are humble…

If you are humbleThe newsletter was written and released. I had made a consciously personal investment in the content with the intention of sharing value with my readers. In truth, I felt great about it when I hit that publish button.

Then, the emails started arriving. One after another. Unsubscribes. And my heart sank.

Have you ever felt this way?

Maybe it was the exact situation. Maybe it was in some other way that you risked vulnerability to share yourself in a more visible way.

Whatever the situation, it felt like rejection and it hurt.

Compare that to the opposite scenario.

You invite people to subscribe to your newsletter. The emails start arriving. One after another, they are new subscribers. (Or you get: a job offer, a new project, asked to volunteer, a compliment, a special hug from a special someone, etc.)

The feeling is so different. We celebrate with excitement (and perhaps relief). Somebody likes what we’re doing and wants more – and this gesture is our proof that we are of value. More please, we say.

In both situations and with two different results, YOU, and your value, were exactly the same. To embrace that insight with humble confidence can be freeing.

Reflecting on what leads us to feel proud, confident, and worthy – if we could believe that we are good enough as we are – would such gestures as described above, whether we perceive them as being positive or negative, hold such emotional weight and significance for us?

And if, as in the Mother Teresa quote, we knew who we were outside of these ways that we tend to measure ourselves, how would we interact differently in the world?

  • Could our value remain in-tact despite whether our kid excels or struggles at school?
  • Could we feel equally confident and grateful for the unsubscribe as the new subscribe?
  • Could we experience abundance and not feel the need to be flashy?
  • Could we be confident in our offerings AND not feel the need to tell (or convince) potential clients that our product/service is the best, that they deserve it despite the cost, and that it will resolve their problems more than any other – aka it will be the magic solution, the last product they’ll need?
  • Could we present ourselves with pride and humility, creating meaning and impact, while living a small happy life without having to push?
  • Could we feel more confident to try that thing we’ve been curious about for so long?

That new subscriber (or whatever the equivalent is to you), while she may perhaps have something to do with your income one day, has nothing to do with your value.  Don’t measure yourself this way…To measure yourself in this way is to do yourself a significant disservice.

Go deeper.

“Suppose I were to lose my expertise, be unable to pursue my best skill – What would I do? Who would I be?”
~ Lewis Richmond, A Whole Life’s Work

Wise Ones – sit with this. Then show up in your own right way.

Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True. Be YOU.

Introvert Wish: Stop Comparing Myself

Introvert Wish: Stop Comparing MyselfI wish I could stop comparing myself to extroverts and embrace ME. That’s what a Wise Introvert newsletter subscriber wrote to me. It’s a wish that speaks to the heart of my work with clients because it involves being Brave, Seen, and True.

Comparison can feed the underlying belief that, “I’m not good enough as I am”. It touches on a tender spot that many of us share. And it can surface in the most unexpected ways.

Take this past weekend for example. I was in “soccer mom” mode, cheering for my daughter’s team in a four-day provincial tournament. After one of the games, she said to me very matter-of-factly, “Those are REAL soccer moms.”

Want to know what the “REAL soccer moms” were doing? The absolute opposite of me! They were VERY loud, constantly talking or yelling, blowing a loud horn, jumping around, and actively interacting with others on the sidelines. Hard not to notice.

Yes, I felt a sting from my daughter’s casual statement. It wasn’t her intention to suggest that I don’t measure up, but that’s what I heard. I felt smaller.

I don’t know for sure if those moms were extroverts (introvert soccer moms can be vocal too), but that’s the judgment I made. They were not like me. They were better. More fun. 


So it’s important to catch yourself in the act and shift the momentum by actually saying (out loud or in your head): Stop comparing myself.

And then add a bit of water. Be kind and embrace the real YOU.

The fact is that I felt as proud and invested as I believe those other soccer moms were. I simply expressed it differently. And that’s perfectly fine. There’s room for all of us.

Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True.

Introvert Wish: Sell Myself

Introvert Wish: Sell MyselfI wish I could sell myself. That’s what one of my new Wise Introvert email list subscribers wrote to me recently. I am so grateful for her comment, because I know that many of you feel the same underlying frustration.

