I used to consider myself fairly outgoing. I didn't really seem to have trouble making friends or sparking up conversations with strangers. I had no problem standing up in front of a group of people and explaining something. I was an extrovert.
Until I stayed home for 8 years.
Something changed. I don't know if it was lack of interaction or a shift in circumstances, but my personality flipped. I wasn't a total hermit (although there are days I'd like to be!), but as a stay-at-home mom, living on a pastor's budget in a small town, my face-to-face options were pretty limited. I focused more on expressing myself through writing. It seems like a natural occurrence.
I had times when my extroverted side revealed itself. I participated in community theatre and sang for various events around town. Nerves always showed up, but they were manageable. I loved the attention from the crowd or running into someone at the grocery store who said, "I didn't know you had a voice like that!" I know we're not supposed to revel in the praise of man, but it sure felt good to hear those things.
One day, though, I got tired of being nervous on the stage. I'd proved to myself that I could do it, but I was done. I didn't want to feel my knees quaking or see the microphone shaking. So I gave it up. I still love to sing, but I do it on my terms now. I can rock out and wail in my car all I want to. And my imagined fans adore me.
Every so often, though, I have to make presentations. I try to hearken back to those days when, as a stage manager, I would stand up before my cast full of eager actors and lay down the law. "You will be on time for rehearsals. And while I do make notes of all blocking, you are responsible to know yours." Stuff like that. But that confidence rarely comes back around. It slipped away when I wasn't looking! And...you guessed it...those nerves edge into my moment.
So how does an introvert survive?
For me, if I'm well-rested, facing these extroverted demands is much easier. It's also important for me to be prepared. I need to have notes in front of me, or I need to have studied beforehand. I wish there was an easy trick like they did in The Brady Bunch where you imagine the audience in their underwear, but that's never worked for me. The promise of a reward helps. After a recent speaking event, I treated myself to Starbucks.
I don't have the answers, but those are a few things that have worked for me. If you're an introvert, how do you get through extrovert-type events?
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3