I was doing some research this week on improving this website. I want it to be easy to navigate and hopefully help people find the inspiration they are seeking, so I’m always working to improve QuietandStrong.com.
I stumbled across PEEK and was offered a free user test of my website. I signed up and a relatively short time later I had a video of a random user going through my website – what a great service! I could see what she was looking at on screen and could hear her commentary as she answered specific questions about the website during the review. She gave me some compliments on the design and ease of navigation, but the thing that stood out most to me was her overall lack of understanding of “introversion.” Of course, I did not expect a content expert to be reviewing my site, nor to have a major revelation in a free 5-minute user test, but it was interesting to see a random user’s take on the Quiet and Strong concept.
One of the first things she said was “I really don’t know what this site is for.” A bit later she determined the site was “about shy people and communication.” She ended by commenting that the site would not be helpful for her as she was not introverted and shy, but she supposed it could help “those people.” My first reaction was that this user obviously knows nothing about introversion – introversion and shyness are not the same thing. And actually, this misunderstanding is one of the reasons I created this website – to help introverts and non-introverts come together through a better understanding of introversion… and not be labeled one of “those people.”
But, actually, I am one of those people. I am an introvert. And I have learned to embrace it, rather than trying to run away from my introversion or “get over it” somehow, or pretend to be something I’m not. And my hope in creating this website is to help others embrace their introversion.
It’s been my experience that as I have come to understand myself and my introverted traits — such as the fact that I think deeply, usually think before speaking, sometimes need some alone time, and prefer deep conversations versus small talk — that I no longer feel that I am being “held back” by limitations or paralyzed by fear. For years, I tried to “learn” to be an extrovert. What I didn’t understand was that what I perceived as flaws, were, in reality, some of my greatest strengths. Working with my natural gifts instead of against them, I have become so much more successful than ever before.
I believe that introverts can learn best from other introverts who have a deeper understanding and similar traits. For example, if I want to be better at building relationships, I could learn much better from an introvert who has learned how to do this than reading a book on networking written by an extrovert. The blog articles on Quiet and Strong look at common topics impacting introverts and approach improvement from an introvert’s point of view.
If you are an introvert, you have your own unique gifts and your own set of issues that you feel may be holding you back – whether it’s misunderstanding the way you work best, a lack of self-confidence, or some perceived expectation of how you should be – real or imaginary. My main goal with this site is to help you as an introvert gain a better understanding and acceptance of yourself and learn how to work with those wonderful introverted gifts so you can find success — in your personal life, career, building & maintaining relationships, effective communication, or however you define success for yourself.
Embracing introversion is not about making any excuses for not being my best or getting everything I want out of life. I have learned that if I want to be successful I need to figure out what makes me strong and how I can be my best as an introvert.
I will always be introverted; it is as natural as being right or left handed. The point is to understand what I need, how I work best, and how to let others know what I need and how to work best with me.
What has best helped you understand introversion? What challenges as an introvert do you face? If you are one of “those people” embrace it, and be strong.
*Waterfall Image used in our meme was taken by Izabelha