Believe & Invest In You · Introvert & Personality Types · Life's Challenges & Choices

How to Keep the Conversation Going as an Introvert

Small talk wears me out. Does this resonate with you?introvert (1)

Contrary to popular belief, most introverts love people. I am an introvert. I adore people. I enjoy meeting new people and I am fascinated with in-depth life stories.

When introverts reach a certain threshold in any conversation, especially small talk, with anyone that isn’t a part of their trust circle (someone they are not in a deep relationship with), most feel a noticeable drop in energy level. Picture a battery-operated smartphone with a fast-diminishing charge. When a heavy load of data processes, the phone drops rapidly from 90% to 50%, and before you know it, the phone is at 10%—IN THE RED!

How do you recharge a cell phone? You plug a charging cable into the phone. What does an introvert do to get recharged? They go home and shut their door. Then they absorb silence in their own space and their energy level rises. For some of us, restoration happens quickly, and for others, depending upon our energy deficit, it might take hours to regain strength. Similarly, when you plug a charger into a totally dead cell phone, the display remains blank for a short while.

Small talk is the WORST type of conversation for an introvert. What exactly is small talk? Google dictionary describes small talk as, “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.”

Introverts also wear out during conversations when they lose interest, not just from “small talk.” Let’s say an introvert meets a stranger and the person they’ve met talks about their home life, their mother or father, or which church they attend and why, or how they experienced childbirth … and, well, you get the picture. Even though the introvert knows that this person needs someone to talk to, and the introvert loves that this person feels comfortable talking with them, it eventually grinds down to a “battery low” situation. Why? It is due to the randomness of the conversation, and especially when the clock starts ticking. 5 minutes becomes 15, and then it goes into a half hour … and then the introvert shifts from foot to foot with thoughts, “How can I cut this short. I am tired and need to find a good place to break this conversation off!” This is often accompanied by a draining feeling of guilt.

Introverts, what can you do to extend the life of your battery? How can you stay charged during random conversations?

  1. Do not try to put on an awkward “I’m interested” face during a conversation. That involves a lot of work! Instead, be interested.
  2. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are having a conversation with. Ask insightful and meaningful questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. What do you want to know? What if you were writing an article about this person, what would you need to know?

Consider asking questions about:

  • Friends or family
  • Occupation or business
  • Hobbies or recreation
  • Aspirations or dreams

Remember this, you, the introvert, do love people. Your heart is huge. More than likely, your personality flourishes on you being a God-given encourager!

Finally, when you’re really worn out, have a plan of action in place. If you own a business, hand over your business card. Or, ask for a phone number, or a name to find the person on social media. Find a way to stay in touch.

Most introverts want to make friends, and I know you do too—you simply need to get to the refueling station … and that is OKAY!

Are you a Christian? This is one of my favorite scriptures for strength: 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The first time I read this passage, I thought, “Wait a minute, I have a sound mind even though I do fear!” Basically, a sound mind means we do not sway to the left or to the right when we are faced with a challenge. We remain upright and strong. I translate this to there is no fear in love. We love Him. We trust Him. We have faith in Him, and He does not prescribe fear into our lives. So, say goodbye to the enemies’ fear-filled lies!

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Believe & Invest In You · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Fear · Women in Transition

Allowing Joy, Just Because

As a woman, do you find it difficult to find and feel lasting joy? www.maryhumphreycoaching.com

Do you find yourself digging deep into yourself, looking at what might feel like every aspect of your life and saying to self, “I am not happy with what I do, what my outcome has been this (year, month, week), nor where I am headed?”

Perhaps you have dis-allowed yourself to feel a sense of joy…

  • Just because you aren’t defined by what you do for a living.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by how much income you bring in.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by how outdated your furniture is.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by and don’t want to wear all that makeup, or change your hair to the latest style, or the clothes that you wear regardless of the newest fashions.

