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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.

Feel Proud of a Small Happy Life

Feel Proud of a Small Happy LifeYou’re bright. You’re insightful and creative. You have natural leadership abilities. You could do anything, earn a spot at the top, and have plenty to show for it.

AND, just because you can, doesn’t mean you MUST. It’s perfectly acceptable to feel proud of a small happy life. YOU get to decide what that looks like – because bigger isn’t necessarily better.

When you’re a person who oozes of potential, it’s easy to feel pressured to “live large”, climb the corporate ladder, aim for the +6-figure income, “make something of yourself”, build your subscriber list into the thousands, and “be all that you can be”.

There’s a sense that you should step up (do, be, and achieve more) because that’s where you’ll find real success – the success that you “deserve” or are “meant for”.

I feel that pressure sometimes. And I acknowledge that I catch myself placing that pressure on my hubby and daughter too. There’s a fine line between seeing potential/having healthy expectations and creating soul-crushing stress. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to cross the line before you see it.

That’s what I thought about when I read the Quiet Revolution post, On What to Be, which describes an introverted woman’s coming to terms with the pressure of being “gifted” in relation to ambition.

“But there will always be a small piece of me that finds fault with my aversion to ambition—a little voice that tells me I am wasting what I have been given, that what I am is not enough.” ~Kelly Quirino

“What I AM is not enough” is a voice that many introverts hear. Add to that, “What I DO is not enough” and “What I WANT/ASPIRE TO is not enough”, and it’s no wonder overwhelm and doubt can take its toll when you don’t see yourself as a particularly ambitious person (in the common use of the word).

Small doesn’t mean unimportant. It’s not necessary to “go big or go home”.

You can have a small, manageable life and still make a difference.

What if we could learn to feel proud of ourselves at the end of the day in terms of our inherent worthiness rather than based on whether our ambitions and accomplishments measured up?

And what if that pride didn’t have anything to do with outer comparisons, measurements, titles, or material items that could be taken from us, and everything to do with how we showed up in the world that particular day?

Instead of measuring your worth on grades, job titles, being deemed “likeable”, doing what you think you “should”, or earning an “acceptable” income, you could reflect on questions more indicative of personal character and self-leadership that might include:

  • Did I treat myself and others with respect and kindness?
  • Did I take risks?
  • Did I try?
  • Did I grow/learn?
  • Did I keep a promise?
  • Was I resilient?
  • Did I allow the real me to show up?
  • Was I useful?
  • Did I share something of myself that had a positive impact on one person?
  • Did I forgive?
  • Did I apologize?
  • Did I love?
  • Was I grateful?
  • Did I do my best in the context of everything that was going on today?

Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True – this is not about perfection or becoming larger than life and having ambitions that impress. It’s about the intention, commitment, and choice to live in a way that is more genuinely YOU.

It’s a call to action and lifelong aspiration that requires more ambition than any other task – because it’s anything but easy to carve out your own best life as defined by you.

For some people, that may be about living large.

But there are many of us who get caught up in trying to accomplish more because we think that’s what we should want – when, if we’re being honest with ourselves, what we really want is a small, happy life that reflects our values and that we can feel proud of.

“In that moment I was able to relieve myself of the need to do something important, from which I would reap praise and be rewarded with fulfillment.” ~Elizabeth Young

I’m one of those people. To me, bigger and better and more magnificent isn’t the goal. I’m not inspired to gain thousands of clients or push myself to make a 6-figure income.

I’m not trying to change the world. Or follow a path that my university education or personality type might suggest.

I want a small, simple life that fuels me, has meaning & purpose, and allows me to feel satisfied and at peace.

At the end of the day, I want to feel proud of myself – of how I showed up – and be able to walk tall in that knowing. It’s wrapped up in – yet separate from – my desire to feel happy or successful.

What do you REALLY aspire to?

What would it look like if you were living big enough that you felt proud (like you are growing and living in accordance with your values with meaning and purpose) but not so big that you felt overwhelmed and drowning in stress all the time trying to measure up and step up?

Would that be your own version of a small, happy life?

What makes you feel proud as you reflect on your day?

These are core building blocks for your Wise Introvert life.

Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True – and choose a small happy life if that’s what’s most true to you now. You don’t have anything to prove.

Celebrating Introvert Power with the Quiet Revolution

Wise Introvert & the Quiet RevolutionWhen Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution team invited me to be one of their Quiet Ambassadors, I’m not gonna lie: my heart fluttered.

That’s because, not only is Susan Cain a respected trailblazer whose work has personally touched me (and countless others) when it comes to a broader awareness, understanding and acceptance of introversion (you’ve probably read her best-selling book, Quiet, and seen her powerful Ted talk by now), but also because it meant that my own commitment to taking daily steps to be more Brave, Seen and True, despite the fear and uncertainty, actually manifested in ways that I could never have imagined just over a year ago when I started Wise Introvert.

