Lately, I have heard a lot about this seeming new concept that the world of business has been primarily designed by extroverts for extroverts. What are your thoughts on this? I personally believe that this could be true for the world and life at large, don’t you think? Are you an introvert or HSP in business?

All my life, I have played the part of an extrovert but, deep down, I have always known that I am an introvert. Let me clarify here that introversion is psychologically completely different to shyness. (I am not shy by any stretch of the imagination).

I look back at my childhood and I can see exactly where I learned how to ‘play the part’. When I was 5 years old, I didn’t understand why I could sing or recite poetry in front of an audience but I felt intimidated by a crowd of children in the playground. Then, when I was 12 years old, I got tired of feeling intimidated so I followed a piece of advice I read in a magazine while waiting at the doctors – to imagine that I was the much-loved Princess Di in order to walk around the school grounds with head held high. I quashed my overwhelm and strode forth like I owned the place. (There it is!) Eventually I was 20 and I was the lead singer in a band – when all I wanted was the earth to swallow me whole, I would envision that I was the only one in the beer garden (instead of being surrounded by raucous uni students).

In my older age, I have finally become comfortable enough in my skin to start ADMITTING to people that I am actually an introvert. This is the first time I write about it. (It’s indelible now!) For example:

  • I definitely need time out after I have been social or working on a big project for days (this includes after preparing for a trip away and includes after said trip away – even if it’s camping!)
  • I certainly prefer my own quiet and alone time more than I am allowed to admit. (My hubby gives me a pout every time I want to do my own thing – which is most times. Never mind that he does his own thing, as he pleases, ha).

When I admit these quirks to people, I get shocked looks and somebody even told me once that I was outright lying!

I’m just tired of pretending, is that okay? I’m tired of pretending that this amazingly social person is me – it’s not me, it’s just a part of me (that needs to hermit and rest up afterwards).

To add insult to injury along my journey of growing into myself, recently my sister took a survey of me to see whether I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Now that, my dear friends, is a whole other kettle of fish that – to be perfectly Francine – I didn’t care too much for. But my sister admitted that certain things I had said in conversation had made her wonder if I was a HSP?

Now, our parents have ‘high needs’ and they have always expressed these – we grew up candidly living and working around these.

  • My mum is sensitive to noise; my dad is sensitive to sudden loud sounds.
  • My mum is sensitive to light; my dad can’t stand an ambient room.
  • My mum gets headaches from certain smells; my dad gets an allergic reaction at the mere sight of cats.

On it goes. So it’s little wonder that I might have inherited some of their traits.

But I’ve NEVER thought of myself as a Highly Sensitive anything! Yes, I’m a bit sensitive to noise and lights. I also really love SILENCE.

But surely, amidst coming into my own regarding my introversion, surely there was nothing more?

Well, my sister carried out the survey and, as it turns out, I answered a BIG percentage of questions that basically allude to the fact that I AM a HSP!

Talk about getting to view oneself from an entirely different perspective yet again.

It does seem to explain a lot about me, though.

Maybe that need to focus on just one thing (as HSP’s need to do) is what makes me go overboard with everything I do?

(I just wish it would make me go overboard with CLEANING MY HOUSE! That’d be GREAT).

Here is the real clincher and the point I wish to bring home to you today: One of the questions asked was:

Do you tend to design your life in order to cater for your own need for downtime?

I said to my sister, “I should… I need to… but I don’t.”
She said, “But you do think about it then?”
“Oh yes,” I said, without hesitation.

I have been in reflection mode a lot lately. It’s mid-year. By now my mind is in overwhelm and cannot take much more. So I’m currently taking each day as it comes – even planning is too much for me right now.

One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is to design a life that firstly nourishes my spirit. I used to call it ‘the goddess’. It’s that inner being. She is screaming and shouting and writhing in her wound because she so desperately needs a warm and soothing balm.

So if you’re somewhere on the same journey as me, I want to ask you: What’s it gonna be?

Well, as for me, I’m thinking it’s gonna be:

‘If I can fit it in and STILL feed my soul, then I’ll say yes. Otherwise NO, NO, NO, NO, NO’.

Last December, I was overwhelmed to the point of not even celebrating my birthday. That was a FIRST. All I wanted was quiet downtime at home!

While my introvert self was in heaven, I did worry a little bit – why couldn’t I give myself something fabulous? It’s the ONE day all year that I usually indulge. I’ve ALWAYS had plans for my birthday – dinners, cocktails, facials, massages, high teas – anything to get myself dolled up and feeling like a princess. But not last year. It was just too much. Why? Because my soul had not rested all year.

So I came up with a practical assessment that I could refer to at any time that I was invited to an event or asked to be involved with a project. Do you know why? Because I should be able to celebrate my birthday with a cocktail OR a book in my hand BY CHOICE – and not by overwhelm.

Perhaps these questions could help you too?

  • Is it for me, my child or my business? Yes / No
  • Will it support our little family? Yes / No
  • Will it support my needs? Yes/No

End of story.

What about you? Are you an introvert or HSP in business? How have you designed your business to meet your needs? What are your hot tips that you could share with others? Comment below or email me because I would love to know!