What if you allowed yourself to feel joy in the simplest of form? What if you allowed yourself to feel joy because today, at this very moment, you are exactly who God designed you to be. You allow yourself to find joy in the things that personally make your heart go pitter-patter. You free yourself to be like a child in the nature that you take the helm and believe in yourself simply because you can, and allow yourself to be her.

You allow yourself to feel joy just because you release yourself to feel joy. Break the chains that bind you to what you believe the world expects you to be. Bound yourself to be who you and God want you to be.

Break the chains that bind you into believing that you have to change because others don’t understand your path. This isn’t their life, it is your’s

Fearlessly allow joy. Bravely shut off the lies that bound you to what is false.

What is your reality today? Share with me. Let’s set ourselves free together.

P.S. The Proverbs 31 woman, the one that sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. She, indeed may appear perfect in those beautiful Scriptures, but because this is what she does: (Proverbs 31:26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue, she doesn’t allow herself to bend here and there as the wind blows. She works hard at this. She IS mindful of what and how she thinks. (Proverbs 31:25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she can laugh at the days to come. She isn’t clothed in the latest styles, she is clothed in her style—the style that speaks, “I am bold. I am courageous. I am unique. I am proud of who God designed me to be. I walk in His strength, and I do not hang onto lies that tell me otherwise.”

Amen, sisters…let’s do this!

Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Fear · Managing Stress

The Reality of Fear

The reality of fearFear, as intangible as it is…we cannot lasso it with a rope and pull it in, yet it can affect our moment, day, or weeks if we allow it.

So, why allow fear to take control?

Fear is an emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous.

Fear stifles us into either not moving forward, or retracting.

The next time fear holds you in its grasp, face down the falsity of this evil emotion, and embrace the reality that unless you are suddenly faced with something dangerous that you cannot change—you can always get away from the lie. Kick this four-letter “F” word—fear—out of your ballpark…and don’t sell tickets to consider its return!

Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress

The ABC’s of Overworked, Tired, and Burned Out

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We all have moments when we feel overworked or tired. Sometimes it is obvious that we need a break, but we are often so deep into overwhelm that we cannot pin-point the why or what, or how to fix it.

The differences between how we feel and function when we are overworked or tired are very subtle, in fact, they can cross over.

Overworked

  • Decreased creativity and productivity in our work
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Decreased stamina, power, and speed
  • Decreased joy in life
  • Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time

Fatigued

  • Emotions are unstable – shifting from irritable, short tempered, to sad
  • Loss or gain of weight (too tired to eat vs. eating in hopes of an energy gain)
  • Unable to focus on exercise
  • Feeling of stress
  • Weak or short attention span
  • Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
  • Fuzzy minded

The feeling of being fuzzy minded is the key difference between feeling overworked and feeling fatigued. When we feel overworked we may lose touch with joy, but we do not necessarily feel a lack of clarity. We still function as far as thinking is concerned when we are overworked, but we feel frustration and this drags us down in production.

In comparison, you can safely drive a car when you are overworked. In fact, you may feel you drive better under these circumstances. When you are tired your attention span is short. You do not think clearly, which narrows your driving ability down to unsafe levels.

Have you ever felt overworked, yet, everything felt blurred, to the point you could not figure out how to resolve it? You may have been overworked, but if the hammer had dropped the verdict would have been YOU WERE TIRED.

The steps to correcting overwork are:

  • Prioritize
  • Say no
  • Organize
  • Plan
  • Set limits (schedule work hours and stick to it)
  • Delegate

The steps to fixing tired are:

  • Get adequate sleep
  • Shut down early before going to sleep (turn off the phone and anything related to online)
  • Exercise appropriately
  • Eat well and drink water

Burnout is also close in line behind the symptoms of overworked and tired.

You may feel:

  • Most days are bad days
  • Exhausted nearly all of the time
  • Spend the day doing tasks that feel overwhelming or not interesting
  • Nothing you do seems to make a difference or feels appreciated

Burnout affects your body, home, work, and social life. It is like a ship wreck in progress. You hit a rock and the boat begins to fall apart.

