Today I had the chance to talk to the lovely Alex Pearson, founder of one of the World’s Greatest Bookshops (as voted by Lonely Planet guides) and the Yurt Academy, here in Brighton.
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here’s how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
Oh boy am I hesitant about sharing THIS one: the one in which I visit a medium.
As in, someone who channels spirits.
Especially after last week's yoga one, or any of my other more New Age adventures... because this really takes the biscuit.
And at the same time, I'm certainly not judging anyone who wholeheartedly buys into this stuff, because quite honestly: I don't KNOW. I don't know whether it's possible to channel spirits of the dead, or whether there even is such a thing as spirit or soul.
But boy do I love to explore the question.
I'll preface this with a bit of an explanation: myself and a good friend (hi Rebecca!) have started a new podcast adventure, called the Seeker and the Skeptic.
If you hadn't guessed already, I'm the seeker! Yep, I'm the one standing up for a lot (though not all) of the weird things we investigate, from mediums to astrology to pyramid healing. You should be able to find it in your podcast player, just search the Seeker and the Skeptic.
Anyway, this trip to our local Spiritualist church was part of that investigation, and the plan was to go for something called a 'Demonstration of Mediumship.'
Sounded pretty harmless. I'd seen mediums on TV before, and as a kid, found it captivating... but I rapidly became suspicious. Because, logically, if I was a ghost, why on earth would I be hanging around these people? If I wanted to communicate with someone I loved, I'd surely send the message in the form of something likeable, like a cat or a donkey, not in some creep charging lots of money for the message.
Anywho, we went along, and did not pay a lot of money - it was £3 entry which seemed fair. The church itself looks very unchurchy from the outside, and any listeners from Brighton would likely recognise it's wavey concrete facade.
Inside however, it looked much like a regular church, or at least the entrance before you step into the main room... I'm sure there's a proper word for that but I don't know it. Bad Catholic.
OK so we sat down in a small room, a bit like a chapel, with 30 or so others. I assume they all came believing in spiritualism, or at least mediumship. So we were on our best behaviour: at least I think we were.
The medium was introduced, a woman with a very friendly face, a roundness I associate with a kindly aunt. She began by saying how nervous she was, which made me warm to her further - I know how nerve-wracking it is to speak to a crowd of expectant faces, but can't imagine how intense it is when those faces are expecting you to channel their dead relatives. Yikes.
Anyway, she got to it. She usually started with something like a letter, 'I'm getting an M' or something more obscure, like 'shoes' - though she's often say where the idea came from, like she said she couldn't stop looking at someone's shoes.
The first was a dud - the young girl she spoke to seemed to know nothing about the grandmother that was being channeled. But the next one blew me away in the accuracy of detail.
Whatever was going on, whether the audience were being nice and polite by agreeing with the medium's suggestions, OR there really were some spirits communicating - I did love that the medium always ended with a nice, sweet message.
'Just keep doing what you're doing' or 'Be brave, you are loved' that kind of thing. It can't hurt to hear nice, comforting words like this, regardless of what the source is, right?
Anyway, I had a lovely time - though I'm not sure my skeptic friend was convinced.
Do I recommend going to visit a medium? Um... not if it means investing your life savings, but I do think it's worth seeing these people in the flesh and judging for yourself before you make an assumptions either way. This is why I love skepticism: it never assumes, only questions. A healthy attitude to have in these days.
I have a bit of a personal one today, that comes from a lesson I’ve struggled a lot with learning.
See, some of the stuff I share with you are lessons I’ve learned fairly easily, I see a better way of thinking or doing or being and I change my ways, without too much fuss.
Well, others I’m still learning. And each time I think I’ve got it - I get thrown back on my ass again, like someone telling me to get back in the ring, we’re not done!
Anyway, this lesson is more on that side. A bit of a slippery one, I tend to forget… until I realise I’m feeling all the feels. Exhausted. Frustrated. Resentful. Even mistreated.
But in any case, the only one who is ever mistreating me… is, ME!
OK so the lesson is: It’s OK to NOT do it.
It’s a bit of a weird one, because most of the advice or lessons or ponderings I share with you are actions to take or ways of doing things - but this one, this one is about NOT doing.
It’s about… identifying what you really don’t have to do. Moreover, it’s about dropping the GUILT that comes from not doing the thing.
Let’s get into some real examples.
Going out with friends.
A job from a client.
A collaboration with a fellow creative.
A new morning routine.
In any case, if you were to consult your rational, thinking mind, you’d probably rest on the side of doing the thing, going ahead with it despite your resistance because there are perfectly good reasons to. It will benefit you in the long run. Or it will make someone else happy. Or it will make you money.
All good things!
Unless, you’re soul is telling you otherwise.
OK, I won’t go too far down the esoteric rabbit hole here, but I will admit I believe in some part of us - and it may only be the unconscious mind, parts of our mind that we don’t have conscious awareness of, emotional centres and so on - but whatever you believe, I think most of us have a sense of something that feels, but doesn’t necessarily think. It’s THAT part of me I want to pay attention to more.
Why? Can’t I just overwrite my feelings with my more modern, progressive, thinking mind (the neocortex?) Well, no. Sorry. No matter how advanced you think you are, you’re still subject to the older part of your brain: and ignoring the signals it’s giving you is unlikely to end well.
It usually ends up in the therapists office.
But the good news is, is that this part of us - the soul or the unconscious - is giving us clues about what we should and shouldn’t do. It gives us clues about how we really feel about that group of friends, or what time we should wake up in the morning.
I’m using the word ’should’ here, even though I’m not a fan. The only time I like to use it is in this context: because in my experience, the only thing we should do is pay attention to what ’s best for us - and I know that might sound selfish, but the result of NOT doing what’s best for you is that you are going to be less helpful to those around you, in the long run.
OK so back to these clues we’re getting.
What kind of clues show up when you’re trying to force yourself to do something you don’t, deep down, want to do?
In mild cases, you might just feel a bit annoyed or less joyful than usual when you think about doing it. You might - unconsciously - procrastinate instead of doing it.
You might lose sleep over it. You might feel resentful to people involved. I turn into a moody little bitch.
In extreme, cases that extend over time, you might become chronically ill. Yeah. I’ve read some evidence to suggest that this is the kind of thing that leads to chronic illnesses, and while I’m definitely no expert, I do respect those who are doing research into this and the connections our mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing have.
OK so, before I start scaring you shitless - let’s go through the protocol I’ve been using to help you STOP doing the things you don’t really want to do.
So the first step in saying no to something is of course, to work out what that thing is. It’s also the part where you have to determine whether it’s truly something that you don’t want to do and isn’t in alignment with your most ‘true’ self - OR is it just plain old fear rearing it’s head.
I won’t pretend this is easy, and no one but you can know what’s best - so I’d steer clear of advice from others on this one, UNLESS you take all the advice you get with a very hefty grain of salt. All the advice you get is telling you about the advice GIVER - not about you, so you can see it’s usually irrelevant. However, if you want to gather advice from others - particularly those who have been in a similar position before or whose opinions have proved useful in the past - feel free to do so.
One thing that can be helpful is to ask someone for advice, then check your response to what they say. The resistance or relief you feel will be a dead giveaway.
And that’s how this step works: that’s how you identify what’s not working. You feel inside for what brings up resistance OR what brings up relief.
A question I like to ask myself is: how would I feel AFTER I do (or don’t do) this thing. If it’s relief, then I follow through. If it’s ickiness, then I do something else. Asking yourself how you’ll feel AFTER is often very different to how you’ll feel DURING the thing. If you’re only paying attention to how you feel DURING something, you’ll likely be steered by your fear, not by your true self.
For example, public speaking. 9/10 times during the speaking gig I feel like CRAP. Anxious, insecure, judged, sweaty - all of it. But after? I feel amazing. So 9/10 times, I know it’s right for me to speak, despite the fear I have before and during.
OK so take some time to identify the stuff that makes you feel ICKY.
Now you know what you don’t want to do, it might be you have to have some difficult conversations. It might be telling a client you can’t take on their crappy project.
It might be telling a friend you can’t go to their house party. It might be more serious than these things, but hopefully you get the drift.
In any case, I want to encourage you not to bottle out at this step! This is the one that might require face-to-face communication, and some seriously uncomfortable moments. But keep in mind: this too shall pass.
No matter how badly someone takes your news, please be aware that the good folk will stick around if they’re worth your time and energy. The people who aren’t good for you will fall away. But this only works IF you’re true to yourself. Speak your truth, take the fallout, and wait to see what (and who) sticks by you, regardless of your truth.
I’ve got a whole mini-course on boundaries in the Creative Introvert Academy, but to summarise: boundaries are basically mental agreements you have with yourself, and sometimes others, about the world around you. So, a boundary for me might be: I don’t work in-house for design agencies for less than a certain amount of cash or over a maximum amount of days.
You might have personal ones, like you don’t speak to your mum on the phone more than once a week because it takes over your life or makes you feel like shit otherwise. In some cases you’ll tell others, in some cases you won’t: be your own judge of that. The important thing is that you are aware of your own boundaries, and keep the deal with yourself going forward.
I learnt this one recently from Rob Bell, who has an awesome podcast.
He was talking about having a rhythm that for him is something like every 6 months of work, he needs a solid break, I can’t remember how long for but it’s substantial, a month or more.
And that just applies to work; a rhythm could also apply to socialising or exercise or other parts of your life.
