Standing Tall – An Introverts Perspective
Over the years I have worked with extroverts that talk fast and rapid and end up exhausted because no matter how many different ways they express themselves they still cannot get themselves heard and understood.
I have worked with introverts who get frustrated that by the time they have formulated an answer the conversation has moved on.
Whatever your natural way of processing and making sense of the world, it can be challenging to find your voice and speak with clarity and confidence all of the time.
In this article I want to share with you a guest blog from a lovely introvert, Marian Stutley who is finding her way to be heard and understood and sharing her wisdom with woman who want to go from Now to Wow.
Marian discovered image consultancy and make up were her road to getting noticed for all the right reasons. When Marian wears clothes that she feels great in she discovered she held herself differently, she stood taller and that resulted in a different response from those around her.
Here is her article called ‘Standing Tall’ – An Introverts Perspective
Working with Sheryl has opened my eyes up to noticing what works for me rather than only noticing what wasn’t working.
For me preparation is key to setting myself up for success by creating my external image that is true to me, it projects what I want to say about myself and it tells others how I want them to treat me thus giving me the confidence I need to create the life I want to live.
Do you ever find that being introverted can get in the way of trying new things?
Do you shy away from tasks at work that put you in the spotlight or dread team-building or role-play activities?
I would like to share a story that is a great example of how focusing on what works for you can really make a difference.
My fiancé and I were invited by a couple of friends to join them on a segway experience day.
When it was suggested to me I thought yeah sounds like fun, but as the day drew nearer I had this knotted feeling in my stomach. The morning of the experience day I felt really nervous. I was worried about falling off, not being able to do it, getting left behind etc.
That morning was a damp, miserable looking day and I didn’t follow my own advice to set myself up in the right frame of mind. I threw on black tracksuit bottoms, top and jumper, black coat, scraped my hair back into a ponytail, added hat and scarf as it was definitely chilly, and didn’t bother with any makeup.
I was really quiet in the car on the way there and waiting to complete the registration form and get started was like sitting waiting for a dentist appointment. I was dreading it.
The worst part for me was after the demo by the instructor, where one by one we had to step up on to the segway and move forwards and backwards and turn in a circle. Some people made it look really easy but one or two others did struggle. When it came to my turn I felt awkward, embarrassed and just about managed to do the manoeuvres so I was allowed to participate in the experience.
We were given a bit of practice time altogether in the car park and I was hating every second and gingerly manoeuvring round. I was mid berating myself for not having prepared myself properly when my fiancé came over to me. He took one look at my expression and realised I needed some encouragement. He reminded me that controlling a segway is all about balance and positioning your centre of gravity correctly. He reminded that if I could dance in a pair of pointe shoes ( I did ballet as a child), I could balance on a segway. He invited me to try and relax and move with it rather than fight it.
He was absolutely right and I started to get the hang of it. We rode over to the field and my heart sank again when the instructor said we were going to play some team games to practice. I thought great – more chances to look an idiot and possibly fall off. However, I did quite well and my confidence began to grow as I cautiously tried out the different grips and manoeuvres. I also learnt that caution pays when my fiancé, who is naturally more confident at stuff like this, crashed into me. He fell off and I stayed on. He also had to have his machine reset. That awoke my competitive spirit – 1-0 I thought!
By the time we set off on the adventure trail I had started to enjoy the experience and even made it up the slope and safely back down the otherside. Some else who shall remain nameless nearly took out the instructor (2-0)!
As the experience came to an end I even thought it would be fun to do it again!
So what was the issue?
My challenge is not trying something new. It is the looking and feeling like an idiot whilst trying to learn something that makes me feel insecure. I find having other people watching me really intimidating.
I worry about what they will think of me, even if I am never likely to see them again.
Perhaps school days have a lot to answer for, but if I start unpacking that one we will be here all day!
So what helped me?
Since working with Sheryl I have learned to reflect and notice what worked, what was different and celebrate those changes no matter how small.
This time I wasn’t drawing confidence from looking and feeling good, because I hadn’t set myself up that way, which I duly noted and would ensure I do next time – as Sheryl says it is always about remembering to take our own advice and trust our own processes.
But there were 3 key things that made the difference.
- The encouragement from my fiancé, demonstrating he believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
- Being reminded of my existing skills and wisdom which allowed me to utilise my past experience of posture and balance. This resulted in me treating the segway as an extension of my own body. Ironically that made me stand taller which is exactly what happens when I take time to do my make up, hair and carefully select my clothes.
- Competition and carnage – I just cannot resist a little bit of healthy competition, and my mischievous side just could not resist being amused by my other half crashing into me. (I was brought up on bond films and just LOVE a good crash!)
What have I learnt since?
Since this segway experience I have noticed that when I give attention to my posture it makes a difference to my well-being and confidence. I have noticed that people around me treat me differently. When I was attending the Do, Delegate or Ditch retreat I was invited to sit in front of the mirror to observe the physical change others could see as I was unaware how my body shape was changing as I spoke.
From a young age I studied ballet. I learnt to tuck my bottom in and to imagine a piece of string that stretched from the base of spine up through my body and out the top of my head which was being pulled towards the ceiling. So i knew physically how to do this for the purpose of a dance performance.
The result is that when you lift through your body, it uncramps your stomach, gives your rib-cage space to breathe, helps you put your shoulders back and down so your shoulder blades are flat. That stretch through your body eases tension by relaxing the muscles and you instantly have a presence about you that others respond to.
As I child it was automatic from all the dancing, but having given up dancing over 15 years ago I had gradually lost my natural poise. When I got involved in make up, skin care and image consultancy I found a new way of encouraging the ‘stand taller’ effect.
And whilst now it is more a conscious thought I am noticing with practice that it can be the norm because I am noticing more and more the change in response from those around me – especially in my corporate role.
Are you standing tall?
Could you stand taller?
I have loved working with Sheryl as she reminded me of the tools and resources I already had so it was fast to implement them as I wasn’t having to learn something new from scratch.
I love the questions what would you like to have happen and what works for you?
And if you know that your make up and image just isn’t getting you the response you want – be it from others or even yourself when you look in the mirror please do join my Now to Wow community on line empowering women to shine with style.
And if you know it is your critic that needs to be managed then I can’t recommend Sheryl enough. Do join her community “Manage your Critic” a community committed to non- judgmental listening skills
Feel free to share below your thoughts or join us in the Facebook group Manage your critic
You can Purchase a copy of my book here
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.
Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.
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