Confessions of an Introvert

Most people would be surprised to know that I consider myself an introvert. After all, in addition to writing a weekly blog, selling, and regularly speaking to business groups, I spend most weekends playing guitar and singing onstage in a local cover band. Introvert? Whatever…

However, it was very different when I was a child. When I started school, I stood by the door of the classroom and cried until my parents returned at the end of the day – for 3 weeks straight! When they took me for a ski lesson, the instructor asked my name. That first question was enough to make me run in the opposite direction. (Okay, you can’t really run in skis, but you know what I mean…)

But, my Dad was (and still is) my idol, and he was a classic extrovert-a gregarious, self-confident salesman who thrived when being social. Because I wanted to be like him and make him proud, I pushed myself to “overcome” my shyness via Dale Carnegie training and live concerts on stage. Forcing myself to step outside my comfort zone has undoubtedly helped me achieve many goals, but after all of these years, a new book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, has me questioning my perception of introversion.

Author Susan Cain (watch her TED talk here), made me realize that I had fully accepted society’s bias that extroversion is better than introversion. No wonder I felt a slight sense of shame during a recent sales trip, when I headed back to my hotel room to read a book rather than heading out to enjoy the city’s nightlife. Books and new ideas energize me!

I believe this book will help me to be a better parent. My 10-year-old daughter, Emily inherited many things from me. Like me, she shares a natural ear and a love for music. She also got my poor eyesight, my short legs and my “shy gene”. I have to admit that helping her “break out of her shell” has been an unspoken goal my wife and I shared. This summer, my daughter started singing with our band. I’m not only proud of her talent, but I’m also delighted to share a passion with my daughter. And as you’ll see from the video clip, Emily’s pretty happy about it too!

This summer, my daughter learned to embrace her extroverted side on stage, but Emily (and Susan Cain) taught me that being introverted is a great thing too. If my daughter would rather stay home and read a book in her room, that’s okay. In fact, I just might do the same.

Enjoy some quiet time this weekend,