Firstly, let me say I hate the term life hack, but it’s what so many people use. I much prefer to think of how to overcome some of life’s introvert challenges, in 7 steps. Many introverts worry about spending time among others, believe they can’t do a range of activities and as a result put a ceiling on their personal growth. It doesn’t have to be like that.
Before diving into the 7 steps (or life hacks if you insist), let’s do some background.
What is introversion?
Maybe you feel challenged when confronted by strong outgoing (perhaps even egotistical) people, or social settings make you feel shy? Whilst many introverts may struggle with those two points, they don’t make you introverted:
Aside from going through a long personality test, here’s my two question definition
- Energy: Introverts tend to feel de-energised when spending time with others and “recharge” their batteries by spending quiet time. This people energy store may be more of an issues deplete for some than others. There’s a scientific explanation of his about chemical sensitivity, it’s real not imagined!
- Processing: Introverts tend to think to talk, where extrovert will talk to think. In other words some people talk a lot more, as part of their thinking, where introverts tend to think things through first (internal processing)
What’s good about being introverted
There are many things which (stereotypically) introverts are good at, that doesn’t mean you are – but these are strengths that many people overlook.
- Detail: Most introverts are better at detail, perhaps as they concentrate on the task not the talking. The downside of this is where they believe that the way know for doing a good job is for doing an excellent job and never talking about it
- Listening: Introverts tend to be very good listeners.
- Summarising: Because they listen well they summarise well. This makes you invaluable in meetings as you can keep things on track and help others to see the good in both sides of the arguments.
Read the introvert superpowers
- STOP – Stop worrying about it. You’re an introvert, not a weirdo. A third to a half of the population are the same and when people stop worrying about it (which only makes things worse), they start to feel better. Develop a better relationship with yourself and change some of that self-talk.
- S – Strengths, focus on your strengths. I listed some of the common strengths above, what are yours? In addition, find out more about introversion, it will help you realise you’re not odd and you are quietly powerful
- T – Time, give yourself the gift of time. Accept that meeting with (lots of) others will make you tired (virtually or face to face). Plan some recovery time for after the event, where possible, or take mini-breaks during the event.
- O- Orient, orient yourself and those close to you around what you need and what they need. In other words, talk about being introverted and get the discussion to what you need as individuals
- P- Position. For those times when you have to act in a group. That might be networking events, parties, work socials, large meetings, conferences etc. Get yourself a position where you’re helping others. Many introverts reports this really helps. Ask the organiser, she’s bound to accept help. Welcoming guests, making others feel at ease, doing a survey, keeping the room clear, the list’s endless. Most introverts find having a role like this allows them to much more easily get in, and out of, conversations. For those conversations that run easily, keep them going, but for the others you have an excuse to escape.
2 extra steps to overcome introvert challenges
- Role models. As 33-%-50% of the population are introverts, you should be able to find some people to look up to. The introvert list includes well known leaders like Richard Branson and Bill Gates, so don’t assume anything. You get to choose, how can you model yourself on your role model? What 1-2 things might you change (or choose NOT to change)?
- Find some extrovert friends: Who do you already know and get on with, that could be your “wing man”. Who is also going to the same conference, networking event or party? Somebody who does lots of the talking and you are comfortable around?