Day 17 – Struggling with Introversion

Today’s Challenge: What three steps can you take to build trust and credibility online for you, your brand and your business?
People that know me well, generally find it hard to believe that I can be extremely introverted.
It’s kind of an odd predicament really,  because I love connecting with people, I just got used to not enjoying the experience.
I know that probably sounds funny. Ok, let me try to explain…
Being an overachieving perfectionist came with another ailment for me:  being a tad bit, overly preoccupied with what others think (haha that sounds like an oxymoron). This was extremely crippling because I would think and OVERthink everything!
I’d feel self-conscious sharing and when I did share, I’d be paranoid about how I came across.  My mind was constantly in a state of internal auto playback and my Inner Critic seemed to get off on analyzing conversations and pointing out my mistakes.  Days, weeks, months and sometimes even years later the recordings would continue and every small hiccup was determined to be a fatal flaw.
So I guess it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy being around people, I just hated the experience I’d endure afterwards.  
Sometimes the thought of this would literally paralyze me during conversations. 
It wasn’t always this way though, on a few occasions I would form really deep bonds with people after one connection or have deep, meaningful conversations.  But being married to an extrovert- a pretty extreme one at that – made it easier for me to slip into the background or hide in the shadows.
It wasn’t until we started to regularly host guests on Airbnb that things really started to change.
One of the best antidotes for fear is immersing yourself in situations that make you ‘feel’ afraid.
In the beginning it was awkward.  The first time, I literally camped out in my bedroom, but over time I became more comfortable. I started to really enjoy hosting and meeting new people. And not only that, I get excited.  Now, not only am I sad to see them go, they’re sad to leave.
These experiences helped me embrace the truth, I actually really enjoy being around people. On the odd occasion, I may still get that strange feeling, but I realize that it’s due to conditioning more than anything else. You know how Inner Critics just love to try to get in the way.
As far as building trust online (because of my earlier feelings), this part has historically been quite a challenge for me.  When I tried to put myself out there, my attempts either felt forced or fake.
Now, I know today’s challenge is more of a technical question, but I think the bigger challenge for me has been more of a psychological one.  
And the answer? Self-compassion.
Accepting myself and embracing my imperfection makes me feel less insecure about sharing and connecting with others.Trusting myself will make it easier for me to build trust with others. And believing in myself and appreciating my own value will make it easier for me to communicate value to others.
The more of me I allow myself to be and others to see, the easier everything else will be.
P.S. For My Fellow Introverts: Here’s a really great article I read by Chris G, Writing and Speaking for Introverts
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