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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

Introvert Wish: Loving Myself First and Always

Introvert Wish: Loving Myself First and AlwaysIt is such a gift when a new Wise Introvert email subscriber takes the risk to fill in the box in the opt-in form that says, “I wish I could…[blank]”.

I don’t take it lightly, and I left the box optional in the form so that women truly had a choice as to whether to share that wish with a stranger [me].

I believe that, when you voice your desires, wishes, and intentions, there is a shift in energy and awareness that holds great power.

This week, I’d like to share the following introvert wish:

“I wish I could…be seen and be true to loving myself first and always.”

My first response when I read this statement was a heart-felt and totally aligned feeling of, yes, me too! In truth, I was inspired by the woman who would make such a bold statement.

Then my mind started whirling and hesitation started to creep in. Which makes me wonder, what gets in our way of making the daily choices that would turn such a beautiful and powerful wish into reality?

Here are some of my thoughts:

Guilt:

“First and always”. That’s the part that draws out the guilt (for me anyways). Sure, we can practice loving ourselves, but at some level, aren’t we still taught that other people or commitments should actually come first most of the time?

I know that, especially as a mom, then as a solopreneur, spouse, daughter, sister, friend (think of all the roles we play) – it is a challenge in daily life to consider loving myself first and always. That would be selfish. Irresponsible. Careless. so the little habitual voice of reaction says…

The first example that comes to mind is what choice I make when I’m starting to feel tired, despite having planned for my energy needs, and I know that I need some solo time to regain my energy (and my patience, calm, clear mind etc.).

Many women still feel guilty in that situation if we don’t put others first…even when we know it’s the start of a downward spiral.

In those moments (I believe “should” is a big warning sign to dig deeper), we need to create some kind of touch point as a way to remind ourselves that guilt is not necessary, useful, or welcome.

Instead, we can look at the situation in terms of what is actually necessary, and then, decide whether it’s necessary that it gets done by us, at that specific time.

We don’t have to be everything to everyone else at the expense of ourselves. Give yourself permission to not be needed. To not be perfect. Give yourself permission to show up and take a stand for YOU (as intently as you would for someone else).

Ultimately, you decide: Do I matter enough?

Commitments:

We’re busy (and we keep being told that it’s a good thing). Calendars fill up quickly with a range of commitments. If we wait too long to see where we can fit ourselves in, it won’t happen.

So if loving yourself first is a priority, time (and other resources) must reflect that. Part of this is understanding how much time and space for solitude you require in order to have enough energy to be your best. Then it’s a matter of proactively scheduling that time in where it makes sense to YOU (not as an afterthought).

If you’re an entrepreneur, that could mean adequate gaps in between clients. If you’re a stay at home mom, that could mean actually taking time for yourself (not the dishes – unless that genuinely reflects loving yourself) when the kids nap.

What do you want and need? Commit to ensuring that the time, budget, and support is in place so you can intentionally practice self-love.

Self Doubt:

Always is a strong absolute. That takes some serious commitment and sense of self-worth. It calls on solid personal boundaries, high expectations, strong character, genuine self-acceptance, and, ultimately, courage.

It might be easy then for comparison and self-doubt to creep in. At some point, maybe many times, you may have been told (or otherwise led to believe) that you’re not worth it. That you’re not good enough. That you’re defective in some way. That you don’t measure up.

Call BS. Trust your wisdom. Embrace your value and power.


Accept that “loving myself” takes practice – by making conscious choices to challenge your thinking and take action on a daily basis. Believe that, while it may not always be easy, it’s worth it!

Because, as Brené Brown shares from her research on shame, self-love is “a prerequisite to loving others” and “we cannot give our children what we don’t have“.

All the more reason that Loving Myself First and Always is such a powerful wish. PERHAPS NOT TO IS SELFISH. Wouldn’t that be a shift in thinking!


If you haven’t read Brown’s books (especially The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly), I highly recommend you do! While you read, keep your journal by your side to record all the great quotes and AHA moments!

We’re all different, so I’m curious. What does it mean to YOU to love yourself [first and always]? What would that look like in your own life? And what’s getting in your way?

 

Knowledge, Procrastination and Energy Drain

Knowledge, Procrastination and Energy Drain“Knowledge is a distraction”, according to Serena Star-Leonard in her book, How to Succeed in 12 Months (ok, I confess I was lured by the title).

I don’t have to look hard for examples in my own life, since my natural introversion is very much at home with learning and thinking – all in my search for the comfort of knowing more.

I value knowledge, wisdom, competence. And there’s always more to learn!

Here’s the thing.

Not only can knowledge be a distraction for me in many ways, the procrastination that sometimes accompanies knowledge-seeking is a serious energy drainer.

It’s all the ideas and unmade decisions that I keep carrying around in my mind, or the actions that I intend to take – someday. Knowing how precious our personal energy is, of course continuing to choose procrastination makes no sense.