I was consciously choosing to be/do ME, in my own introverted way, and in the process, kindreds actually saw me. It felt validating.

To me, a sense of belonging is one of the most important aspects of Quiet Revolution, the new online community co-founded by Cain and created to connect and empower introverts around the world. And it’s one of the reasons why it’s time to rethink quiet.

Because as much as introverts need solitude, we don’t want to feel disconnected.

And while many of us have spent too much time and energy trying to fit in, pushing ourselves to do what we had to (or thought we should) in order to gain success or approval, fewer of us have found real belonging ~ where we can be ourselves and have our value acknowledged and embraced without having to justify or defend it.

This deep acceptance is both an inside and outside job. As introverts, we must learn to let go of the comparison that leads to judgement, shame, and the fear that we don’t measure up. We have to love ourselves and claim our own value as much as (perhaps more than) we need the outside world to value us.

It’s on both of these levels – inside & out – that I believe Quiet Revolution can inspire significant change in the world ~ one person, one organization, one design, one policy, one choice at a time.

My own search for belonging began long ago and continues today.

Now in my mid-forties, I have lived much of my life feeling like an underdog, outsider, or rebel (but what I have rarely felt was “normal”). At times it has bothered me; other times not.

As a kid, I remember feeling special and powerful. Full of confidence, I knew I was meant for great things and this made me a natural leader with high expectations of myself (and others). Independent and comfortable as a bit of a loner, I had a small group of friends and was considered popular, but never developed deeper lifelong connections.

School was most important to me, not because of the social aspects (I didn’t even go to my high school grad), but because I loved learning and succeeding in an academic environment.

At university, I felt at home in the lecture hall or seminar room – thinking and learning and being inspired by my professors. I also loved becoming totally consumed in research and writing.

People had little to do with my measurement of success. It was my perceptions, analytical thinking, insights and written communication – the real inner me – my way of “seeing” and expressing which could never be duplicated – that was most valued.

Out in the “real world”, I didn’t feel the same level of control or confidence. That’s because the rules had changed and succeeding had become more focused on social interaction and approval.

It wasn’t the inner me that was as important anymore, it was about how well I could conform, get along, persuade, and impress. More than delivering quality results with humility, much of the time success was measured by social performance.

Over the years, I’ve felt torn by the feeling of being an outsider, wondering how much I really wanted “in” – and when I was inside, feeling like I was performing in order to stay there. I learned how to play the game to my benefit. I just wasn’t always sure that I wanted to, knowing it would come at a cost.

Looking back, it is evident that I have lived much of my life in fight or flight mode. That has led to significant energy management challenges which seemed to become more apparent as I aged. So too was my unwillingness to invest so much energy into trying to fit in.

Attempting to be something that you’re not is exhausting.

And that’s what eventually led me to starting Wise Introvert.

I was ready to invest in my own definition of success again, based on who I am and what works best for me, and step away from “the performance”.

It reflects my personal commitment to Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True. In doing so, I aspire to help other introverted women to do the same – creating change from the inside-out.

What if…

we could find our own right way by honouring who we are and trusting our intuition to guide us toward living more true (whatever that looks like for each of us)

AND

by doing our part to be authentically seen, we would be WELCOMED in ‘as-is’ by the open-hearted (introverts & extroverts alike) who truly recognize our value.

Then, we could all prosper together. Imagine how that would feel! Imagine what we could accomplish!

That would require us, introverts and extroverts alike, to rethink quiet.

Too many negative stereotypes and misconceptions about introversion persist. It’s time to question, learn, connect, and move beyond so that we can co-create a world where everyone belongs, no matter what makes us different.

Introverts are not defective or of less value.
We’re wise, powerful, and worthy!  

“Unlocking the power of introverts for the benefit of us all” is an intention that I whole-heartedly believe in. I hope you will take this opportunity to celebrate the launch of Quiet Revolution, embrace your quiet strengths, find your tribe, and add your voice.

To start, here are three posts that really resonated with me:

Also check out the Quiet Revolutionaries section (stories by readers who embody the spirit of Quiet Revolution: “strong yet gentle, firm but kind, they are as indomitable as they are unassuming”) – why not submit your own story?

And add an image to the Quiet Revolution’s visual project on Tumblr, answering, “Why does the world need to rethink quiet?”

Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True. Be YOU ~ and become a part of the Quiet Revolution! Help create a world where introverts are celebrated for their valuable contributions and, more importantly, for who they are!

