Do you ever want to just run and hide? Want to close the curtains and shut the world out? Does it just sometimes get to be ‘too much’? This post is dedicated to the lovely Lindsey Whitaker and our recent conversation about honesty, overwhelm, perceptions and ‘varipreneurship’ (my new label for the new breed of entrepreneur. More on that in another post).
I was interviewed recently by the lovely Helen Lo of Introverts in Business (check here out here https://www.facebook.com/Introvertsinbusinesses), about the challenges and blessings of being an introvert entrepreneur. I’ve had an unprecedented amount of comments and messages about it, mostly around the theme “How can you be an introvert when you do what you do.?” There has been so much reaction, that I really feel that I need to speak to this. If you haven’t seen the interview yet, you can watch it here http://facebook.com/batshitcrazy.co
If you’ve known me and/or followed me for a while, you’ll be aware of my personal journey from a childhood filled with horror; physical abuse at the hands of my violent paranoid schizophrenic mother and sustained bullying, to being one of few women in senior roles (at that time) in the extremely male dominated and corporately aggressive advertising and marketing industry, to successful, award winning mentor and coach working creative entrepreneurial women.
What you may not know, unless you’re a client of mine, is what lies behind all that perceived success.
You see, I am not only an introvert, but an empath too. I think and feel deeply. Not only about my own ‘stuff’, but about other people’s. Now, there’s no doubt that makes me a great mentor. In that respect, I feel extremely blessed with those qualities. However, it also means I have challenges that require constant attention, management and focussed work.
For obvious reasons, as a child, I was withdrawn and I internalised everything. So, very early on, I learned and developed tools and strategies for survival. Here are what were my top 3…
I would pretend, spending lots of time alone, pretending to be someone and somewhere else, and imagining how it would feel if it was real.
I would seek inspiration in solace. I would spend every spare moment in the library, reading book upon book, learning about what was possible, what lay beyond the world I existed in and getting inspired.
I would HIDE, literally and metaphorically. I retreated in to myself and I had ‘safe’ spaces where I would run and physically hide from my mother.
As a child, I literally had little or no control over my situation and I wasn’t aware that I could reach out. I was alone with my mother, we had no extended family and she had no friends. I developed the strategies I developed because, at the time, they were my only options. The thing is, I am still tempted to apply these strategies now sometimes. Yep, even will all that I know, all I’ve developed and all the work I do, I still have to work on myself around this stuff.
• I still get overwhelmed sometimes.
• I still over think.
• I still feel hurt when people react insensitively.
• I still feel insecure.
• I still feel fear when I launch something new or when I have to speak in front of
hundreds of people.
• I still feel trapped, cornered sometimes.
• I still find myself worrying about what people think.
• I still worry about delivering the very best of what I do for my clients and about them
getting killer results from our work together.
• I still panic about investing large amounts of time and money in my own development
I worry, I doubt, I fear, I over think, because I’m human. And, sometimes, I still want to run home, close the door, turn off the phones, close the curtains and shut out the world. I just do it a LOT less often now than I used to and I know what I need to do when it does happen.
Do you recognise yourself here? Does this resonate with you? I truly truly feel your pain.
Here’s what I know that will help you too…
THOSE TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL YOU JUST CAN’T, ARE THE TIMES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST!!!
You must stay out in the light. You must stay connected; to your purpose, to your work and most importantly, to others. You see, that ‘run and hide’ strategy may work for a short while, to give you recovery time, but if you let it continue, you will become isolated, you will withdraw, you will spiral and you will become disconnected.
As an introvert in business, I have to run my business on my terms. I know how much I can take on without getting overwhelmed and without feeling over worked. I know that I need recovery time after a speaking gig or a large workshop, and I know that because I need to work deeply with my clients, I can only work with a small number of fabulous women at any one time. I know that I need to regularly connect…with nature, with likeminded souls and with my own mentors. Without all this, I can’t stay connected to myself, to my work, to my business or to my loved ones.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times when I absolutely don’t WANT to do these things. Times when every fibre of my being wants to defer to the old strategies, when I want to run to my safe place and hide. But, I know those strategies don’t work long term. They don’t work for me. They don’t work for you. They don’t work for anyone. Trust me.
So, how do I make sure I don’t run and hide? Well, partly by reminding myself how far I’ve come by avoiding those old strategies. But also…
I have a toolkit crammed full of the most effective tools, techniques and strategies that I’ve developed over the last 40+ years to help me survive and thrive
I schedule my work carefully according to my own needs
I schedule my recovery and down time
I have an absolutely rigid programme of self-care that for me, includes spending lots of time outdoors, yoga, meditation and the odd pamper session.
I have a network of incredible positive and supportive friends that I make sure I spend time with regularly
I have a ‘rescue buddy’. One of my friends who’s nominated to come and find me if I appear to go in to hiding. This is crucial!
I have fabulous mentors who hold me accountable, kick my ass and support me
I NEVER chastise myself when I fall off the emotional waggon
Listen, I don’t mess about with this stuff, and neither should you! These strategies shouldn’t be dipped in and out of. They should be as much a part of your life and routine as breathing in and out, as waking and sleeping.
I created my Connected Crowd to connect fabulous entrepreneurial women to each other in a safe, supported space so that we can share openly and honestly, support and encourage each other and, crucially, reach out for help and guidance when we need it. Join us there http://facebook.com/groups/1788253334800593
And, if you only do one thing after reading this, PLEASE DO NOT GO IT ALONE. Do not disconnect. We are simply not meant to journey alone. If our ancestors on the Savannah had tried to live that way, they wouldn’t have survived and we wouldn’t even be here. Whether it’s a friend (make it a positive one please), a family member, a coach or a mentor…
As always, please let me know your thoughts and feelings around this.
Big BatShit Crazy love to you. Mwah
ps. You can get my FREE Top 10 Tips on Getting and Staying Connected Booklet at http://BatshitCrazy.co
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