It touched a soft spot in me too. Let’s face it, for most of us, self-promotion is an ongoing area for growth and confidence building.

Whether you’re building a successful career or a sustainable business, the requirement that, “I have to sell myself”, can feel like an overwhelming but necessary “evil” at times.

What does “sell myself” really mean? And can we think about it differently so it makes it easier for us to do?

Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

What if…we don’t sell ourselves. What if, instead, we offer solutions – based on our own particular combination of skills, abilities, and personal qualities – that are perceived as valuable by another person who wishes to benefit from what we have to offer. In that case, an exchange is made between two equals based on mutual benefit.

What if…your job is to simply show up and BE SEEN by those particular people in ways that feel most natural for you so that you can be at your best.

What if…the more TRUE you are, the more clear you will be about the value you have to offer (and therefore be able to communicate that more easily).

What if…the most successful selling came from what introverts already do most naturally. Listening, researching, observing, noticing, asking questions, analyzing – understanding what the need is so you can speak directly to how you can help with that.

On a personal level, I recall many a time when I would apply for a job in a way that was not coming from a place of authenticity and strength. I would try to present myself in a way that I thought would prove that I fit in (figuring out how to “play the game” so I could be chosen), versus making choices that would lead me to where I would be valued – and valuable – just as I am.

Now, in my business, I face decisions daily related to the marketing and selling of my services. Now, I am consciously practicing the Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True that I am nudging other introverted women – like YOU – to choose (and I know that it’s not easy).

In doing so, I’m figuring out my own best way to do what I want to do, honouring myself in the process. So can you.

That said, fear will still charge in. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being rejected. Fear that you won’t be perfect. Fear that you’ll get in over your head. Fear that you’ll sound/look foolish, unprofessional, or pushy.

Here’s the thing about fear. You can learn how to shift the balance and weaken its hold on you so that you can take action instead of staying stuck.

In the end, it is true that, if you want to earn an income (whether by getting hired for the job you want or by running a profitable business), you must find a way to communicate your value.

That value is about how you help others achieve their goals (not how you’re the most perfect person amongst your competition).

I would suggest that, if you are in a situation where you feel like you’re “selling yourself”, that icky feeling that I suspect we’ve all experienced, take a step back and ask whether what you’re doing is the right fit for you OR whether you’re trying really hard to do it the way someone else said is right (aka you’re changing yourself to try to fit in, be chosen, get paid etc.).

The more authentic the fit and conversation between what you offer and what your “purchasers” are looking for, the less the exchange will feel like a slimy sales job. It doesn’t have to feel icky. Figure out and then express how you can help them achieve what they want.

Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True…Be YOU.

A final thought: I know that putting yourself out there to be “chosen” feels very personal. How can it not be when you put your heart into your work? But, at the end of the day, you are not a more valuable or worthy person if you get that big job you want, or sell your top dollar service. You just made more money.

So on the flip side, not being chosen (or when nobody purchased what you were selling) is not a personal rejection. It just means you have more figuring out to do. So keep at it and find the resources you need to stay in motion! Somebody needs what you have to offer.


Introvert Wish: Lose Fears, Be More Confident, Have More Energy

Introvert Wish: Lose Fears, Be More Confident, Have More EnergyI wish I could lose my fears and be more confident and energetic. That’s what a new subscriber to the Wise Introvert newsletter recently told me. Her words spoke to me. Because that’s what Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True can truly mean in practical terms.

And isn’t that the foundation of what most of us introverts want? To be free to be ourselves, to feel a sense of control and confidence in our life and work, and to have enough energy so that we can get on with creating the impact we want to create in the world – our way.

I know I do.

Here are some of my thoughts on our fellow Wise Introvert’s comment.

First, I am not so certain that we ever really “get there” – to that place where we can finally declare that we’re done expanding – that time when we no longer have fears, we’re always confident, and always have plenty of energy to spare.

What I do believe is that these factors exist on a continuum, where at each end there is an absolute: it exists fully or not at all. For most of us, life, including our interaction with fear, confidence and energy, takes place mostly in the middle. The gray zone. That fluid place that is always changing from situation to situation.