For you, may be your party rhythm is once a week, or once a month - or if you’re me, once every blue moon.
This does take some tweaking, but once you start to spot your rhythm, knowing it is invaluable. I know I need social contact every 3 days because if I don’t, I turn into a genuine hermit: I find it difficult to form proper sentences, and my personal hygiene starts to suffer. Not good! but I also know that if I have social events back to back for more than 3 days, I become exhautsed and grouchy.
But when I figured that out, I made changes. I make sure to have some kind of social event planned even if it’s a yoga class or a coffee chat every 3 days or so.
Part of this process is making regular check ins with yourself, to figure out if you’re staying true to your needs, managing your energy and to remind yourself of what you’re learning. If you had a really exhausting week, reflect on that. What got in your way? What did you feel pressure to do? What can you change next week?
Your checkins don’t have to be daily, though I do journal every morning without fail, they could be weekly. And they don’t have to be in writing, you might prefer to talk to your cat or your partner or a friend about how you’re doing.
Or you could do this as a meditation: getting into your body and figuring out from there how you’re doing and what you might need more or less of.
This is a process - and often, a messy one. There might be some sleepless nights, difficult conversations, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, broken promises, and so on.
BUT. I promise you: this is worth it. Because - and yes I’m going to say it - YOU’RE worth it. You’re worth respecting! That means, YOU have to respect your needs.
That means: you might have to say NO, despite what others want you to do.
So. Just know it will pay off. You’ll feel so, so much better when you’re living from a place that feels true, authentic and leaves you feeling energised and empowered.
Ahhh trust me - it really does feel good.
OR you could ignore everything I’ve just said, because… I’t OK NOT TO DO IT, including what I’m saying!
This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, from a mention in my weekly Museletter, early access and previews of new products and access to monthly workshops usually reserved for members of the League of Creative Introverts only! Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.
Oh yes, I will not deny this one is a bit left field. I mean, how often have I mentioned yoga on this blog or podcast, ever?
When I told some friends that I was going to be taking a YTT 200 - or a yoga teacher training course that leaves me minimally qualified to teach yoga - well, it's fair to say they were quite surprised.
They were polite about it, but I was met with comments like 'wouldn't that be like me, someone who can't speak Japanese, deciding to spend a few weekends learning and then start teaching?'
Which, is understandable. I'm not the kind of yogi you see on Instagram standing on their head, with the sun setting in the background...
But I have actually been practising for about 6 years.
Yeah. It's been a fair old while, and even though I hadn't considered the possibility of being able to teach until earlier this year, yoga has been a big part of my life.
In fact, it was the thing that I attribute to sparking my self development journey, and the thing that pulled me through the darkest times back when I worked in London at an office.
Anyway, I'll save the full story of why I decided to take the training for another day, but let's just say I was inspired by my trip to Peru to spend more time helping people face to face, then from behind my laptop screen.
I also believe strongly in cultivating group environments that are 100% introvert friendly - because I know how valuable this has been in my own life, and how I feel in a group that is NOT introvert friendly.
One of my Leaguers (in the League of Creative Introverts) Kesse Hodge is flying the flag on making yoga super inclusive and accessible, so if you are interested in more of that, do check out change.yoga.
Ok so let's get to the training! A quick overview, this course is going to take up 3 full days each month till January, which isn't a big time investment, but for those weekends: it's pretty intense for this introvert!
I haven't spent a full 9-5 with a group of strangers in a closed setting since... working in that office in London, which I left back in 2013.
So yeah, I was nervous about how I'd fare, energy-wise.
I was also nervous about my yoga ability. Yeah, I've been practising for a while, but mostly... from Youtube. Not exactly the most disciplined practise, though I do owe so much to Yoga with Adriene.
Anyway, I got my big girl yoga pants on, and went with an open mind.
And I was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, everyone on the course is bloody lovely. Of course they are - they do yoga!
And the teachers, of which there are 3, are all amazing in their own way. One of them is like a big sister, one of them is like a mum, and one is like the cool aunty who was likely a hippy back in the day.
So yeah, good people, a good start.
Then there's the learning.
I roughly break this down to anatomy - of which there is a LOT - so I have a newfound respect for yoga teachers, at least ones trained in anatomy. Then there's philosophy, which I was honestly VERY skeptical about. I mean, as soon as I hear the word 'chakra' in a yoga class, I cringe.
But I will say our teacher made the subject super interesting, regardless of what you choose to believe. Then there's the practical stuff: how to teach each pose, and actually doing yoga, of course.
Which it's fair to say I'm struggling with, but the more I do it, the more I love it and - I'm already seeing improvements now I understand the underlying mechanics of each pose.
Ugh! You guys: this is SO fascinating for me.
I've also been pleasantly surprised with how much of a loud mouth in class I am. I think part of this is coming from my own sympathies with the teacher. I know how it feels to ask a question in a workshop and get NO response, so I'm quick to raise my hand if no one else is to ease that pain.
I also think this has a lot to do with how comfortable I feel with the other people in the group, nothing like school where I did NOT feel comfortable. And then there's my overall passion for the subject: again, nothing like most classes in school.
Of course, I'm still thinking about my energy. I was wiped out after the first day, and could do very little when I got home. But I'm not feeling cranky-drained, so that's good. I'm making sure to get off on my own during the lunch break, which seems to restore my energy somewhat.
And I discovered a homemade Bounty bar that the cafe nearby makes, which is definitely helping with my energy ;)
There's only been one faux-pas so far: that was our first trial of teaching a class. Actually, we only had to teach a sun salutation A, which is like 2-3 minutes long. but I of course had to have notes, and insisted on reading them, quite blatantly. Teacher told me off, kindly, but enough to make me feel a bit shit.
I know I need to get over my fear of 'winging it'; I know I can teach without notes, I know I could do this podcast without notes but... still, my notes are a crutch and one I have promised myself I WILL work on.
We're all work in progress, and if I'm honest, I don't mind that. I like having something to work on, something to improve at, something to learn.
I guess that's why I'm having so much fun on this course.
So my fun rating is:
I'm hardly going to recommend all of you to go out and take a YTT course, but if you are into yoga already, may be consider going to a workshop or a longer class, local to you. It's amazing how learning more about the practise can really boost your enthusiasm for it.
I'll be sharing more of my yoga journey at YogisWhoShave.com and on Instagram at @yogiswhoshave
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Cat Byrne of Gatto Web, someone who I have a lot in common with - and not just the name.
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a 3 hour workshop on Botanical Illustration with the Yurt Academy.
Honestly I was a bit nervous before I went, partly because I've never attempted a formal illustration class, though I've done a fair amount of life drawing. Also, botanical illustration is no joke! If you can picture a traditional botanical illustration, you know it's super detailed, highly realistic in most cases, and very delicate almost painstaking work.
Whilst I've always been a fan of detailed work, I'm not exactly the most patient when it comes to art - so never really got far with more detailed, delicate stuff.
So with my insecurities aside, I went along anyway.
Another thing that added to my nerves was our teacher, or Yurt Keeper - Cherry Denman, who is a proper real-life, full-time illustrator - who's published books and worked on a book for one of my favourite TV shows, Q.I.
The idea of embarrassing myself in front of her wasn't too appealing, but fortunately for me she was a lovely woman with a great sense of humour, super encouraging to all of us, and a damn good teacher in my opinion.
We started the class with some simple (in theory) drawing exercises. The idea here was to show us the importance of looking. Trying to draw a bicycle from memory will do that for you.
Then we practised our pencil control - drawing cones, spheres, tubes, practising pencil pressure and shading - the lot.
It reminded me that no matter how long we've been drawing for, there's nothing like going back to the basics and getting warmed up again for taking your work to the next level.
OK so then we got onto our 'work of art'...
I selected a nice leaf, the name of which I've of course forgotten... it looked a bit like a fig leaf (to me) - anyway, if you can identify it - please let me know!
We started by drawing, which was my favourite part. Actually painting it was another matter, but I was pleasantly surprised by the end result.
Cherry came around to each of us regularly to give us pointers and encouragement. The whole group seemed to be enjoying it, but I might have been projecting my own enjoyment onto the room - I had that much to go around.
I mean, when do we ever get a chance to sit down and really draw, or paint? Unless it's your job, but even then - you're making art on behalf of someone else. There's a point to it.
This felt much more like art for art's sake. Like what ladies of leisure would do in Victorian times. It was also nice to do it with others - to laugh about our mistakes and egg each other on.
If you can't tell, I had a very nice time. I definitely wasn't in my comfort zone to begin with, but by the end I had decided that I was going to take on Botanical Illustration as my next hobby... not that I need another one, but hey - it's good to have back up plans.
The perfect balance of challenge, pleasure and reward. I would highly recommend going to a similar art class if you have any local options, or even checking out some of the workshops offered by the Yurt Academy if you're in the UK.
Oh and if any of you are botanical illustrators, get in touch and send me a link to your work! I'd love to learn more about this beautiful art form.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about introversion is that we are all shy, quiet and social recluses. It’s just not true!
In fact, both introverts AND extroverts can be shy - it really all depends on other social factors and life experiences.
In short, introversion/extroversion is more to do with where you get your energy from. Introverts tend to get their energy recharged by spending time alone, whereas extroverts tend to get their energy from being around people and interacting with others.
OK - with that cleared up, I’d like to move onto another myth - and this is one that I’ve held in the past - clung onto it, in fact.
