There’s an expectation out there that to get ahead you’ve got to be “alpha”, at least some of the time. You’ve got to go out and get it. You’ve got to ask people for what you want. You’ve got to put yourself out there, and you’ve got to stand out in the crowd.
Other than their potential links with the cult of hustle, these more outgoing, extroverted tendencies are good, reasonable things. They can play a part in getting what you want and can surely help you find meaningful success. I’ve got nothing against them.
Other than the fact that if you lean more towards introversion you’ll find these qualities foreign, frightening, oppressive and even damaging.
Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, describes introverts as preferring less stimulating environments than their extrovert neighbours, tending to enjoy quiet concentration and listening more than talking.
Introverts aren’t energised by social situations in the same way as extroverts are, so in a culture that seems to be biased towards the out-going and socially adept (even selecting these kinds of people over those who aren’t as outgoing or socially adept), it’s easy to feel like you’re not as good as your extroverted friend or lacking something that your extroverted colleague has in spades.
The temptation is to feel that you’re less than simply because you’re more introverted, and the perception is that introversion is about shyness (it isn’t) and a lack of confidence (it isn’t).
I’ve spoken with introverts who’ve told me how broken they feel, how they’re afraid they’ll never be able to have the kind of life they want because they don’t feel capable of going out and getting it in the same way as confident people do. One introverted lady I spoke with told me, “The world hardly notices me, I don’t amount to much.”
This is not how it should be, so let me debunk this myth with gusto.
EXTROVERSION AND CONFIDENCE IS A POWERFUL COMBINATION, BUT DON’T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT INTROVERSION AND CONFIDENCE ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE OR ANY LESS POWERFUL.
Vert comes from the latin “to turn”, so introversion and extroversion is simply a matter of where you lean.
When you get down to it, this “vert” business is just turning towards the things that gives you energy, nourishment and value.
Extrovert or introvert, it’s about leaning into the things that make you feel whole.
And this is where confidence comes in, because leaning towards the things that make you feel whole – and having those things be enough – is precisely what confidence allows you to do.
Extroversion and introversion are independent of confidence, but each can be partnered beautifully by confidence and each is made powerful by it.
Forget about extroverts and introverts. Let’s hear it for the verts.