Here’s what you can do to kick burnout to the curb:

  1. Manage stress – get it under control
  2. Increase social contact (but do not expect people to fix you)
  3. Exercise (focus on the health of your body…make it tick well)
  4. Find value in what you do (or just be, you don’t have to DO!)
  5. Balance life (life, work, friends, family, whatever you value in your personal world)
  6. Take time off (for YOU)
  7. Eat healthy and drink water
  8. Set boundaries
  9. Take a break from technology

What do these 9 steps do for you? #1, nourishment of creativity through increased health and relaxation. It is like closing a gate to something that sucks the life out of you.

This is your mission…watch your body and mind for signs of fatigue, burnout, or overwork. Know the difference between the three, and nurture yourself through awareness and prevention.

Introvert & Personality Types · Life's Challenges & Choices

Introvert or Extravert? The importance of understanding.

introvert extravert difference www.maryhumphreycoaching.comThe nerd in me loves to consider personality types. I especially love the topic of introverts and extraverts. The most important thing that I have learned when it comes to personality is you cannot change the spots on a leopard. Instead, we need to understand our differences and embrace them.

Do you know which you are, an introvert of an extravert? I am an introvert. I used to beat myself up when I felt tired after what I thought was overly lengthy small talk, or after a long social gathering. So, here’s a few lines that I was told: These traits make you good at writing and psychology. Other independent careers of interest include being an accountant, engineer, computer programmer, or counselor. Note, I am a life coach, writer, bookkeeper, and a virtual assistant. People also say: At times you feel uncomfortable meeting strangers (this is the only trait I disagree with, I love – adore – meeting strangers). You need to challenge yourself in social situations otherwise your introverted behavior holds you back. We all need to watch this!

Stereotypes and pinning personality types on people isn’t fair, nor is it smart, but knowing what our differences are is a boost to each and every one of us. We learn:

  • To accept other personality types. It teaches us to be patient.
  • It teaches us to talk less, and listen, or talk more and practice listening at the same time.
  • To walk closer to the middle of the life’s road rather than in the safety or emergency breakdown lanes.
  • To make wise decisions. To listen, study, and then make decisions.

As entrepreneurs, an introvert might favor a smaller business run out of a home office, with significant amounts of private time. An extravert might feel like climbing the walls with too much quiet time on their hands. Cabin fever?

Introverts are not shy. They do not dislike people. They are great counselors and coaches because these careers and businesses require excellent listening skills.

Extraverts love people. They are energized by people. Extraverts are great in sales, marketing, human resources, pretty much any job where they can stand on their feet and think, literally, verbally at the same time.

An introvert might need to listen, step back, think about situations or ideas, and then come back to them. An extravert is eager, ready to make on-the-spot decisions, give their two cents with little or no thinking time required. This makes me think about what the food experts say, “Everything is okay in moderation.”

How has your life benefitted from knowing or understanding the personalities of others? Has your personality type (introvert or extravert) affected how you manage your career or business?

Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices

Freedom: Decision Making Made Real

reaching for the sky www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI have mulled over one word these past few weeks: Decision.

This thought process came to a head on New Year’s Day, 2016. How fitting is decision for a new year, a new start…and I ask, how about making it a permanent thought process for the rest of your/my life?

As I have, you might want to print this post, or take notes. I tape reminder notes in places where I see them often. This is because a quick change of heart or mind can take place immediately, but lasting change, especially when it involves a mindset, normally involves an overhaul of life-time thinking patterns. We need reminders!

Decision. It is only an idea, a thought, until we take action.

“I made a decision today. I settled, concluded, chose, voted, made up my mind to ____________ (fill in the blank).” I may have decided to write a new book a year ago, but until I start writing the book, it is only a goal or aspiration.

What can we do to make our decisions stick? Take the first step, move it to the next level, and follow-up with subsequent steps until the decision becomes an action…until we can announce, “I did it!”

Procrastination is the killer of turning decisions into reality. (I raise my hand in admission to this fault.) Why do we procrastinate? The number one reason is FEAR. Bold faced fear.