Don’t Let Should Overpower Satisfaction

Don't Let Should Overpower Satisfaction

Finding satisfaction requires that you stop doing what you think you should and start asking, what do I want to do?

Sitting on my private balcony in a cute rental in Isla Mujeres, Mexico with the freedom to do what I wanted to do (after all, I was travelling solo), I was surprised how many thoughts of should came into my head.

I should go to the beach.

I should snorkel.

I should explore the island.

I should take photos and get inspiration and content for the biz.

Let’s face it, none of these were bad options. They were pretty privileged choices in fact. Still, they were shoulds nonetheless. So I made a point to consciously catch myself and:

1. Re-frame: I could…go to the beach etc.

2. Get true: Do I want to right now?

Usually in that process I would allow myself to step back, relax, and let the question sit for a bit before deciding.

If the answer was YES, I want to, then I would get ready and do it.

If the answer was NO, and it usually was, I honoured that and then asked,

3. What do I want to do right now?

Don't Let Should Overpower SatisfactionIn the first few days, what I really wanted to do was keep sitting on my balcony watching, listening, reading, writing, reflecting. There were times when I decided I felt like a nap. Other times I wanted to get a quick burst of sun on the rooftop.

The truth was, as happy and excited as I was to be on the Island for the first time, I was more tired than I realized.

When I listened to my own inner voice, rather than the voice of ‘should‘, I felt satisfied. After a day or two of that, I felt content.

And then I experienced a deep surge of gratitude for my husband (who was home holding down the fort while I was gone), my freedom, my health, this beautiful place, the people who had been so kind and welcoming, and all the abundance that held me safe and in light through this experience.

That voice of should is so strong and ever-present.

For one day, make a conscious choice to be aware of it and notice what it says.

How often is it your true voice?

Say NO to shoulds and get to know yourself again. Make room for satisfaction.

I wish I could…


I wish I could...How long are you going to bury your wishes in exchange for a more ‘responsible’ or ‘practical’ life? NOW is the best time to BE TRUE. Create some quiet space to really reflect on what your unfiltered response to this statement would be.

Fill in the blank: “I wish I could…”

Allow your secret wishes to be declared. They are a starting point. If you allow the doubts and fears and limitations to fall away, your truth will surface.

Then what? When you have a big idea or a long term dream in mind, and can actually imagine living it, you are better able to make decisions, set goals, and take action in the present. Each choice you make will either move you one step closer or one step further away from what you wish for.

Each step is a face-the-fear & have-faith-in-yourself moment, powered by your desire and commitment to turn your wish into reality.

I wish I could live a low-key, barefoot lifestyle in a warm and sunny place by the sea where I go beach combing for treasures every day. Nothing fancy. Time and energy to notice and enjoy life, love, naps, reading, soul-searching, puttering, beauty. I have a portable office that consists mostly of my laptop. My work is both inspired and inspirational. My lifestyle is active and healthy. I share time and space with people who truly see me. I feel a sense of lightness and belonging in my life. I feel free. I travel. I explore. I enjoy simple pleasures. I have enough money that I don’t have to worry or count pennies just to afford my basic needs plus some indulgences that add to my quality of life.

You get the idea. Allow yourself to really feel it. Then do something about it.

That’s how I decided to quit driving to an office to work for someone else in a job that drained and constricted me, and instead, started my own location-independent business.

That’s why we make do with one family car.

It’s why I don’t spend money unnecessarily on clothes, or furniture, or a bigger house, or the newest technology, or any other item that doesn’t really matter to me.

That’s why, even when days are tough and I feel inadequate and want to give up on the self-employment path that requires such vulnerability and courage at times, I don’t apply for a job that would provide me with a regular pay cheque but also tie me down.

The process has been taking place gradually over the years. No, I’m not living that exact wish yet. Not fully anyways. Although much of it does already exist in the present if I stop to notice.

And perhaps that’s the real power. If you look at the essence of what it is you desire, it is available to you in the present.

It doesn’t matter how outrageous or seemingly impossible your wish is. At the core, if you answered from that all knowing inner voice (versus the ego who is concerned about keeping up appearances), there is a deep truth in what you desire.

So dig deeper if you have to – and figure out how to be more TRUE.

In my example, it’s really about experiencing a slower-paced & lower-pressure life, noticing beauty, feeling love & belonging, having empty gaps of time to enjoy simple pleasures, meaning & purpose, freedom & independence, etc. All doable – today.

I’m in the process of creating my preferred lifestyle. And you have your own version to create.

So tell me, what do you wish?

Believe that your answers are TRUE and possible & that you are worthy and capable of creating such an ideal life.

Risk not fitting in (aka conforming to an ideal other than your own). Focus on creating the feeling of belonging in your own life. Trust yourself. Ask for help.

Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True.