In a recent blog post, I described how I cycle through a process of showing up in the world for a while, then withdrawing for an embarrassing length of time, then showing up again…. That’s not so good for those of us who want to make a contribution to the world and sell our services, creations, or products in a world where you need to show up consistentlyin order for people to get to know, like, and trust you.
The reason I withdraw after being “out there” for a while is that I desperately need downtime to balance out the constant bombardment of sights, sounds, and thoughts of other people, especially on social media.
I feel completely depleted and burned out. I’ve run out of fuel. So I stop. I withdraw. Until I feel fueled up enough to get back out there.
We introverts have various ways of describing this “now you see me, now you don’t” cycle. Usually we assume there’s something wrong with us, and our interpretation of why we do this reflects these feelings of shame.
“Oh my, Summer, I’m like that too. I put myself out there and then go into hiding. I’ve done it so much with my videos that I finally stopped making them.”
“I have coddled myself way too much this year. And I have let fear get the best of me. If only I could hide in a cave and still make money…”
The real reason introverts need to “disappear” has nothing to do with a character flaw. It’s biological. And scheduling downtime is crucial for the introvert’s wellbeing.
It’s a Brain Thing
The outer world is energizing for extroverts, due to their brain wiring. It’s an extrovert’s “home base.” Extroverts pursue their need for wellbeing by seeking stimulation in the world: exciting events, new people and places, and challenges that prompt adrenaline. No wonder entrepreneurship appeals to so many extroverts!
As introverted solopreneurs, we try to follow the accepted ways of doing business – the extrovert-favored way, as it happens.
But the introvert’s brain wiring is different, so introverts need a different way of pursuing a sense of wellbeing.
Instead of feeling energized by exciting events, new people and places, and challenges that trigger adrenaline, those are the very things that drain us! We can only take so much of all that and then we crash and burn.
But doesn’t success in business hinge on doing those things? No! Those activities are the “how” of one way of doing business – the extrovert-favored way. Introverts need their own way of doing business.
That’s because the introvert’s “home base” is the inner life of the mind. The introvert brain is wired for inner processing: thinking, planning, making connections between ideas, imagining, remembering… And the introvert functions best from the parasympathetic nervous system – also known as the “rest and digest” system.
A Way Forward for Introverts
There are many ways to accomplish your goals, and you as an introvert, naturally wired for thinking and planning, are well suited to coming up with ways that will work for you.
The thing to think about is “How can I show up consistently and comfortably in the world and still get the downtime I need?”
For an immediate sense of wellbeing, promise yourself not to do anything that feels wrong for your biological nature. (If you dread large networking events, promise yourself never to go through that torture again!) You’ll feel a tremendous sense of relief – and that releases a lot of energy to put toward coming up with creative ways that’ll work for you.
Things to get clear about on an aspirational (heart) level:
- Get in touch with your sense of mission.
- What do you feel called to change in the world?
- Whose suffering can you alleviate?
- What are your core values that you bring to everything you do?
- What service you’re offering to the world
- What expertise do you want to leverage as a business?
- What special talents and “superpowers” do you have?
- What kind of wisdom do you have that others don’t?
- What you really want for your life?
- How do you want to spend the rest of your life?
- What do you want to get up and do every day?
- What makes you come alive with zeal?
Things to set up on a practical (head) level:
- An accountability partner – to keep you on track and cheerlead you.
- A goal – so you know where you want to be, and by when.
- A work schedule with scheduled downtime – embracing your introvert needs.
- Productivity hacks – Find the ones that allow you to have a balanced day/life.
- Systems that allow you to automate content – Find systems that match your tech ability and use them to schedule your batched content ahead of time.
- Outsourcing – Choose outsource partners that are affordable for you and allow you to focus on your zone of genius.
- A Planner to keep track – Find one that works for you so you can stay peacefully organized.
If you’re interested in a mini-training to help you create a consistent presence in the world while getting the downtime you need before you burn out, you can find out more HERE.
End the “now you see me, now you don’t” cycle and enjoy a sense of wellbeing as an introverted solopreneur.