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I am an introvert!


Well, I thought I was for over 40 years.


I was reminded that this is International Introverts Week. An introvert is someone who recharges their energy by being alone. That's it!


There are as many ways to be an introvert as introverted people.


After a busy week of 'peopling,' as I call it, I require at least two days of working alone in my home office to balance the high energy I get from working with folks on the many intersections related to gender.


If you have seen me on stage, you will have seen me pour out my energy to the audience while working to create a safe space through my vulnerability. Yes, this drains energy from me. However, seeing the audience's reaction to this safe space and what I share in that space returns that energy to me tenfold.


It wasn't always like this. For example, I was at an IBM event as a speaker, talking about technology during those days. During that day, I met another speaker who was speaking about sales strategies using storytelling. Later in the day, that speaker and I had a quiet conversation, and he asked if I was an introvert, to which I said yes.


He was surprised by that answer as he had seen me on stage earlier. During our conversation together, I became aware of this simple formula. I now use this straightforward formula as a speaker to determine if I'm introverted or extroverted. While on stage, am I energised or drained by the audience?


If the answer to that question is that my energy is drained by presenting to the audience, then I am most likely an introvert. However, if you have seen me speak, especially on the more significant stages with audiences in the thousands, you know my energy builds, not depletes, while I'm on stage.


The speaker had asked me to do a test from that day for the next 30 days to pretend that I'm naturally an extrovert. See how I feel, and if it's not working for me, I can continue the previous way I was working. If it does work for me, then to naturally embrace the fact that I'm an extrovert and begin to live that way. I never looked back after that day as I lived a more extroverted version of myself than in my younger days.


In some small way, exploring my authentic identity as an extrovert and questioning the belief that I was an introvert was like opening the door just a crack to my whole authentic self, who didn't indeed emerge until I had the courage at 50 years of age.


During National Introverts Week, I celebrate all those who identify as introverts!



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