And that is: that if you’re an introvert, you’re better off doing as much as you can alone. I took this energy from spending time alone thing SERIOUSLY.
Five years ago I quit my job as a web designer in a busy little London agency in order to go freelance. I wanted to work for me, myself and I. The less people I had to deal with - the better.
I was also under the impression that I would get clients and commissions purely from people finding me online, through my fancy website.
I sat back, and waited for the jobs to come in.
And before long… I started to panic. It turns out, my theory of just attracting clients through my website was not going to fly. I actually had to go out there and meet other people. Yikes.
Now, I don’t know about you but I am pretty allergic to networking. A bunch of strangers standing around, pushing business cards in each others face, totally bored and uninterested - most people just desperate to get a new lead. Pretty gross.
This creates a bit of a dilemma, if you’re an introvert trying to build a business or go self employed. If the one thing you need is people - connections, recommendations, referrals - but you only have so much energy for these networking events - what do you do?
I struggled with this for quite a while until I - accidentally - realised there were other ways to meet people, connect on an authentic level and actually get a lot of new business. All without having to play ‘extrovert’ or be something you’re not.
Now, I’d love to share with you the three discoveries I made in my years of experimentation. These are the discoveries that led to me ultimately being booked out, collaborating with people who are top of their game, and doing things that I couldn’t have fathomed doing alone - like co-hosting Wildfire Women, a live event for ambitious, creative women coming up this October.
Ok so without further ado… let me share the first of these three discoveries:
I grew up thinking that community was something for people who lived in small villages, not for someone who grew up in London suburbs. In the same way, I assumed that as a small business owner, I could do everything myself.
I assumed that as an introvert, I was better off alone, and that anyone doing the same work as me was competition. This mindset is a scarcity mindset. It assumes there isn’t enough of the pie to go around.
Not only is this totally untrue - it is actually harmful to hold this belief. It prevents you from getting the support that emotionally we ALL need, regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
Having a community of like minds who you can meet for coffee, co-work with, bounce ideas off, get questions answered and get encouraging words of support is so, so vital - especially if you’re attempting to build a business or take on a big project.
And I’ve found that the more you cultivate a community, the more opportunities arise - the pie starts to expand, not get gobbled up.
When I moved to Brighton, I didn’t go to intimidating networking events - I went to Meetup groups - if you’re familiar with Meetup.com you might know there are tonnes to choose from - something for everyone.
And if there isn’t one that suits you? Start one! I started my own creative meetup group and before long, I had formed solid friendships, gained clients and contacts and I did it all in a way that felt suited to my introverted tendencies.
So, have a think about how you might be able to join in in your local community - it might be yoga classes, mum’s coffee mornings, creative writing groups - have a look around and give it a try. I promise they’re much nicer than most formal networking groups and you never know what might come from it.
Ok next up, discovery two is…
Something else that came out of my dabbling in community is collaboration. This is the combined effort of two or more people, for a mutually beneficial cause.
Again, my introversion made me very skeptical about collaboration - i figured if you want something done right, you’ve got o do it all by yourself.
How wrong I was. For one, I was missing the fact that I didn’t have all the skills required to do many of the big dream projects on my bucketlist, like create a live event.
I so badly wanted to create an event that was introvert friendly, that inspired us without leaving us feeling slightly depressed because the speakers were so perfect and so different from us that we can’t possibly soar to their levels of success. I wanted an event where I would feel welcomed, comfortable and included. I wanted to be able to talk to the speakers, learn from them and ask questions and walk away feeling ready and raring to take action, and make my wildest dreams happen.
Oh - but I knew doing this alone would never happen. I needed an extrovert, someone with a very different skillset to mine, and someone I could get on with and giggle with even when things got tough.
Amazingly, I did find this person, Thea Anderson - who you heard from on this episode of the podcast, but I would never have found Thea had I not been open to community and collaboration.
I had to let go of my control as a self-sufficient introverted solopreneur, and be open to sharing the workload, and admitting where I needed help.
The result was hosting a phenomenal live event last year that was everything we had dreamed of, and coming back this year once again to level up even more, at this year’s Wildfire Women.
Where in your life can you share the load? Where can you collaborate? This doesn’t have to be in business or work related - it might be in your personal life. May be it means asking for help when in the past you’d try to take on even more and struggle with the load. Who in your life has complementary strengths and skills to you? Have a think and may be ask them if they’d be up for joining forces.
Finally, we have my third discovery:
Now, one of the things that kept me stuck in my lonely loop of doing everything myself was… I was afraid to ask. I was afraid to communicate what I needed to anyone else.
Without this piece, communication, you’re unlikely to get very far with community or collaboration - because no one will know what your dreams are, what you can offer or how you can help each other.
It’s true: good communication does require a level of vulnerability that many of us, introvert or extrovert, do struggle with. It feels like we’re laying down our armour as we prepare for a reply that isn’t what we hoped for.
Of course, no one says this better than Brené Brown:
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”
And communicating our needs is anything but a weakness. What I’ve discovered time an time again is the pleasant surprise that: people on the whole, really like to help. People really want to connect and they want to collaborate.
When you give someone the opportunity to join forces with you, anything is possible.
More on asking for introverts >>
OK so community, collaboration and communication - my three discoveries which hopefully will be of some help to you, regardless of what your big dreams are.
And as I mentioned, we’ll be showing what comes from these three C’s very soon, at Wildfire Women happening on October 6th, in London.
We’ll have incredible speakers you’re no doubt familiar with: Psychologies editor-in-chief, Suzy Walker, as well as Cate Mackenzie, Mary Fenwick and so, so many more.
Like I said, we make a big effort to cultivate an environment that suits both introverts and extroverts, we’ll make sure you feel welcome and you’ll walk away with real advice and action steps to apply to your own calling.
I've been in two minds trying to decide what fun I could share with you this week - you might have noticed I missed last week's fun update, and that was because I was away in Menorca (a small Balearic island) and had a pretty impossible wifi connection.
So my debate was whether or not I should tell you about my trip to Menorca, or tell you about what I did over the weekend (host a creative meetup).
The creative meetup won out, because Menorca was... well... you don't need to hear about me reading by the pool or my dislike of hot weather - which, if you read my Museletter you are probably very sick of after the summer we had.
So: the meetup!
Now, I feel like I've mentioned meetups in the past - specifically the kind you can find and create on Meetup.com, which is the platform I use. Not affiliated with them, and honestly I'm not a fan of them as a company because their customer service SUCKS, but for someone who is interested in meeting new people and doing new things - it's a pretty great option.
OK so I might have also told you that when I first moved to Brighton from London, I was at a bit of a loss. I realised my introversion had its limits, and my tendency to hermit myself had increased to the point of vitamin D definiciency. I'm kidding - redheads make extra vitamin D so that wasn't a problem.
But I was definitely craving the company of people - even if it was for a few hours a week.
I also wanted to do something creative that didn't involve the laptop... which, if you're anything like me, isn't so easy to motivate yourself to do. I needed accountability.
So yes, I created a meetup group. This was called Creative Cafe, and consisted of a Saturday morning, 11-1pm, in a cafe (or a pub actually) and anyone who came was welcomed, but also left alone if they wanted to work on whatever creative project they wanted.
I actually handed over ownership of the group some months back - I moved further away, to Hove, and ultimately needed a break.
But since my energy has picked up again, I've been craving my weekend morning creativity and social boost, and so... I started another group.
So my new group is called Caffeinated Creatives and just like with Creative Cafe, I've made sure to do things on my terms, and remember that people who want the same will be drawn to it, and people who don't... won't. That's my first tip for meetups: suit yourself, at least at the beginning. There's no point in doing something you're uncomfortable with, because YOU won't want to go!
I also chose a time I'm usually free, and at my creative peak: 10:30 on a Sunday morning. I limited this one to just 1.5 hours, with time afterwards put aside in case anyone wants to book in a quick Q+A session with me and of course people can stay at the cafe for as long as they like.
I'm not trying to pitch this to you because I know most of you aren't anywhere near Brighton, but if you are, I'll stick the link in the shownotes in case you do want to pop down on Sunday.
So the first one went very well: I met some lovely people, writers, artists, even a life coach - and all were super friendly. I chatted a bit, but I also got some mandala drawing done - yes, still my go-to creative outlet, especially if I want to be able to chat and work at the same time. That said, I'm going to accommodate my fellow writers as well, and make sure we've always got a quiet table for quiet work - and any hardcore introverts who want a time out. Which may sometimes be me.
All of this is to try and make the point that I often come back to: balance. We introverts do have a certain quota for alone time to fill, and a certain quota for people time. I truly believe there are only extreme rare cases when someone is a true hermit or does better off in a cave in the mountains... and I know I'm not one of them.
And that isn't easy: because with the rest of us, we need to work out this balance, and honour it. Sometimes that goes a bit wrong and we overdo our solo time or our social time, and need to address that. That's why a meetup like this is so great for me anyway, because I can use it to balance those needs - and get my creative needs met too.
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Jean Smith, social and cultural anthropologist and social intelligence coach.
This podcast is BY FAR the one I’ve most hesitated to publish because… I get coached. I don’t get coached on something you might expect either - not a topic we normally tackle on the podcast, but one I’ve been really hoping to, because it undoubtedly effects pretty much everyone at least if you’re… single.