And so it’s possible to move along the continuum in order to experience these things closer to the absolute yes side. Change the ratio. Tip the scales. With awareness, commitment, and practice, you can feel more confident, energetic and willing to take bold steps while still feeling fear.

Lose my fears: Be Brave

Every single one of us experiences fear. In my experience, it’s not so much about losing or overcoming fears, it’s about what we are prepared to do while we stand next to them.

That said, you don’t have to let fear stop you in your tracks. Finding a strategy that works for you can make a significant difference.

Here’s an example. When I travelled solo in Mexico recently, it’s not that I was fearless. Not at all. In fact, multiple fears surfaced both before and during my trip. So it was a matter of tipping the scales so that I could create a situation where I wasn’t paralyzed by the fear.

A technique that works for me is to imagine an old scale, like a scale of justice, where two trays individually connected to a bar above move up and down according to the weight that is placed in each.

Imagine one tray filled with fears. And the other empty. That would create quite a large gap between trays, making it extremely difficult to imagine how you could step from one to the other. That’s what I envision when people refer to “taking the leap”.

I PREFER NOT TO LEAP. When possible, I prefer steps just beyond the comfort zone, which means that my ability to move through the gray zone and shift the balance requires that I ADD SOME WEIGHT to the other tray on the scale in order to create a SMALLER GAP.

What kinds of things can you add to your tray?

In Mexico, instead of the possible scenarios of what could go wrong in a particular situation, I chose to search for facts (what I knew for sure – about the situation, what I had seen others doing in the context of the situation, research statistics, and my own skills & abilities). When I looked at those facts, I realized that my fears were not worthy of determining my action (sometimes, especially when safety is at issue, those fears will be worth heeding). Sure, anything can happen. But is it likely?

Other ideas for what you can add to the tray to narrow the gap: Your vision/desire/passion/Why for doing what you want to do, backup plan, savings/investments/financial plan, timeline, supporters, and whatever else you would need to have in place to add motivation or increase your feelings of safety.

It’s important to start where you are – but the key is to START.

Be more confident: Be Seen

There’s a fear-confidence connection that I have experienced in my own life (and seen in my clients). The more action I take, the more confident I become. That’s because I prove to myself that I am capable.

Sometimes I’m capable of accomplishing what I wanted. Sometimes I’m capable of handling the situation (or at least acknowledging what I’ve learned from it) when it doesn’t go quite the way I had hoped or planned. Either way, confidence is also about trusting yourself.

Going back to my Mexico travel fears, I was able to talk myself through all the reasons (based on examples) of how I have proven that I can trust myself, no matter what happens. I know how to troubleshoot. I know how to seek help. I anticipate problems in advance, do my research, make notes and prepare in advance as much as possible “just in case”. That helps to ease some fears.

To trust yourself and to practice confidence building is how you will have more courage to allow your true self to be seen.

Be more energetic: Be True

No matter what we do, we need to have the energy to do it. Otherwise, like I have done, you’ll burn out. So to be more energetic, you must also be true to yourself.

Personal energy management (building and maintaining our energy stores) is such a critical issue for introverts. And because none of us are the same, understanding what drains and restores your energy is a very personal matter.

You will be rewarded as you become more aware of – and willing to trust and honour – the truth about what energizes and drains you. Because when you know what works and doesn’t work for YOU, you have the power to make changes that will positively impact your energy.

To do this, you will likely need to tap into the Be Brave and Be Seen skills that you’ve been strengthening through practice. Let’s face it, change is not always easy, and in making choices that impact our energy, other people may also be impacted.

Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True.

None of us are born on one end of the all or nothing spectrum. Life is lived finding our way through the gray zones in between. And when it comes to taking action in the face of fear, becoming more confident, and increasing our energy, it’s no different.

Know that with awareness, commitment, and practice, you have what it takes to shift the scales to create a life that feels more true to you.

Don’t let these frustrations get in your way of living the life you desire. Reach out for support if you need it.