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Nancy Okerlund
Volume 1, Issue 1, 7/18/07

The "Conscious Introvert"

I just finished four days of being the only one in my house, except for Emma the cat, herself an introvert. An at-home retreat. I had very few obligations those four days, so I got to go at my own pace and spend as much time alone as I wanted to. It was like a cool drink of water on a hot day.

My business is supporting introverts to have more ease and effectiveness in their lives, no matter what the challenges. I've coined the term "conscious introvert" and this newsletter, The Introvert Energizer, is dedicated to cultivating "conscious introverts."

And What Is a "Conscious Introvert"?

A "conscious introvert", in my view, knows 3 things and does 4:

A conscious introvert knows......

  1. that introversion and extroversion are "hard-wired". Like being left- or right-handed, we're predominantly introverted or extroverted - it's a very physical thing; (This is recent news.)
  2. that most people are NOT introverts - about 75%;
  3. that the U.S. is a very extroverted society.
And here's what a "conscious introvert" does:

  1. reframes his or her perspective on introverts - it's an asset, not a burden (despite numerous negative misconceptions;)
  2. protects his or her energy - we get ours from inside ourselves and need downtime, alone time, on a regular basis to re-energize;
  3. finds his or her own unique "introvert" ways to do things, in the middle of our extroverted world;
  4. learns extrovert skills to use when they're needed.

I've known I'm an introvert for a long time, but what captured my attention several years ago was the recent news about how physical it is to be an introvert.

You may have taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory - millions of people do every year - and you got an "I" or an "E" as part of your type, for Introvert or Extrovert. That inventory is an extension of the work of the psychologist C.J. Jung, who first described the idea of introverted and extroverted personalities in the 1920s.

Recently, brain research on temperament has documented the accuracy of Jung's thinking and gives a whole new window on life as an introvert or an extrovert - which is that our brains are wired differently, our nervous systems work differently - and it matters moment to moment.

I recommend Marti Olsen Laney's book, The Introvert Advantage, as an excellent resource for learning about what it means to live in an introvert or extrovert body.

Because introverts and extroverts are so different, being a "conscious introvert" can mean the difference between slogging upstream and flowing down the river at your own pace.

And what's more, it's my hunch that the world is longing for what introverts naturally have to offer: more reflection, more quiet, a slower pace.

So my work has to do with making it possible for introverts to have energy and ease and effectiveness in their lives more easily. And it has to do with my interest in the world having more of that wonderful "introvert energy" to tap into.

You may have noticed that The Introvert Energizer is intended for both introverts and extroverts. All extroverts have introverts in their lives. You may have been raised by one or two, you may have married one, you may have introverted children. You may work with introverts and you probably have introverted friends. Introverts are a small minority but we're everywhere!

It's my firm conviction that the better we understand each other, the stronger the potential to maximize the gifts of both introversion and extroversion. In that light, this newsletter can be a valuable resource for extroverts.

That's the food for thought for this issue. On to practical Ideas:

A Practical Idea for Introverts

Because your body gets re-energized from your internal world of ideas, feelings, and impressions, it's not just a good idea to have downtime on a regular basis. It's a necessity. You probably don't have enough. Look at your calendar and block out some times for the next two weeks, even if it seems impractical.

A Practical Idea for Extroverts

Choose an introvert in your life (you may have to ask around) and start watching him or her as a fascinating person who's very different from you. Wonder about it.

A Practical Idea for Introverts and Extroverts

Go to my website - http://www.IntrovertEnergy.com - and sign up to receive both The Introvert Energizer and a free mini-guide, "Thriving as an Introvert in the 21st Century" - a nine-page article with specific, concise information on the "hard-wiring" of introverts and more information on the world of the "conscious introvert".

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