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a lamb frolicking in sunshine (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
Have you ever been asked what your superpower would be, if you were a superhero? I always struggled to pick between being able to fly and being invisible. Typically introverted answers: picking the two superpowers that would let me escape extroverted situations…
More than being a fun game to play when you’re six, this is a great question to ask yourself throughout life. Your superpowers don’t have to be extraordinary or win you any awards, let alone save the world… they are simply the abilities you have that come easier to you than most, and that energise you more than most.
Individually, they may not strike you as special at all – in fact, until you hear this podcast episode, you might not be aware of them at all – but when you do identify them and start to harness them more, you start to see evidence of your true capabilities.
Introverts tend to be especially critical of themselves, because of our tendency to focus inward so much. Unsurprisingly, treating yourself too critically can easily reduce your self esteem. Low self esteem makes life a lot more challenging. In short: you want to bolster your self esteem, not tear it down.
It does serve us to be critical when it comes to honing our skills; being able to accurately assess where you’re at is one of the core ingredients to getting to where you want to go. But there will be nothing to assess and improve at without first acknowledging what your superpowers are.
Not sure what your Superpowers are yet? That’s OK: here are some ideas to get the ball rolling, based on what we know about the nature of introverts.
This is particularly helpful when it comes to communication with others. It means an introvert doesn’t give too much away and can be more deliberate and diplomatic in their speech.
It also makes us less quick to make judgements – which, when done without much thought, can land an extrovert in hot water.
However, overthinking can lead to unnecessary anxiety. Anxiety about speaking your mind can mean you appear closed off and distant to others and hinder real connection forming, which is vital for trust and forming long-lasting relationships.
What they say has gone through a natural mental filter, which tests how accurate, important and appropriate something is.
This means that a 1-to-1 conversation can be very rich and full of depth, leading to more meaningful friendships.
The downside to this is that it takes a while for our thoughts to mature and develop to a state where we’re ready to let them out into the world. This is definitely a drawback in heated, fast-paced debates.
It also means on the whole we’re averse to small talk - again, not the best at dinner parties or networking events.
You can pay attention to those you are speaking to. Which is great if you’re speaking to one person, but even at a larger scale this can be picked up. For example a lecture in a theatre will often be able to notice if there’s someone paying true attention to them: and this will mean a lot to them.
The problem is for introverts who in turn, also need to focus quite intensely in order to get a good understanding of something. This is particularly true for highly sensitive introverts who struggle to maintain focus in an overstimulating environment.
As a result of our focus, introverts also make for great at paying attention to others, making for great listeners. There is a difference between passive listening: which usually looks like someone who is purely being quiet out of politeness, and is really just waiting for their conversational partner to finish speaking. Active listening however looks like someone who has all there attention focussed on you, and who is getting ready not to just speak their own opinions or to steer the conversation in their own self serving direction, but to dig deeper into the last thing you said.
The downside is introverts can also pay too much attention to what others are thinking about themselves: which can cause stress and anxiety when doing something that exposes you to the public.
Compared to extroverts, who very much rely on the responses and feedback of others, introverts are less concerned with their outside world. This is particularly true for the more left-brain, analytical introverts (usually ISTJs, INTJs, ISTPs, INTPs - check out Marti Olsen Laney for more on left-brain introversion.)
This gives introverts greater ability to be selfless: to create from a place that is not driven by vanity or muddied by the opinions of others.
They have the ability to tune into their communication partners and this is done through intuitive strength rather than using any sleazy influence tactics.
Mirror neurones are a real thing: and both introverts and extroverts have them but could it be that introverts, particularly highly sensitive people, are more able to tune into them?
Empathy is a great skill, whether it comes naturally to you or you learn to develop it. It means people are quicker to trust you and feel less threatened by you.
Now we've talked about the generic introvert superpowers, let’s talk about your unique Superpowers - the ones that set you apart from the next creative introvert. You might have some or even all of the introvert superpowers, this isn’t where your Superpowers end. You have your own unique Superpowers, that distinguish you from the next creative introvert and that will make you the one fit for your life purpose.
Not sure what your unique Superpowers are? That’s understandable. One of the mistakes people make when identifying their Superpowers is that they immediately think of their abilities in areas that society tends to deem the most important. You might think of your academic history… and how difficult you found maths. You might think of sporting achievements… and remember you were always picked last for teams. You might think of your workplace history… and remember how you always got passed by for promotions.
In focussing on the big, obvious (and actually very insignificant) roles society has suggested you play, you end up missing the Superpowers you do have in other areas.
It’s these little moments that bring us joy, boost our energy and feel so easy to us that point to our actual Superpowers.
1) Have a Superpower brainstorm by jotting ideas down from the following questions:
• What are you really good at?
• What comes naturally for you?
• What activities make you feel energised?
• What quality do you bring to an activity?
• What do you get asked for help with by others?
2) Put your Superpowers to use
It’s one thing to have a nice list of things you can keep in your wallet when you need a pick-me-up (which I do recommend) but it’s another to actually put these to use as much as possible in your daily life.
Now you have your list (you can also add the typical introvert Superpowers too if they resonated with you) start to list real life ways you can use these Superpowers.
For example, if one of my Superpowers is being attentive, I know I can bring this to occasions when I meet new people. These aren’t usually the most introvert-friendly events, but if I know I have my Superpower in my back pocket, I have more reassurance that I can use this to my advantage.
Think about how these Superpowers can help you through day-to-day life as well as the more challenging occasions we might face. Try following the sentence structure below to work through each Superpower:
I can use the Superpower of ________ when I _________
Go one step further and think of an event or upcoming project where you can really put your Superpower/s to use. Make a point of using this as your intention in going into that event/project (often a much better way of setting goals than focussing purely on the end result.)
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Lucy Lucraft, fellow blogger, podcaster, travel lover and Brightonian.
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a lamb frolicking in sunshine (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
Brighton Pavilion is arguably the most stunning landmark in Brighton, and honestly quite underrated. I remember visiting Brighton a lot as a kid, long before I moved here, and never once went inside the exotic palace, I only ever wandered through the gardens.
I admit I did finally go last year, but I’ve always meant to return for another look. It’s a luxury you have when you live somewhere: it’s not a one time thing. I’d like to think if I lived in Barcelona, I’d go weekly to the Sagrada Familia… just to see what else I noticed with each trip.
So mid-week, I took myself on a little field trip, partly as a reminder that being your own boss means you can do ridiculous things like that, and experience that strange mixture of guilt, appreciation and smugness.
That said, Brighton was mega busy - and all the kooks were out, despite it being a weekday afternoon. I’m talking someone walking a cat on a leash, two people in bare feet, sunglasses you’d only find in fancy dress shops and so on. Their idea of fun, I guess.
OK so the Pavilion. It isn’t cheap, at £13.50 for an adult. But when I think about the upkeep of the place, I don’t resent the charge too much. I think we’re spoilt in the UK because so many of our cultural attractions - museums and galleries - are free. You come to expect it.
A little history of the Pavilion, in the 1780s, George, Prince of Wales was recommended he take up lodging in the seaside town of Brighton. The idea was the sea air would do him some good - he was not a healthy dude.
He took to Brighton like many of us creative rebels do: enjoying the extravagant fashion, arts, architecture, drinking, womanising and gambling opportunities the city offers. Not much has changed then. Somehow, he was given the money to transform his originally humble lodging house into a modest villa, which he furnished with Chinese export furniture and beautiful hand-painted wallpapers.
In 1815, George hired John Nash to transform the villa, growing it to the ostentatious palace we see today. This guy did not do things by halves - George wanted somewhere to throw some seriously epic parties, and indulge his love for comfort and beauty.
There’s loads more to the history of the Pavilions, which I’ll link to here, but one thing I love and have to mention is that during WWI, it was transformed into a temporary hospital for Indian soldiers. I kind of love how George’s somewhat selfish and extravagant tastes and all the money and resources that were piled into this structure, all got put to work: it was finally used for something that did some good, something that mattered, something that saved lives.
Another notable event that needs to be seen to be believed is the impact the big storm we had in 1987 - the great chandelier in the music room was dislodged and basically fell through the floor. It looks surreal.
Which brings me onto my favourite room, which is without a doubt the music room. It has dragons carved everywhere you look, the ludicrous chandelier which has all been nicely restored, and this ornate and luxurious carpet which warrants a sign ‘please remove stilettos before walking on carpet’ which I love. It really is a feast for the eyes.
You also get a nice little history of the palace in video format, halfway through, which I love. For whatever reason I’ve never taken to audio guides - I can never get the buggers to work - and museum captions always leave me feeling a bit flat and uninspired. But video is usually really well done, so I appreciate that. Plus it’s nice to sit down.
I typically sped through the tour, and what took me around half an hour, could easily take you half a day if you did it properly - there really is a lot to see, and you can stop for tea midway.
I also love the gift shop which doubles up as a tea room - can’t have a spot of culture without some consumerism, right?
All in all, I rate the Brighton Pavilion a 7/10. A decent way to spend a bit of your day, not exactly adrenaline-pumping but good clean fun.
Let’s say you’ve been at this game for a while now. You might have even been listening to The Creative Introvert Podcast since it began, way back at the start of 2017. You might have even been doing some of the stuff I’ve been recommending. Taking action, journalling, finding a supportive community, showing your work.
But. Things aren’t moving as quickly as you hoped. In fact, they’ve stalled. They might look like they’re even moving backwards, like when planets go into what astrologers call ‘retrograde’. Planets never actually go backwards by the way, it just looks like it does from our perspective.