So, what do we do now? We have this idea, this “decision,” and now we find our fear-filled selves saying, “Oh, perhaps I should not make that decision. I should not rock the boat. I should not create more work stress for myself. I think the best thing to do is nothing…” Yes, taking the easy way out. Is it truly the easy way out? No. What happens a week from now, or a year, or even a life-time later when we realize that we have never done what we felt called to do? We miss out. That is sad. We miss out on making a difference in our lives, or the lives of others. We fail to make our personal contribution to the world.

Face your fears. Stare them down. Study them. Know them inside out. Break them down into small manageable chunks (or crumbs). Change what you can and make the choice to ignore or forge through what you cannot change. Remember, we cannot change others, and we cannot change the world. We can only change how we react to it. You can only change you!

By breaking fear down, we discover the truth–real things that we should fear, which ultimately amounts to very little. We also become aware of our inner-generated story and falsehoods. The lies that we believe, and we are often monumental story tellers.

Meditate on people, those that you consider a mentor, or those that you admire. Think about the accomplishments of these people. Where would they be today if they used fear as an excuse in their lives? What if they never moved forward with an idea (made it a decision) because of self-doubt, “I am not (educated, beautiful, trained, smart enough, young enough, old enough).”

I made the decision to not accept the “what if’s” that surface in my life. The action that I took when I made that decision was to not mentally use any excuse, to only use good judgment. What if I make a mistake? What if I make the wrong choice? Growth is a bundle of both bad and good choices. Can we mature without a solid learning process?

Steps for the three F’s: Break down fear. Release your faith. Allow your faith to spread until there is no room for fear to survive. Experience freedom.

Keep moving forward, my friends. Move those feet, take those steps…advance. Turn those decisions into actions!

Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress

Reminder: Slow Down to See the Obvious

puzzling frustration www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI am in the process of building a website for my coaching business.

When the new site name jumped out at me (it is exactly the message that I want to convey), I scooped up the domain and began the process of pointing it to the website. I’ve been through this process numerous times so I felt it would be a smooth deal. I knew I would have a published website in no time flat.

After waiting 24 hours, I discovered that I had input one DNS number incorrectly. There would be no additional stumbling blocks ahead, right?

After I returned home from work the following day, I eagerly logged onto my lap-top to check out my new website. No. Nope. Na-da. The site still had not published.

Nearly a full week later, 6 days to be exact, with my head feeling like it was in a whirlpool and swirling downwards fast, I decided to push my stubbornness aside and I requested help from live chat. I carefully laid out the history of my troubles, and I asked, “What am I missing?” The chat person asked me for my domain name. After a pause, they replied, “Nobody owns that domain.” In disbelief I typed, “No way!” I quickly erased the words as reality sunk in.

Was it possible? What had I done? WiseWomenOfNobleCharacter was WiseWomanOfNobleCharacter. In my hurry, coupled with a lack of sleep, and in the pursuit of getting something important finished (all too) quickly, I had missed my new business website name by one character.

What happened that day is a common occurence…caused by speeding through a task, allowing frustration to take the lead, coupled with looking for a big problem, when indeed it was, and often is, something small.

My friend, Kayla, of Red Cedar Bison, and Selah Press, was operating the booth at her local farm market that morning. She posted on her Facebook page, “You know your market samples are good when we are nearly out of samples by 10 am. One lady said the sample was like a party in her mouth.” Kayla is one of the most optimistic women that I know. As simple as her statement was that morning, it spoke to me clearly. I was not working in a cheerful way, and I was rushing through what could have been a joyous time. How was I with giving out samples (of smart coaching), if I was only raising my blood pressure and running on the fuel of a flustered spirit?

Moral to this story: Take your time. Ask for help. Get enough sleep. Don’t expect big things to go wrong, and inspect the small things. Enjoy the process! Do not detract from the creativity that you possess!

Moliere said it well, “The trees that are slow to grow bear the most fruit.”

(By the way…I purchased both domain names. If I made that mistake, so will someone else. Covered.)