The Introverted Business Woman

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We live in a big world — which can make anyone feel small. However, there are some of us living in this big world that feel particularly smaller than small. Hi, my name is Deslonde Harvey and I am an introverted business woman. Once upon a time I was really uncomfortable about being an introvert, but that was before I actually knew what an introvert was. But as soon as I was able to put a name with how I felt on an everyday basis, I felt immediate total self-acceptance; I realized there are a lot of people out there like me. It’s not wrong — it’s just different! But finding out what the word “introvert” really means gave me so much clarity and confidence. I was so intrigued by finding out what an introvert was. My extrovert husband has received so many articles (sent by me – duh) on introversion that when he receives one now (yes, I still send them) he’s thinking something along the lines of, “Another one? I know babe, you’re an introvert… I get it.”

But really… this is so much a part of me, and now that I have learned to accept it I am ultimately trying to find the appropriate tools to embrace it as well as share my story to help motivate others to do the same. As said before, I used to be ashamed of being an introvert. In the past, I’ve felt drained in social group settings (and sometimes still do). You can see how this would be an issue for me as I just opened my own business… talk about freak out moment! I am by all means not an introvert expert and have not found all the strategies to deal with being an introvert. But because I have taken this new leap of faith by opening my own business, I have no choice but to find coping mechanisms that will help establish confidence in being an introvert through my new venture. With all that being said, I want to share what I’ve learned thus far.

Let’s start with this question. Do you want to know why introverts are so quiet? Because they are thinking… not just a little bit — like, A LOT. They are too busy thinking and overanalyzing things to  talk to the people around them. I am definitely an over-thinker. A positive of overthinking is that it can get you out of trouble by being aware of potential consequences, which could lead to making fewer mistakes; a negative of overthinking is that, well, it can get you into trouble. Let me explain. I would be thinking about work while playing with my child before her nap time. After I put her down for her nap, I would then think about how terrible of a mother I was because I didn’t truly devote all my time to my daughter because work was on my mind. And then I finally get in bed after a long day’s work and try to go to sleep but instead think about how I mentally beat myself up all day because I looked at the big picture which then leads me to think … WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF!?

Can anyone relate to this everyday exhausting scenario? Speak up, my introvert friends — now is not the time to remain silent — don’t leave me hangin'! You can see how this would be a problem. Because of constant thinking, carpe diem became my soul aphorism. It means to live in the present and to give little thought to the future. I constantly have to remind myself to live in the moment. I find that I look at the big picture all too often. Let me tell you, looking at the big picture will literally drive you insane. Do yourself and the people you love a favor by making a daily to-do list for yourself, and don’t worry about what all needs to be completed by next month (let’s be honest… I really meant to say “by next year”). All jokes aside, when you start to value what’s going on during the present time, you will literally feel the pressure and stress wither away. Put all that overthinking where it really matters — live for today, not for tomorrow!

So now you are going to start living in the present, right? This brings me to another overthinking con… “present” situations can be unnecessarily awkward, and sometimes cause you to second guess yourself. A short example would be something along the lines of this… you are in a social setting and, of course, you feel uncomfortable, and then the unthinkable happens — you said something “out of the box” to a complete stranger, which leads you to over-think the situation for the remainder of the event — and then some.

Let’s refer to a situation like this as a “trivial introvert episode.” Trivial introvert episodes happen all the time, and in so many different forms. These scenarios take up valuable thinking time that could ultimately be put to better use elsewhere. One of my trivial introvert episodes looked along the lines of, “I messed up a deal with a potential client because of XYZ … how stupid can I be?!”  Again, that’s unnecessary pressure and stress that I (and you) just don’t need in your life.

A simple coping mechanism that helps me diminish these fraud episodes is by asking myself a simple question. Ready for it? It is… will it matter in a year? Truth is, I may or may not have lost a client, but guess what? There will be more clients, and a trivial introvert episode will not break me! Instead of overthinking about how you could have handled a situation differently (for hours), think about how you can learn from it in a positive way and vow to apply it to future similar scenarios. That trivial episode will NOT matter in a year… so try to suck it up, buttercup — accept what is and move on!

Fun fact: did you know there are scientific reasons why introverts are… introverts? Which leads me to my last introvert coping strategy that might seem a little crazy. Accept that you are an introvert. Laugh if you want, but because I am an over-thinker I actually thought of ways I could change myself to become an extrovert. I wonder how many hours I wasted on that thought (or maybe I shouldn’t wonder)? But it’s true… there is something about mentally accepting you for you. When you finally embrace who you are, you hold yourself accountable and you learn about your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Don’t try to force yourself to be someone you’re not, but at the same time, you can still challenge yourself in uncomfortable situations. If I didn’t challenge myself, I would have never made the leap. Does anyone else have any coping strategies to help out our fellow “quiet ones?” If so, leave them in the comments below!

Now, who wants to read that amazing article mentioned about the science behind being an introvert? If so, click here and prepare to be even more intrigued by this topic!