And that’s actually a great analogy here: I promise you, no matter what it looks like, you’re not going backwards. Everything that happens is more data. More information for you to use and move forward real soon.
But I’ll admit it might look bad.
You might have set a goal months ago, a SMART goal: it was specific, measurable, actionable, realistic AND time bound. Or so you thought. That deadline has come and gone and you haven’t achieved that goal.
No doubt, that sucks. As an avid goal setter, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve missed the mark. And it sucks. It does. I won’t try and sugar coat that one.
The only upside - and actually, it’s quite a big upside - is that in every case, in every missed goal or disappointment - I learned something or I grew in some way - more confidence, more skilis, or just something totally batshit crazy came out of left field.
So yes, there’s the silver lining. But more importantly, what are those lessons that we can learn in our failures, disappointments and mistakes?
Here are a collection of my lessons, that I’ve learned from these times, and hopefully they can help you, should you find that you’re not making progress. You can return to this checklist and get to the root of the problem that’s playing out, and hopefully find yourself an antidote to your deceleration.
This is something that happens a lot to some of us creatives, particularly the highly imaginative, intuitive types. You might be an INFP on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The Mystical Dreamer, if you’ve taken my Creative Type Quiz. You love big pictures. Thinking big lights you up - the details can come later, right?
Well… Sometimes, my fellow dreamers, we need to buckle down and actually look at those pesky details. We need clarity. I know that can seem boring, even redundant - I mean, we know the future is uncertain, don’t we? Doesn’t art, true creativity, originate from the darkness?
The problem with this blurry thinking - or feeling - is that it makes focussing taking action and measuring our results really, really hard. How can you tell you aren’t making progress if you don’t know what the fuck you want??
You don’t get into a taxi without telling the driver where to go. Or get into an Uber without setting the destination first, I guess. You certainly can’t yell at the driver for not taking you to where you want to go if they don’t know.
There are times for winging it, and going with the flow, but there are also times for getting super clear on what you want to do, be or have - and only THEN can you be a fair judge of where you’re at.
Check out episodes:
Goal Getting For Introverts Part 1
Goal Getting For Introverts Part 2
7 Reasons You Might Not Be Achieving Your Creative Goals
Frog? You want us to eat frogs!? Well, apparently they’re a delicacy but I do want to respect the vegans out there and stress the point that this frog is indeed metaphorical. It’s actually a reference to the book, ‘Eat That Frog’ by Brian Tracy, personal-development extraordinaire, who talks about an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day.
"The idea is to use ‘eat that frog’ as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day - the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life - Eat That Frog shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organise your day. You’ll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done."
Other great books on this are The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, a book I both praise AND attack - and I’ll link to my reasons for that here - but I can sum this up here:
You need to get suuuuper clear on your priorities here. And really, I mean priority - your ONE thing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and again, but having one point of focus doesn’t mean you don’t do anything else - it just means it’s the one thing you don’t sacrifice FOR anything else. Got it?
So for the last 8 months my book has been my frog, and I’m happy to say is at first-ish draft stage - but I certainly haven’t been doing ONLY this.
What I’ve done is made it my daily priority. I’ve promised myself one hour, in the morning, in a coffee shop, 5 days a week. That’s it. That’s my ONE thing. The deal I’ve made with myself is that NOTHING can get in the way of that. And I won’t lie - it’s been tough. And it wa much tougher before I got clearer on this priority.
When writing a book was just one of my many dreams, it simply wasn’t happening. Of course more urgent or more exciting things took precedent, and of course the book got delayed. As soon as I committed to this small but consistent daily book-writing session, I started making PROGRESS.
So go on, eat that frog!
Oh boy this is a bugger. Self-sabotage. We all have our reasons as to why we sabotage ourselves: just know that this is SUPER common and SUPER annoying.
I cover this more in depth in episode #37: Self Sabotage, Excuses and Procrastination (Oh My) but since recording that episode, I’ve learned a bit more about my own inner saboteur, so I’ll share some more advanced level stuff with you now.
Like… What if you saw your inner saboteur as a friend? A shitty friend may be, but one with the best intentions. I like using the analogy of Chuckie in the Rugrats: he was such a wet blanket! And I always had to pretend to be him if we played Rugrats because of the hair.
As annoying as he was, Chuckie was only ever trying to protect his best buddy Tommy and the others. As creatives, we are constantly taking risks. We risk people judging us, we risk rejection, we risk wasting time, energy, money, resources, we risk letting ourselves and others down.
If I’m being really honest with you: these aren’t just risks. They’re CERTAINTIES, if you decide to play this game for real.
The more we play the game, the bigger the risks get. Wouldn’t it be safer, to stay at level 1? Chuckie would likely say yes. And I bet your inner saboteur has the smart idea to keep you at level 1, where it’s safe and you can handle the bad guys.
If you aren’t making progress, there’s a good chance you’re payng too much attention to your inner scaredy cat - and I want to encourage you to listen to your inner courageous cat! Yeah. May be make a wrist band: What Would Courageous Cat Do?
Of course, this doesn’t mean ignoring the voice that keeps you safe, it just means practising both. See what happens when you listen to the one that sounds brave, even a bit foolhardy. Just see what happens.
Again, even if you risk something and fall on your face, you’ll have learned something. You’ll know what didn’t work, and you’ll have a clearer idea of what to do next time. That is in fact moving forward, making much more progress than you would have done if you’d have stayed stuck where you were, with Chuckie your inner saboteur.
In the words of Julia Cameron,
"Crazymakers are those personalities that create storm centers. They are often charismatic, frequently charming… and for the creative person in their vicinity, they are enormously destructive.”
Crazymakers are the people in your life who, even if they also mean well, are just keeping you small, tired and fed up.
Naturally, if you’re trying to make serious progress in your creative career or any life area for that matter, and someone close to you isn’t… it’s going to be hard for them. You’re constantly highlighting where they’re falling short. And naturally, they’re going to want to take you down to their level, even if they aren’t aware of it consciously.
I had a crazy maker in my life once, and my biggest mistake was letting it go on for so long. In hindsight, I can see that she didn’t mean to be stifling, and I’ll admit I played my role in feeding her dependency. I let myself stay down, stay small, in order to accomodate her ego and be a classic people pleaser.
Can you relate?
If so, it might be time to start getting super clear on your boundaries. If your crazy maker is always dragging you out to the pub and encouraging you to stay out and get another round in, and then the next day you’re too hungover to get up early and work on that creative project… then you know what you have to do. Check your prioriities, and make it clear. Be honest with yourself, and with them.
I’ll link to my favourite episode on boundaries and handling crazy makers here.
Oooh, this is a harsh one. I kind of hated this lesson when I first learned it, and trust me I’ve had to learn it a few times before I softened to it and actually learned to accept it.
There are some things in life we think we want. And may be we do want them, a good amount. But. They come with sacrifices. Oh yeah - I might have forgot to tell you that one. This stuff we want? Our creative dreams and goals? They come at a sacrifice.
Which is totally fine, in fact it’s a really good deal, when we want something enough and we’re willing to pay the price. But… if the price is higher than our desire? Agh. You’ve got yourself a problem.
I experienced this in my bout as a pet portrait artist. You’ve probably heard bits of this story before, but in short: my dream, what I thought I wanted, to draw people’s fur babies for a living, sounded SO great!
Until I started doing it. I realised quite quickly that for me, it was destroying my love for what was my favourite past-time, like a sledgehammer to fine china.
I realised it was something I loved, but the price to pay - it wasn’t worth it. Whereas web design or writing or podcasting or teaching or coaching - well, those are things I love just as much, but the price I pay is lower, much lower in some cases, than what I paid to bend over backwards for my dickish portrait clients.
And that’s just me: we all have our price. What it costs me to stand up on stage and speak might be a way higher price in relation to it’s value to you, and you might find the price of dealing with your illustration clients way lower than I did. We ALL different.
The question you need to ask yourself in the most ladylike way possible is: WHAT’S YOUR FLAVOUR OF SH*T SANDWICH?
In short: do you want it enough, and if so - what are you willing to pay?
If you’re not willing to pay the price, don’t be surprised if your so-called dreams aren’t being realised.
I have one last analogy for you: we’re like thermostats. Not super original, but stick with me. We’re like thermostats in that we adjust: we have our goals, we make plans, and can only find out they’re stupid when we start taking action. At which point we adjust.
That’s what everyone who’s ever done anything interesting will tell you: they learnt as they went along. They adjusted. They course corrected. Sure, they did their research, sucked up some know-how, asked lots of questions but at some point: they said screw it, I’ll do it. Richard Branson ACTUALLY said that.
So may be you are making progress, you’re just in the adjustment phase. Stick with it, you. If you want it, it WILL be so, SO worth it when you get there.
Heads up: before you get excited - or confused - I did NOT go to Glastonbury Festival, the massive music festival was not on this year. My plans instead were to visit Glastonbury, the town, in rural Somerset UK.
Reasons? Well, I’d heard on multiple occasions about how great the town is for just tourism - it’s quirky, a bit like the place I live in Brighton, and it has some really old things to look at - really old. Plus, some pretty amazing myths and legends to go along with them.
Glatsonbury isn’t super accessible by train so I wasn’t in a hurry to do this one solo. Fortunately, I have two very dear friends who were willing to come, and let me hitch a ride.
