When Will You Stop Denying Who You Really Are?

I’m an introvert. Or am I?

I have always gravitated to positions that put me in front of people. I have found, over the years, that I love it. Which is TOTALLY contrary to who I feel I am. If given a choice I would rather stay at home and, with the exception of family, be by myself. I don’t like parties. I don’t like social events.

And I hate confrontation. I will go out of my way to avoid it. My number two strength on StrengthsFinder is Restorative. I seek harmony, and seek to establish harmony. When you are in the relationship business, conflict is a natural progression of almost any relationship.

I’m also painfully shy. I hate meeting people for the first time. My natural tendency is to become friends by osmosis – hoping that close proximity alone will draw us together, not the act of meeting and talking.

What’s even more interesting is that I love being around people. But if I’m at a party, I would rather be the wallflower – observing, not interacting. I love watching people at the airport or mall. Just not talking to them.

The reality, though, is that my life has played out very differently. I have had jobs in retail, customer service, and sales – all jobs that put me in direct contact with people. And I’ve had success in these jobs. And not just success –  at the risk of being arrogant, I am good at building relationships! What?! How can an introvert be good at building relationships? And on top of that, enjoy building relationships?

If I had to define my dream job, it would be a job where I could speak in front of people, then leave. One way communication. It’s one of the reasons why I loved being on the radio. Unfortunately, I don’t have a message. That’s kind of a problem. So, I’ve worked in positions where I get to communicate, but I’m also forced to relate.

So, all that being said, I guess my real question is have I learned to become interactive because I’ve had to for jobs, or have I really been an extrovert all these years and just didn’t know it? I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that here I am again in a position where the whole job is building relationships. And you know what? I love it. I love getting on the phone and chatting with new people and finding out their story. I love that I can serve them and make some new friends along the way. I love finding out their needs and meeting them. Would I rather be by myself? Sure. Am I energized by my daily interactions. You bet!

So, I press on – living with this juxtaposition in my life and, hopefully, finding success in something I fear.

Is there anything about yourself you’ve been denying? What fear is holding you back from working in your sweet spot?

  • I struggle with this sort of thing too Scott and I identify with much of what you’ve written here. Thanks for sharing your heart so transparently.