Q: “Hi Danielle…
My name is Madison and I’m a teenager. I’m a natural introvert, and I sometimes struggle to find the right words. I love the online world, where I have time to think of a reply, but unfortunately part of life is being able to talk to people! Confidence is probably the biggest obstacle. How do you ‘be confident’? What are your tips? Thanks.”
A: Hi lovely lady!
I tend to think of myself as a natural extrovert however I know I have introvert moments and to be honest I treasure them. I appreciate and soak up a delicious hour or three hours of solitude. It gives me time to reflect, ponder, create and just let all my thoughts catch up to me without interruption. I regularly encourage my coaching clients to carve out time to be in their own company slowing down realigning with self and disconnecting with the outside world.
Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.”
Does this sound like you? If so I think you DO have the “right words” but are simply apprehensive about how to communicate them effectively. As stated introverts tend to enjoy exploring their thoughts and feelings and if this is the case with you then you have certainly mastered the most important first step in communicating your thoughts and feelings to others effectively and with confidence.
See, you can’t find the “right words” if one hasn’t taken the time to consider what is true and important to and for them. Communicating with confidence begins, I believe, with having a keen understanding of what makes you tick. Of what is true for you in any given moment. And knowing that begins with the ability to pause, fold within and get quiet… which traditionally comes naturally to an introvert.
Second, you must practice believing that what is true and important to you matters. That is–your opinion and feelings are equally as valid as someone who might be more outspoken than you. If you don’t believe that what is important to you matters and is valid then you will have trouble communicating with confidence.
Struggle with that concept? Try this mantra:
“What is important to me matters and I trust myself to take care of it.”
These first two steps are by far the most important to begin with. Third, and this is pretty standard, look people in the eye when you speak to them. Not at your hands or your feet.
Fourth, if you don’t have a good answer or simply “don’t know,” say you don’t know but you will look into the matter and get back to them with your thoughts as soon as possible. Nothing is worse then when someone doesn’t know the answer and scrabbles nervously as they try to make one up. Confidently saying “I don’t know, let me get back to you on that,” looks a hell of a lot better than awkwardly making up an answer.
Want to get a better handle on what exactly makes you tick? Of what is true for you? Well here is an exercise:
Let’s start cataloging visual examples of what motivates and inspires and pleases your spirit/soul. Grab as many magazines or articles as you like. Start flipping. Tear out the images, letters, colors, words that FEEL LIKE YOU. Get a glue stick and a big poster board. Start gluing.
Everything on that board is YOU.
A mirror of your miraculous-ness…..your spirited soul.
The interesting bits about you.
The fuel to your fire.
Your interests and desires are worth celebrating + communicating.
They are important and compelling.
Simply because they are an extension of you.
And that is explanation enough.
More soul searching questions to noodle on:
:: What is genuinely important to me?
:: What do I enjoy doing for the sake of it?
:: What’s the difference I would like to make, whether people know it or not?
:: How am I valuable to myself and others, whether they recognize it or not?
:: What makes me lovable?
:: How can I strengthen this feeling?
Madison, confidence, in my humble opinion, can’t exist unless you know and honor your truth. You are so young, bright soul, you have lots of time in front of you to stretch and explore the depths of your heart and this is exciting. Try to always be asking yourself: “What is true for me?” Get your answer and practice the courage to communicate it.