I’ve only recently begun to learn how so many difficulties I’ve experienced throughout my life—in school, church, jobs, business, even relationships—are rooted in my introversion (which is not to be confused with shy, I’m definitely not shy).
For those who may by wondering, some of the traits of introversion include:
- Introverts are typically perceived as more reserved or reflective
- Introvert’s energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction
- Introverts often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, using computers, hiking and fishing. The archetypal artist, writer, sculptor, scientist, engineer, composer and inventor are all highly introverted
- An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though they may enjoy interactions with close friends
- Trust is usually an issue of significance: a virtue of utmost importance to introverts
- Introverts prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate
- Introverts are more analytical before speaking
- Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement
During my recent researching of introversion and having all these “ah ha!” moments as to why I’ve struggled my entire life in environments and situations that others don’t seem to have any problem with, I only last week learned that self-promotion is a HUGE problem for introverts.
And not just self-promotion as in the business/marketing sense (i.e., “please buy my book“), but also in presenting yourself to your employers, informing them of the work you do, making sure they are aware of how much you contribute, and the like.
In my mind, I’ve always thought my work should speak for itself, and that it should be OBVIOUS what I’m contributing, and I shouldn’t have to be constantly informing them or pointing it out—and the idea of doing so is almost appalling to me.
But apparently, it’s a necessity to do so in the working world…
And, a recent example of self-promotion: I will be signing books at the Las Vegas Book Festival in October, and in discussions with my brother about preparations and setup, he suggested I get a big sign, on an easel, to put up at the front of my booth. I was horrified at the thought—how totally narcissistic! I was envisioning photos of Ted Knight hanging all around my booth…
But no, it’s pretty much a necessity, and I recently learned that my dissuasion from self-promotion—both in business/marketing and in employment—is actually rooted in my introversion.
An article I read about introversion in Psychology Today mentioned the book Self-Promotion for Introverts by Nancy Ancowitz, and the light came on in my head! I had no idea…
(And BTW—here’s a passage from the article, which I found to be quite salient):
“…introverts are not driven to seek big hits of positive emotional arousal—they’d rather find meaning than bliss—making them relatively immune to the search for happiness that permeates contemporary American culture. In fact, the cultural emphasis on happiness may actually threaten their mental health. As American life becomes increasingly competitive and aggressive, to say nothing of blindingly fast, the pressures to produce on demand, be a team player, and make snap decisions cut introverts off from their inner power source, leaving them stressed and depleted. Introverts today face one overarching challenge—not to feel like misfits in their own culture.”
So I promptly ordered the book, and just received it today. I’m eager to delve in—this could well be a game-changer for me!
And, at first glance, the dedication already looks promising:
“Dedicated to you who go mum at meetings, get passed up for promotions, and would rather read about the Powers That Be than rub elbows with them. You’re the brains behind the operation, the creative virtuosa, and the walking wiki. You want to make more of a difference in your life and the lives of others—but first, they need to know who you are.”
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