This article is a personal story.It’s about something I’ve been struggling with for years (my entire life, really). And it strongly presented itself again in the past couple of months.The reason I choose to share this with you,even though it feels a bit vulnerable and uncomfortable, is because I think reading my story can be helpful to you.I don’t want to waste your time, so before I dive into it I’ll first help you determine if my story might be relevant to you.My story will probably inspire you if you:
Always felt different than the people around you. You didn’t quite understand them and how they (inter)acted. You often felt like you didn’t fit in (and still feel that way from time to time). It’s like someone forgot to hand you the manual to social interactions and how the world works when you were born;
Are someone who feels that what you have to offer is weird, or strange, and you feel pressure (from others or yourself) to adjust or adapt, and you don’t want to but don’t know how to make your business work YOUR way;
Are an introvert and/or HSP (highly sensitive person) just like me.
So, here’s my story for those of you who are still here:If you know me or have been reading my ezine for a while, you’ve probably heard me refer to my ‘inner hermit’ before or heard me call myself a hermit.(Hence the ‘message from the cave’ above this article – I kinda liked that joke myself)The reason I feel I am a hermit is because I am both extremely introverted and highly sensitive – great attributes for a coach, but not so great attributes for fitting into society (Or living a life like most people do. Or building a business like most entrepreneurs do.)My energy drains from social interaction and even from just being around people. And yes, this also happens even if the activity is something I truly enjoy and I really like the people I’m with.(If you recognize this, you are most likely an introvert as well)Of course, every introvert has extravert moments and vice versa.I’m not a complete lunatic living on the edge of society without ever talking to anyone but myself and my cat.(That I don’t even have..)But if I want to be able to function, be happy and healthy AND be able to fulfill my mission, I need to spend between 75 – 90% of my time alone.As you can probably imagine, achieving this in a society that is completely build and structured around extraverted people, who thrive on being around people, social activities and interaction, is a REALLY tough job.Over the years I have learned how to deal with this.I learned how to manage my energy; how to restore myself when I was drained; how to set boundaries; how to say NO; etc.I also learned how to structure my business, my programs, my services and my marketing in a way that works for me.(Which was also a challenge. A lot of the things most business coaches teach don’t work for me.)This year my business grew a lot, and much faster than I expected.Which is of course wonderful news and I am very, very grateful for it.But… as a result I had too little time for myself again.I felt stressed, completely drained, unhappy, and totally disconnected from my soul and the world – which is how I always feel when I don’t spend enough time alone.I asked myself:How the hell am I going to take good care of myself, make sure I have plenty of time to be alone, make plenty of money, reach more people, have way less social interaction, publish my book and launch 2 new programs in 2013- all at the same time?!?And for the gazillionth time, I wondered WHY I had such a weird and seemingly contradictory combination of my mission and my personality:
I need to be alone most of the time yet I work with people.
I don’t want to leave the house and I hate to travel yet it’s my mission to reach millions of people worldwide.
I want to make a difference in the lives of so many people, yet I can only have interactions with clients for a very limited amount of time.
I love coaching people but it completely drains my energy if I have too many clients.
I slowly found my answer this year, and made a powerful decision as a result of it.I decided to structure my business in a way that serves my inner hermit for 100% instead of 90%, just as I have already done in my personal life.This decision means that in 2013 I will only have interactions with clients for a maximum of 4 hours a week, spread out over 2 days. (These client hours include any kind of interaction I have with my clients and potential clients: coaching sessions, group calls, teleseminars, sales conversations etc.)The rest of the time I can develop and launch 2 new programs, work on my business and marketing, publish and launch my new book, etc. etc.Right now, I am restructuring my business and programs to make this decision a reality.I can only do this now, after I learned how to apply marketing and business principles to my business in a way that worked for me.But the most important reason I am now able to do it MY WAY for 100% without making any compromises, is this:Because I finally accepted and embraced my inner hermit completely, and to acknowledge it as my gift and my strength instead of seeing it as a burden I had to work around.Some of the lessons I’ve learned that I truly and deeply hope are helpful to you as well, are:
Every aspect of who you truly are has valueand is something that in one way or another helps you fulfill your purpose and be the best version of yourself you can possibly be – even those aspects that you think are weird, painful or a burden to yourself and/or others;
It is entirely possible to be a hermit or an introvert and run a successful business at the same time. Being an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to structure your life and your work in a way that serves you 100% – especially when you are an introvert!
Enjoy, share and celebrate your uniqueness! It is your gift to the world.
I hope reading my story inspired and served you.And I would love to hear your comments, thoughts, and whatever you recognize in my story.