The way we feel is universal. Sharing our stories shows us all that we’re not alone, and our challenges and struggles aren't so unique after all. This is the place where I share mine.
I’ve always thought about my introverted wiring as limiting, and something I had to overcome. I’ve felt like there is something wrong with me, and the only possible solution would be to become more extroverted, because that’s the ideal – right?
Oh, so wrong.
I’ve finally realized the reason I’ve felt this way: the very unique, specific value that introverts bring into the world is rarely acknowledged or validated. Beginning in elementary school, talking is praised and rewarded. Raising your hand in class, group participation – talking, talking, talking. This continues in the corporate world, where it escalates to talking over each other in meetings just to be heard because the loudest voice in the room always seems to win. It’s present in the social world, where the loudest ones are typically the life of the party.
But this simply isn’t how introverts are wired to operate. Instead, we like to sit back and learn by observing. We tend to be sponges, absorbing so much more than anyone may realize because we’re spending most of our time listening instead of talking. We are perceptive and insightful for this same reason, picking up on things others don’t – because they’re too busy talking or looking for an opening to say what they want to say. We have so much to offer and there is so much we could say but don’t, because unless we’re really passionate about something, we’re not going to fight to be heard. That’s not our approach.
And no one ever thanks an introvert for being so quietly engaged, asking them to share the insight they’ve gained while intently listening and observing. The mere idea seems laughable at first, but when you really think about it… I wonder how our world would change if this began happening, because this alone would validate our vital place in this world.
I also wonder how the world would change if each one of us stepped into our power as an introvert, embracing the way we’re wired, operating unapologetically in the way that we thrive, and owning the unique value we bring to the world. To me, this seems to be the first extremely important step.