So we set off, Brighton to Glastonbury. I wouldn’t normally share much about the journey, but this one was special: we saw donkeys on the roadside! A lot of them! And they were super friendly and let us pet them. This isn’t typical in the UK, but we were driving through the New Forest, which has wild horses, ponies and donkeys - and they’re all there for your roadside entertainment. Pretty neat.
We rocked up at our Airbnb, which is possibly the quirkiest one I have EVER stayed in.
One of the best things about it is where it’s situated: right next to the entrance to the path that leads to the Tor: a very, very old tower that sits on a hill overlooking Glastonbury.
We headed up there just in time for sunset and it was glorious. There were some other people there too who had the right idea, but just a small number - enough to appreciate the company and feel connected to them somehow. Not like your typical tourist site, I’ll admit.
There was someone drumming quietly, someone charging their wand and someone casting an actual spell. Yeah. That really happens.
The next morning, we went on a tour with a nice old Irish man, John. He took us up 3 hills: Brides Mound, Wearyall Hill and the Tor, again.
I enjoyed learning about the local legends, and have since decided to take more interest in Celtic mythology.
Then we had lunch, at Excalibur - a very health savvy serve-yourself place. Amazing actually, great raw cakes too.
Then we went around the amazing shops - literally, heaven. A whole shop for essential oils and smelly stuff, esoteric book shops, hippy clothing and all the crystals.
We bought some bits for dinner. The truth is, Glastonbury is still a small town and after a while you realise your options for fine dining are limited. But that's OK, it was nice to make the most of the Airbnb for a change.
Then we went off to our evening entertainment: a healing session with the Pleiadians, a group of aliens channeled by an attractive nordic man, Michiel Kroon.
He also channeled Archangel Michael, I guess they have the name in common.
We sat in a circle, and I felt comfortable and welcomed, I loved that we were encouraged to make the most of the essential oils and palo santo that sat in the centre of the circle. I mentioned it in previous podcasts like the time I went to Peru and the breathwork experience, but as an introvert: feeling welcomed, comfortable and well looked after in a group environment is so, so key to my enjoyment. Good facilitation in groups is NOT easy to come by, so I really appreciate it when it's done well.
But the messages themselves from the apparently channeled entities were, in my opinion, distinctly average. I didn’t get much… though my imagination was slightly sharper than usual. And I did feel very open hearted and able to do 'the thing' of breathing love in and out, which I haven't experienced before. So that was nice.
We picked an oracle card at the end, from a deck Michiel and his girlfriend designed. Mine had two beings on it: a man and a woman, Ether + Matter. The idea was all about integration, which you might know I’m obsessed with, especially when it comes to this woo woo stuff, or any life-coaching stuff. I love theory, but I love action more, and belive integration is the bridge between the theory and action. So I guess that was a nice little moment of synchronicity.
Headed back, very sleepy.
Next day, we went out for breakfast - a vegan fry up. It's interesting hanging out with two vegans for the weekend - it almost makes me think I could do it too... Almost. Then we went to Chalice Well, a truly gorgeous place. Very peaceful.
Then shopping! To balance out all the spiritual stuff, I guess. I bought a mood ring and a keyring in Chalice Well, a wallet, some incense, essential oil and palo santo. Can’t go wrong with smelly stuff.
Oh and a book about yoga journalling.
Then we went to the Abbey, which is OK. We laughed a lot at the egg stone, and meditated for 5 minutes. Very good vibes. I remembered how much I enjoy travelling WITH people. It slows me down, and helps me appreciate where I'm at. When travelling solo, I have this tendency to rush through everything - may be because on some level I feel a bit awkward? But with friends, you can really acknowledge the experience, and see things you otherwise wouldn't have noticed.
Then we went to a centre that had some relation to the Maitreya - allegedly the second coming of Buddha AND Jesus. Mmhmm. The healing protocol was to sit in a comfy chair, underneath a pyramid shape with crystals strapped on and crystals in your hand and headphones on listening to the Maitreya’s puja.
Sounds bonkers. I know. And trust me, I did not expect ANYTHING. But… Almost as soon as I sat back, I literally felt like I was being charged. Like, I could actually feel it. I convinced myself there was a mild electrical current running through me via the crystals - my friends afterwards told me that was not possible. Regardless of what was going on, it felt… heavenly.
I've since done a fair bit of research and unfortunately the guy who runs it - Buddha Maitreya the Christ - or... Ron Spencer - and you'll find buried amongst the bullshit, some reports that suggest he is indeed a dodgy cult leader who will take your money, has been known to take advantage of his followers sexually and probably isn't mates with the Dalai Llama.
As for pyramid power - this too is unlikely to heal you, or make razor blades sharp again... but, I must say I think it's a great idea to have a place like that in a busy shopping area set up so people can come, sit back and relax for a change. And it's free, so it really isn't a bad thing. I'd like to see more places like that, like introverted little hubs in busy public areas. But y'no, without the cult stuff.
We headed back for dinner and went to our final dip into the esoteric: a goddess circle. Featuring the goddess Freyja and the Völva, which is some kind of Norse shaman. I don't know if the lady who gave the workshop or whatever you want to call it was a 'Völva' herself... or just a pleasant lady who had a nice voice and a wild imagination.
Regardless, I did not like this. Mostly because the facilitation was terrible and I just didn’t get anything from the guided aspect. It was unhelpful - and I went away with little other than a vague interest in learning more about the legends of Freyja but not exactly happy with the method of delivery.
I don’t know what to take from the experiences this weekend, but I do know a lot of it comes back to being true to myself and pursuing my desires with boldness and sheer trust. Did I get that from the Archangel Michael, the Pleidians, someone claiming to be the Buddha reincarnated or a Norse goddess? OR did I get it from really great chats with some of my favourite people, in a beautiful part of the world?
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Alex Mathers, of the Red Lemon Club.
I'm SO excited to share this week's guest for you, because he's probably someone who I have to thank most out of virtually all my guests, even though they're all kick ass.
At the height of my artistic discontent: I had just graduated, and whilst I did have a lucky job at a web design agency, I was feeling creatively unfulfilled I found Alex's work and spent hours trawling through his portfolio magazine site, Ape on The Moon.
Soon after, I got my first hints of what the possibilities of freelancing could be from the Red Lemon Club, so a BIG thanks goes to our guest today, Alex Mathers.
"Do what brings you to life, not just what you love."
~ Alex Mathers
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a lamb frolicking in sunshine (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
One of the most common challenges I come across in speaking to a range of creative introverts in my coaching , or in my online community or just out and about: is lack of support.
It's actually the one that's surprised me most, even though I can 100% relate. It surprised me, because I assumed for the longest time, that as introverts we don't need support.
We are intrinsically motivated, we are captains of our ship and we have no need for crew mates.
How wrong I was.
For one, our need for support starts from the day we're born and whilst it lessens greatly throughout our life, I don't believe we ever fully lose the need for external support. How much of it we need can vary greatly between people, and my assumption here is that it all stems from those early years.
Did we get the support we needed in those early days, enough that we felt reassured enough to go out in the world alone, and tackle it with confidence? Or were we taught the world is a dangerous place? And maybe we became too reliant on external support?
These are arguably issues that only a therapist can truly cover, but on a lighter note, I think we can cover a lot of ground today, especially in how support systems can help us in overcoming inner resistance to creative work.
Ok so, lets start with some of the stories we're told as creatives, ones that may have come from people who care about us and want the best for us,but arguably have no fucking clue what they're talking about.
When I was wee, I knew from around age 4 that drawing was my thing, and that there were people out there whose job it was to be artists and make pictures for a living. So that's what I wanted to be, an artist.
But then I was told that artists mostly don't make very much money, and some go crazy and cut off their ear.
So, I decided that I could be an illustrator, like my hero EH Shepherd. But then I was told that lots of people want to be illustrators,and that print was dying and there were only so many things out there to be illustrated.
In fact, if I wanted to get a job, I had better learn how to design websites.
Whilst everything kind of worked out, and I still enjoy designing websites from time to time, I do wonder what would have happened if I had followed my dreams and become a real artist.
Sure, I picked up illustration again at a later age, but by this time I lacked confidence in my abilities in the competitive industry. What might have been possible had I had the support from those around me? Family or teachers who cared about my wellbeing, but couldn't give the support I needed because they lacked faith, maybe because their dreams hadn't been supported either.
So maybe you've experienced this in your own creative career. May be it's from friends, family, teachers, professors. People telling you that what you want to do is too hard or too risky or too competitive.
And maybe they have a point. The best jobs in life are more difficult to get because other wise everyone would be doing them! But why in goods name can't you be one of the ones who gets to do it?
And before you start giving me reasons why you can't, let me stop you there. Yes, there will be sacrifices. Yes there will be bumps in the road. But it's in these moments that you most need support from those around you. You can borrow their faith in you, and use it to push through those days of doubt.
I didn't realise how powerful this was until I had my first ever coaching session. This was with a gentleman named Martin Stellar,whose interview you'll find back on episode 08 of the podcast.
Basically, I had no idea what to expect from this basic stranger,nor what coaching really was.
But the thing that convinced me that coaching was incredibly useful for creatives, and the thing that stuck with me, was Martins belief in me.
Again, he didn't really know me, but regardless, he gave me such faith in myself and my ability to follow this journey, this journey to my wildest dreams, and I believed him. I still do. And when i am having those moments of self-doubt, I think back to those kind words. More so, I think back to the feeling behind it, which magically carried through Skype,and which I felt too.