In a previous issue of the Wise Introvert newsletter, Tanja Gardner, our guest contributor, shared her practical tips to help introverts manage their own personal energy.

For now, stick with me as we explore knowledge, procrastination, and energy.

I’ll be honest, it’s taken me all day to write this post. I’ve scrapped ideas. Switched topics. All the while, I’ve been weighed down by the pressure of a looming deadline, narrowing the flow that I so often enjoy when I write.

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching and/or listening to a live broadcast of a CreativeLive class…believing that it’s important to learn what’s being taught today (creating digital products). I mean, what if I miss the one key piece of information that will be my big AHA moment! That one bit of knowledge that will catapult me into an overnight success!

Yes, that’s distraction. And no, I didn’t hear the magic secret I’ll use for success.

This inclination to seek more knowledge can be a dangerous crutch.

It’s the choice to stay in a holding pattern, waiting for the time when you know enough to actually take the step toward what you want.

In life and work, it’s crippling. Not only can it drain energy, but it can drain confidence. If you don’t actually DO something, how can you gain momentum?

At some point, you have to accept that you know enough. You don’t have to know everything to be able to offer value for people or to advance in your career. In most cases, expert status is not required.

And, knowledge doesn’t mean that you have full control over the end result anyways. So it’s not a road to perfection (or a guarantee of success, if that’s what you are seeking).

Procrastination is an energy drain (for me) and knowledge-seeking is one of my favourite distractions. How about you? 

What are your “methods for distraction and procrastination”?

And how have they been impacting your energy?

Once you’re aware, you have the power to make changes.

Shame: A Key to Introvert Energy Drain?

I’ve felt it creeping up on me for a few weeks now. It’s the pressure I feel as the official start of the holiday season begins.

Shoulds start taking their toll on me, sapping my energy each day I consider being something I’m not in order to play along with tradition.

What I’ve recently realized is that my shoulds are intertwined with introversion and shame. Ouch.

This weekend will be Thanksgiving in Canada. While I am beyond grateful for my life in all its abundance, my desired expression of that gratitude has nothing to do with the holiday obligations that have been a part of my life (perhaps of our culture).

It’s partially the introvert in me. Attending large group gatherings overwhelms and drains me (even when it’s family). And on the other hand, hosting (even small groups) in my own home feels like a breach of my ‘personal safety zone’ (an invasion of sorts).

I’m sure it has nothing to do with introversion, but I dread meal planning, preparing the house, cooking, getting “dressed”, entertaining, overnights – it feels like I’m getting ready for a performance that holds no meaning for me. So Thanksgiving, which starts the long holiday season that unfolds over the next couple months, feels like the time I need to start putting on my armour. That requires a lot of energy.

Where does the shame come in?

In not feeling good enough, capable enough, sociable enough. I find myself questioning, “What the hell is wrong with me?” and “Why can’t I just be normal?” and “Get over it, it’s no big deal”.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown describes:

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

Brown goes on to describe the common responses to shame: fight, flight and/or please. Regardless of which response we choose at a given moment, the end result is disconnection. As an introvert, this was a big ‘aha’ moment.

Well, as I’ve been trying to decide what to do for Thanksgiving, all three responses have run through my imagination:

  • Rebellion (fight);
  • Escape to a private beach-front bed and breakfast for the weekend (flight); or
  • Put on the mask of the “hostess with the mostest” (to please).

Of course, in my mind, I know that none of those choices is ideal (although that B&B does sound wonderful!).

I think back to my mom (also an introvert). She always felt that holidays were important times for families to celebrate together. She would go above and beyond with the baking, cooking, cleaning, decorating – to the point of exhausting herself – to try to make each gathering special. To make us feel special.

It was about connection and memory making. But I think it was about something deeper for her too.

She never got the appreciation (or help) she deserved. I remember how great it was to ‘take in’ all that she created. But since I don’t ever remember contributing, I didn’t realize how hard it was to actually accomplish it. Until it was my turn.

I don’t know how she did it. I do know that I can’t keep up. And I find that, as each year passes, I feel less willing to try to keep the traditions alive. Then I feel guilty (i.e. I am considering doing something bad by saying ‘no more’), and the shame response kicks into full motion (i.e. I am bad).

In truth, I’m happy to take a walk with my little family (a trio), enjoy nature and a few authentic moments with each other, and call it day. Add a good cup of coffee and some pumpkin pie and I’m a very happy gal. Fire on the beach – I’m over the moon. That’s my version of celebrating Thanksgiving.

Indecision and grappling with feelings of “not enough-ness” drains my energy.

So how will I find peace amongst holidays, introversion and shame?

As I keep reading Daring Greatly (which I highly recommend by the way), it becomes clear that empathy and vulnerability are better responses than I’ve been considering. So I suppose that’s why I’m writing…

Can you relate? Know that you’re not alone. We’re all doing our best to work through the confusion and to be more true. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

Happy Thanksgiving! I AM GRATEFUL…