Why Introverts Are Undervalued and How to Bring Your Superpowers Back. Ideas from a Life Coach
Are you an introvert? Do you want to become more creative, confident, and productive?
Do you think at times that there is something wrong with you?
There is nothing wrong with you.
After going through my journey of self-discovery as well as working with my clients as a life coach in Denver, I realized that there is nothing wrong with introversion. It is actually great - if you can own it.
I remember when I was in middle school, I did not want to interact with my peers after classes. After 7-8 hours of being around other people in school, I was super tired. I did not want to have even more conversations afterward. I was noticing my peers who loved to socialize after hours and comparing them to myself. As a result, I was constantly feeling guilty and judging myself. I thought that there was something wrong with me. So I was constantly pushing and pushing myself to be like other people. I thought it would make me more successful. But I ended up being burnt out, feeling guilty, unproductive, and feeling like I was worse than others. Sounds familiar?
I knew I was an introvert, but I thought that it was not normal. I never realized that I just had a different natural skillset and had other unique abilities. But I can also expand them if I want to. It is so easy to come to these conclusions that there is something wrong with you when the majority of people in Europe and the US are extroverted. I was never intentionally creating the alone time that I needed to recover. I would push and push and then crash. Only then I would spend time in solitude. It could have been a much better idea to have balance. To come from a place of self-acceptance, confidence, and realization that I am building a new muscle which comes a bit easier for others. Rather than a “I am falling behind” type of thinking.
At least ⅓ of people nowadays are introverts, yet we live in the world as if everyone is an extrovert. Schools, colleges, even the environment at work are structured for extroverted people. There are open cubicles at work and in school, we are shifting more and more towards group idea generation. We say that cooperation creates more creativity. But is it always true?
It is not true, especially for introverts, and research backs this up. Studies support that loneliness increases creativity and innovation. Introverts know this intuitively. Typical groupthink silences opponents and prevents people from changing their minds. So a great alternative can be to write down ideas before a meeting to nullify the influence of groupthink.
So why do introverts need less social life than extroverts?
Some part of this is genetic. On brain scans, you can actually see that the amygdala (emotional center in the brain) is bigger in introverts. That means that introverts need way less stimulation than extroverts. They are more sensitive than extroverts. They get overwhelmed way easier with strong stimulation like loud sounds, bright colors, light, touch, feelings, taste, smell.
Also, there is a belief that parenting contributes to the level of introversion. This might be because a child used to spend more time in solitude. Also, people who grew up in abusive families tend to be more introverted.
From my experience as a life coach in Denver, I noticed that introverts spend less time building social skills. I believe that social skill is like a muscle. The more time you spend exercising it deliberately, the better you get. So if you want to improve this skill you need to practice it and it is crucial to have the right mindset when you are doing it. Mindset is something that we will talk about in the next section here.
How do I move forward from here?
Know your superpowers and own them
Balance and recovery
Add extraverted traits if you want to, not because something is wrong with you.
While working as a life coach in Denver I noticed that there are 10 superpowers among introverts.
Being more aware and present of what is happening in the moment.
2. Sensitivity to nuance
The ability to notice subtleties that most people miss.
The ability to feel other people, to have emotional intelligence. Also, introverts usually have a strong sense of intuition
4. Complexity and deep work
We are talking here about the ability to solve complex problems, study difficult and lengthy material.
Creativity represents any type of innovation around any type of art or science
It is the ability to stay on task longer as well as trying to do the thing after repeated “failures”.
“It is not that I am so smart,” said Einstein who was an introvert. “It’s that I stay with problems longer”.
It is sometimes difficult to notice for other people but introverts do things under bigger pressure.
8. Great analytics
They love spending time in their headspace. They love analyzing, prioritizing, and structuring information
Because they pay attention to details it is important for them to spend extra time covering them.
10. Deep conversations
Introverts are very often good at deep conversations and not really interested in small talk. Deep conversations are the ones that spark that sense of connection and meaning for them. Topics around philosophy, spirituality, and science are of big interest to them.
Pause and ask yourself: What are the superpowers that you have developed the most?
Write them down and OWN them!
#2 Balance and recovery
Recovery is crucial for introverts for optimal performance and their level of happiness. Introverts can get overloaded by too much stimulation very easily. It is so easy for them to forget that they need some downtime after a workshop, group meeting, concert, etc.
Also, it might be difficult to say NO to people when they invite you to that afterparty when you feel exhausted after the main event already.
Remember that you perceive things differently.
Have boundaries and say NO firmly. It is okay to say that you can not do it today and reschedule for another day if you want to.
Do what is necessary to recover. It can be as simple as a walk in the forest, a hot bath, a book, or a nap.
#3 Extraverted traits:
You can develop an extroverted personality and skills. In fact, there are a lot of people who do it so well that people around them can not even notice that they are introverted. After some time and consistent practice, you will develop desensitization. That means that your emotional response will diminish after repeated exposure to stimuli like big group meetings for example.
Tip: Think about it as a way to expand yourself, not catching up to someone else.
Find people who are introverted and have developed strong extroverted personalities in addition.
Find out how they made this happen, their mindset, what skills and habits they built, what structures and tools they used in the process.
Practice, practice, practice! Practice is the mother of skill. I like the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% practicing and 20% analyzing, structuring, and learning about the subject.
Remember to give yourself permission to balance it out with some time to recover in solitude.
The world needs introverts.
We need both extroverts and introverts, people who are making decisions quickly as well as people who are more thoughtful and think before acting. Otherwise, the world would be an unbalanced place. Either too chaotic or too stagnant.
There are a lot of very successful people who are/were introverted: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Rosa Parks, Steve Jobs, Sir Issac Newton, Mark Zuckerberg, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michael Jordan, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, etc.
Also, in my work as a life coach in Denver I have noticed that there is a variety of professions and fields that introverts are naturally inclined to. Among those are research, philosophy, psychology, engineering, IT, writing, art, accounting, architecture, etc.
Even though choosing the environment and career that fits you is important, what is even more important is to own your superpowers all the time and remember that the world needs you.
Dennis Guyvan, a life coach. He provides individual life coaching sessions in Denver and Chicago, and worldwide via video and phone calls. Schedule your free 20-minute coaching consultation with Dennis Guyvan.