In this post we hear from Christy Tending. I am delighted she agreed to take part in this series of interviews and share her thoughts with us all. Christy is a self-care mentor and you can find out a lot more about her and her work at the end of this article, so please do scroll down and take a look.
How do you form networks and connect with others as an introvert?
I recognize that introversion doesn’t always look one way. There are a lot of facets to being an introvert. In my case, I appear very outgoing, and I’m a confident public speaker, even though I identify strongly as an introvert. For me, the best ways to connect with others are in small doses and in small groups. I know that an all-day networking event or conference exhausts me. I prefer to interact in smaller chunks of time and in more intimate settings.
I also need a lot of time to recharge after I’ve spent time connecting. It takes a lot out of me, so I always need to build in a buffer so that I can recover afterward.
That being said, as an introvert, I’m really comfortable being by myself. As a result, I think my introversion makes me more confident and authentic. Because I’m so at ease on my own, I feel less pressure to impress others and tend to get to the heart of the matter quickly. This kind of real talk helps me connect with the people I’m meant to connect to.
Which of your strengths as an introvert do you value most and how do you use this in your work?
There are a number of facets of my introversion that I see as real assets in my life and work. The first is that I’m very internally-motivated. I don’t need lots of external validation. Instead, I’m driven to create and make an impact from a purely internal place. I don’t thrive on others’ energy, so my motivations aren’t contingent on others’ opinions either.
The second is my intuition. My mom likes to say that when I was a baby, I didn’t interact much, but she could tell I was absorbing everything. I’ve been really quiet my whole life, but as a result, I’m highly intuitive. This other kind of knowing has served me really well.
What is your number one tip for succeeding as an introvert?
Respect yourself and don’t try to be anyone else. I agonized for years trying to be an extrovert, and I could have saved myself a lot of time and agony if I’d just allowed myself to be who I really am. Introverts are awesome, and we bring a lot to the party of life. It might be cliche, but the best way to succeed is by allowing yourself to be exactly who you are, without apology.
About Christy, in her own words:
Christy Tending is a self-care mentor and activist who helps world-changing people develop amazing self-care. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, their feral cats, and their son, Arlo; she makes her online home at ChristyTending.com