Note that I'm not suggesting all you need is someone to tell you you're great no matter what
There's a difference between mindless support that grandma gives you, and the support from someone who believes in you, but who'll call you on your bullshit. Who, in times when you're scared of taking the next step, who won't tell you "that's ok honey, go lie on the spa and I'll bake you cookies" but who'll tell you actually, you CAN do that thing you're scared of because I believe in you.
Or yes you can do that scary thing because I've been there before and yes I was scared but I went and did it and didn't die.
Ok so, what does this mean, do you all need to work with a coach who'll give you on-tap support and encouragement?
But there are other sources of support I recommend you explore.
Ok, ok, I know: you're an introvert ! Community sounds like a whole lot of people. Technically, it is. But it doesn't mean you have to hang out with them all at once.
I feel like I've taped into an incredibly supportive creative community here in Brighton, and have felt that way since about 6 months in. It's now been two years, and I still don't go to many events with lots of strangers, instead, I've got a shortlist of besties who I can see, mostly only one or two at a time. People I can rely on to help me if I need some moral support, or just to bitch about the perils of self employment. Or people who can recommend me to their friends, who might also be creative introverts.
Now, this is a different community to what I was used to back in London. Friends there, as much as I love them, know a different version of me. One that's mostly unconnected to my work, and who I'm not interested in discussing my work with, and vice versa.
What my point is, is that you might need to go out and make some new friends. Some creative cronies. Not that you need to abandon your old buds,but that in a fresh friendship, with someone with similar goals to you, that can be all the support you need.
So, I won't lie, the idea of making new friends sounds awfully un introvert friendly, but trust me, if I can do it you can do it. (See? Support!)
Meetup.com was my saving grace.I'll be honest, existing meetups were not my jam, so I started one, 100% on my terms on a Saturday morning, which attracted people like me. Fellow creative introverts who weren't going there to pick up a date, but who wanted to spend their Saturday morning on their creativity, rather than in their bed, hungover.
Of course, you don't have to go anywhere physically, especially if you don't live in a particularly diverse city, you might be lucky enough to live out in the sticks somewhere.
In this case, I'm going to recommend really investing some time and some faith into online communities.
I'll be honest, free groups or forums are naturally going to attract more. ..crazies. just like online dating, I think we all know there's a difference in calibre to the relationships formed on a free platform that on a paid platform, there just is a different level of commitment and emotional investment in the paid options.
Of course, is be remiss not to mention my own online community, the League of Creative introverts,who are a stellar mix of supportive, generous, big hearted souls, even if I'm biased,and who know the value of getting support as well as giving it.
More info about the league can be found at thecreativeintrovert.com/lci
l also want to let you know, that nothing can beat inner support. We really do require both inner & outer support, and neither one can make up for the lack of the other.
So, how to cultivate inner support? Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to yell words of affirmation at yourself in the mirror. This inner support is quiet, really quiet. And subtle. It's the little voice that sparks the brilliant, bold idea in the first place. The problem is, that we stop listening to it when our fears, or our inner critic shows up. lt doesn't help when external critics show up either.
But we can come back to that little voice, and coax it out with gentle reminders like remembering past accomplishments. Things you've overcome, fears you've faced. And this is also why I recommend scaring yourself - just a little bit - regularly to build up that resume of challenging things you didn't die doing.
It's why I get on stage as much as someone lets me. It's not for pure pleasure, or even the adrenaline rush: it's for my Fear CV. The thing I can whip out when I need a bit of support. It means I have an ongoing, always growing, reminder of what I can do: and a hint of what I could do.
My final words are that is ok to admit you need a bit of support and encouragement from time to time. Following your dreams isn't the easiest thing to do, in fact it might very well be the hardest thing you'll ever do. And you don't have to go the journey alone.
There are many, so many, who have gone before you, and are going with you, you just need to look for them and ask, do you reckon we can do this? I do.
The League of Creative Introverts
I went with The Little Mermaid. Why?
Partly because a friend reminded me of it not long ago and partly because it was in my top 5 films throughout my childhood. I’d say top 3 Disney.
Whilst I don’t think the animation is on par with Beauty and the Beast or as funny as Toy Story or as heart warming as The Lion King… boy I love Disney... For whatever reason, I was just a massive fan of The Little Mermaid, may be because Ariel was the only Disney character repping for the redheads amongst us.
I also identified with Ariels love for collecting trinkets and crap. I was not a minimalist kid. I dreamed of having my own cavern of hoozits, whatsits and thingumabobs.
So i settled in on a rainy afternoon and stuck it on. Amazingly, i remembered every word from every song well, at least the ones I understood. There's nothing like watching a film from your childhood to realise how little grip on language you had back then. I think as a kid I just got the gist of films, missing a lot of the clever writing and subtle exist and racist slurs the folk at Disney were making back then.
I totally forgot that Ariel exchanges her voice for her human body and Ursula sings a song about basically men not being interested in women speaking anyway! Yeah so Ariel isn't exactly the best role model when it comes to Disney princesses and i can't help but wonder what effect that had on me...
Oh and I also remembered how much Ursula scared me! She's a baddie alright.
Anyway, it was a beautiful way to spend a rainy afternoon.
In fact, this is definitely one i can recommend to you, dear reader. Why not go back to your childhood this weekend and watch a favourite film?
Do you have a favourite Disney film? Or maybe it was love action, with puppets like Labyrinth from Jim Henson? Let me know! Let's geek out on 80s and 90s kids films.
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Leslie McDaniel, a certified professional coach who helps INFJ women bring their vision to life.
She believes that few things are more powerful than someone at ease with her strengths, gifts, and quirks as she confidently lives out her purpose. With a unique combination of creative skills and experience, Leslie brings a multi-perspective approach to helping others with the accountability and support they need to move forward. Her knowledge as an MBTI®-certified practitioner helps INFJ women understand their personality, celebrate their strengths, and claim their potential. Leslie serves other INFJ women through individual coaching and her weekly email, The INFJ Life.
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a lamb frolicking in sunshine (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
Edinburgh by coach from Brighton. A 4am start and a 15 hour journey, door to door. Ok let me explain my choice for transportation for this city break.
I could have got a train (half the time) or flown (a 10th of the time) but no, I chose the coach. A choice that most people don't make, if they can afford a bit of extra cash. And while I'm not exactly rolling in it, I probably could have splashed out a bit more than the mere £30 return the coach costs (which is a ludicrous bargain my mind is still boggling over.)
No, my reasoning was: I actually wanted to go on a coach trip.
I see these National Express coaches coasting up the - er - coast on a daily basis, and they always look so big and exotic... and convenient: no hauling myself through airport security, or switching trains in London. The coach stop is less than 10 mins walk from my house, and leaves you in the heart of Edinburgh... just, 15 hours later.
So, much to all my friend's dismay, I opted for my coach journey.
The early start - yes, 4am - wasn't too hard for me. It was only an hour or so earlier than usual - yes, I'm that person - plus I like early starts if I'm going on holiday. It reminds me of the one big family holiday we went on. I was 6, we drove to Italy (ahh now I understand why I'm a sucker for a long uncomfortable journey) and we had to wake up at 3am I think. I ate my rice krispies too fast and puked in the car.
OK so, coach!
It was 2 hours to London Victoria, on a very quiet, fairly comfy, air conditioned coach. Then there was an hour wait at the Victoria coach station, which is a bit of a hell hole, but I was happy enough with my oat milk cappuccino (word to the wise, there's a Pret a Manger, Cafe Nerro - my choice - and a Starbucks at the coach station. But I'd definitely recommend bringing your own food - the one food shop there is ludicrously overpriced and understocked.)
Then at 8am, I was on the coach. Yes, time went slowly. I alternated between writing my book, listening to podcasts, reading The Untethered Soul and staring out the window. I really do get my best ideas when I'm on transport.
Somehow, I survived. There was a stop in Leeds, which was a bit depressing - like I said, coach stations just aren't glam places to hang out - and I had a little Chinese boy next to me for the rest of the journey. He entertained me, patting his brother on the shoulder to get him to turn around, then giving him the finger. Smart kid.
I got a taxi to my Airbnb, because, rain. Ahh rain - this was another reason I was determined to come to Scotland this summer. I really wanted a break from the heat down south - and I got it! Very satisfying, knowing it was 10 degrees cooler where I was - a much more temperate climate for gingers, I believe.
Ok so my Airbnb was lovely, one of the sweetest hosts I've ever met, though that night I basically zonked out shortly after arriving because coach travel - somehow - is tiring.
I’m going to come out with a possibly controversial statement…
Worrying helps our creativity.
Ok... think about it like this: most breakthroughs, whether they were in technology or art or anything else for that matter, came about because we were worried. We were worried we’d starve, worried that the other tribe would conquer us, worried that the Gods would be angered by our actions and so on. The main difference between overthinkers and the rest of the population – is imagination.
Now imagination doesn’t lead directly to creative flourishing. For us to make use of this gift, we need to combine our imaginative inspiration with action.
And here’s where it gets tricky.
Taking action, especially when we’re worried and all we have is ourselves and a blank canvas or blank page in front of us is… bloody hard.
Our worries can be a blessing and a curse.
Unless… we tackle them head on, removing the resistance and allowing us to crack on with our creative work.
The League of Creative Introverts
Picture of the Worry Decision Tree
I really did hope I’d stop moaning about the heatwave long before recording this podcast. I now can’t remember a time when I wasn’t uncomfortably warm.
And I resent the fact that I’m now doing the stereotypical Brit thing of talking about the weather, but there IS a reason for it: because, it was the prompt that encouraged me to push this bucketlist Year of Fun activity right up to the past week.
Originally, this was on my list of things to do in this YOF, but I wasn’t expecting to hit the sea until later in the year, when our dear channel gets acceptably warm, having had the summer to heat up.
This week reached all new highs in sweaty bettyness, and on Thursday afternoon, I finally caved and dug my swimsuit out from the depths of a chest of drawers.
Over the top went some easy to remove clothing, and a pair of slip on trainers for dealing with the stoney beach. I’ve learned that flip flops are NO GOOD when it comes to stones, the blight of the Brighton coast.
I left my phone, headphones, everything I’m normally comfortably distracted by at home, and padded down to the sea (all of 5 mins from my door) with keys wedged in swimsuit and towel on arm.
Even this part felt uncomfortable for me. For so many reasons I imagine, even though rationally I realise this is not something that’s meant to fill someone will anxiety.
For one, I felt semi naked without my backpack and phone and all that. I just didn’t want to bring anything that could be swiped on the shore while I went solo into the sea. I also felt weird doing something I haven’t done in like… 5 years? And even then, that was on holiday - not on a weekday afternoon.
But rational Cat told me to quit whining, it’s a holiday for someone somewhere, you’ve finished your work for the day according to your Asana calendar, and you live 5 minutes away from a sea you haven’t stepped foot in for the 2 years you’ve lived in Brighton.
Oh I should tell you the other reason I was probably quite anxious: I can’t really swim. OK I could swim if my life depended on it - I hope - but I’ve never been a strong swimmer and certainly don’t like being out of my depth.
I have ambitions to get over this story I’m telling myself that I have very dense bones that sink like lead, and that it’s genetic (my entire family are aquatically-challenged) and I guess this is the first step I’ve made in a long time to getting myself a new story.
So I made it. I awkwardly hobbled into the sea, across the cursed pebbles, hat and sunglasses still on because there was no way my face was going anywhere near the surface.
And it was really fucking cold! I had heard it was heating up unusually early this year thanks to the heatwave, but this was like ice water in my opinion.
And I won’t lie: it was… OK. I happily discovered the stones gave way to sand once I was in beyond my waist, and the surreal quality of staring out and seeing nothing but sea and sky around you, bar some annoying kids who were having no problem swimming - well, it was quite fun.
I stayed there, moving my arms around like a weird fitness video from the 80s, until I got bored enough and headed back to land, emerging from the sea like a cross between Ariel in the Little Mermaid, and swamp thing.
After drying off, I headed back to my laptop, enjoying the buzz my nervous system got, and felt slightly less hot and bothered, and a gratifying sense of accomplishment for finally tackling my sea anxiety.
I think if I keep this habit up I’ll find it more fun than fearful, we’ll see.
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Danny Gregory, co-founder of Sketchbook Skool and author of nearly a dozen internationally best-selling books on art and creativity.
I personally came across Danny from his podcast Shut Your Monkey, in which he interviewed fascinating artists, psychologists, authors, all kinds of folk who gave me the inspiration to push on with my creative work.
I'm be giving away a copy of my favourite book from Danny, The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are to one lucky listener.
Here's what you can do to enter to win:
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a lamb frolicking in sunshine (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
I’m back to the somewhat New Agey Year of Fun experiences this week, this time with a Sound Bath.
OK for those of you unfamiliar with this sound-bathing thing, like I was until very recently, I’m going to read what’s on the website of the place I visited, The Tree of Life, Hove.
"Lay back and relax as the beautiful sounds and tones of Gongs, Himalayan Singing Bowls, Crystal Singing Bowls, rainsticks and other therapeutic percussion instruments wash over you whilst you rest on a comfortable yoga mat with cushions and blankets. Therapuetic Sound Baths are proven to relax on a deeper level than other relaxation methods.
Bringing calm to the body and mind, and helping brainwaves lower to levels that are similar to meditation or those experienced just before you fall asleep. The sound can induce a state of deep relaxation and allow you to rest there with the effect that cortisone (i.e. the stress hormone) reduces, blood pressure and heart rates are lowered, potassium & sodium levels in the body are rebalanced and cellular regeneration can take place which, in turn, helps our autonomic nervous system to restore.
After the session, you are invited to share your experience with the group if you wish.”
Sounds pretty harmless right? It’s actually got some science to back it up, too.
The theory goes: brain signals are transmitted through frequencies, kind of like music through a radio. Studies show that these signals, or “brain waves,” correlate to particular states of consciousness such as focus, relaxation, meditation, and sleep. Generally speaking, slower brain waves are associated with more relaxed meditative states, while faster ones correlate to alert and active states.
Scientists are now discovering that brain waves can be modified by externally produced sound frequencies through a process called entrainment—when the frequency of one object synchronizes with the frequency of another. This means sound can be used to tune brainwaves to specific frequencies and achieve desired states of mind.
This likely doesn’t come as a massive surprise, given that you’ve probably had the experience of listening to music and feeling calmer or listening to another piece and feeling pumped up and ready to dance, run or my favourite: mosh.
As for serious psychic healing or anything that mentions clearing space or raising energy or anything else that sounds vaguely woo, while I’m open to it, I’m not making any claims about that here.
But for an hour on a Sunday morning to lay down in a nice-smelling room with several other people and listen to some calming gongs, I thought it was worth a punt.
So I get to the Tree of Life Centre, somewhere I’d passed many times but had yet to venture into, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was nicer than I thought, cosier, less clinical, woo without the need to overdo it.
The lady at reception was lovely and welcoming,also turned out to be the Sound Bather - Ruth. I’d say she was responsible for 80% of my comfort - I really loved her balance of gentleness without any of that hippy guru, holier than thou bullshit. She explained a little about what to expect, and didn’t force any esoteric ideas onto us, just hinted at them, which was perfect.
Everyone was already lying down on their yoga mats when I entered, which was nice because I didn’t have to make eye contact with anyone, always a plus.
We were given a pillow, blanket and bolster so I was very comfy. And we were given a headsup: if any of us start to snore, then give permission to be woken up. The woman next to me said ‘Just wack me’ which instantly made me warm to her.
I said ‘me too’ but really I knew it was highly unlikely I’d be so mellow I’d fall asleep - and actually I doubted whether anyone could.
So the sound bath began. Ruth started with singing bowls, I think, and made her way to the gongs, which were… unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Truly.
After about half an hour, I realised I couldn’t feel my body. In a good way - I was so chilled I couldn’t imagine moving. Which wasn’t ideal, because the nice lady next to me DID fall asleep and DID start to snore. Quite loudly!
So the battle in my head began over whether or not to wake her, at least for the sake of the rest of the group, or to let her be, given that waking a stranger seems harsh unless you think they’ll miss their stop on the bus or train.
I gave her a 3 snore rule, so whenever she made 3 loud snores in a row, I’d gently tap her. Which required me to stir from my glorious stupor, but I learned a lesson: don’t take the place next to snorey mcGee again, no matter how nice she seems.
One more thing to report: visions. Yes, actual scenes happening in front of my closed eyes. OK - it wasn’t ayahuasca-like visions, these were just games our eyes play on us when we’re very relaxed and have nothing else to look at. You might have seen similar when you’re drifting off to sleep.
They’re basically geometric patterns, as well as a strange tunnel-like phenomenon that, depending on what you read, is either a result of awakening the third eye OR a well-known result of phosphenes, an effect that occurs through activation of retinal ganglion cells in a very similar way to how they activate as a response to light. Can also happen when you’ve had a blow to the head, have low blood pressure, stand up too fast or rub your eyes really hard.
But yeah, you could say it’s your third eye chakra opening too.
The bath ended with a rainmaker and rattle, which was less pleasant than the gongs, but I got used to them. It was a nice way to bring us back to the room, and reality I guess.
At the end, Ruth asked if we’d like to talk about our experience, and after a few silent beats (something I cannot STAND) I had to raise my hand. I mumbled something like ‘it was my first time and I’m really surprised by how great it was!’
Not so useful I’m sure, but it was something.
After that we made our way to our feet, slowly, and headed out.
This was the perfect balance of group activity, without any necessary interaction, and it left me in such a good mood all day long.
Part of my fascination with the term ‘introvert' as I define it is how it describes how I understand where we, as introverts, get our energy from.
Now I’m far, far from scientific when it comes to these energy matters. And that’s OK: any scientist who’s worth his salt will admit he or she still doesn’t know all there is to know about matters like energy.
As a general rule of thumb, an introvert gets their energy from spending time alone. Solo activities, low stimulation, with plenty of time for some introspection.
An extrovert on the other hand will get their energy from spending time in the company of others, sharing ideas and absorbing a stimulating environment with lots of excitement.
The unfortunate part about this simple definition is… it leaves very little room for the grey area: the spectrum of introversion—extroversion that we all fall on.
You’ve heard it before, let’s hear it again: “There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or pure introvert. Such aman would be in a lunatic asylum.”
Thank you Dr Jung, that’s quite a relief.
So why does it matter where you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum? If you’re 51% introvert, you’re an introvert!
Not so fast.