Introverts and energetic choices

The first choice. (You know, the one that affects all your other business choices.)

For years, my best friend Doey’s corporate work meant she came home five days a week with her brain turned to mush and preeeeetty much all her energies sapped. She flopped on the couch before she could talk to Marty, even though they were newly married and she loved him more than anyone else on the planet. Those few minutes of rest could stretch into hours, simply because she’s a total introvert who had to expend all her extroverted juice (and then some) throughout the course of her day job.

I guarantee you’re not reading that like, “Doey sounds like a real ASSHOLE.” You’re nodding in agreement because you’ve been there. We’ve all had jobs that pretty much drove us crazy and that seemed to leech our energies from us without our awareness. We’ve come home with absolutely nothing left to give.

But nothing changes if you don’t.

It’s your job to fill the well. It’s your job to recharge your batteries.

That’s why both Doey and I advocate creating a rhythm for your extroversion. Whether you’ve still got a day job where you use all your extroverted juice or you’re a full-time entrepreneur, it’s your job to begin scheduling Disciplined Introversion.

It’s your job to fill the well. It’s your job to recharge your batteries.

When you’re pulling energy from an empty battery, nothing works. Not your family, not your personal life, and certainly not your business. They’re inextricably linked. Further…

What you might identify as failure, procrastination, slacking, stupidity, or other horrible things (because your brain is an asshole) might actually be profound exhaustion.

Have you taken a break for a bit of solitude? Have you actively recharged your batteries by being alone?

I barely got to freaking pee by myself at the 2014 Brand Camp event. I totally understand. Sometimes you’re with people all day every day for days on end. How are you compensating for all that extroversion?

Quick ‘n dirty ideas for nurturing your introversion! Take a long walk or run in the park all by your lonesome. Sneak away to the library or bookstore in the morning. Draw yourself a bubble bath once the kids are in bed. Order takeout and make something with the time you’d normally be using to cook. Read. Paint. Draw. Strum your guitar. Lie on the floor and listen to music as loud as you want. Play in the dirt. Sew. Meditate. Pray. Write. Snuggle with the cats. Or dogs. Or sheep. (Whatever floats your boat.) Get coffee at the local cafe and do absolutely nothing else. People watch. Drive. Work out. Stretch. Nap.

We’ve got to monitor our energy levels and plan accordingly.

Three holiday parties in a row? Gonna need some extra introverted time.
Nothing on the calendar for the next week? Storing up extroverted juice for future needs.

Your energetic choices affect your business just as deeply as your selling, marketing, and financial choices.

No energy? No selling.
40% less energy than usual? Lackluster performance for clients.
Consistently poor energy? Fewer clients, less income.

This is, perhaps, the ultimate lesson in boundary making: learning to manage your own energy and to prioritize it above the other demands of your life.

There’s no shame in saying you’re tired and taking a nap with the kids, or in canceling a commitment because you need a breather, or in paying a sitter so you can have two hours to people watch. I know you’ll disagree and tell me you don’t have time or don’t have a choice or can’t afford it or hate me for suggesting that a sitter can be “wasted” on mere people watching at the local cafe, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

There’s no shame in recognizing and meeting your own needs.

It makes you a better business owner, a better partner, a better parent, a better human. When your cup is full, you’re free to fill the cups of others lovingly and willingly, instead of begrudgingly and with a careful eye toward conservation. (Because you’ve got 3 drops of “Yes, that would be great!” left, and you’ve got to use ’em sparingly.)

Which introverted activity can you commit to completing weekly? Add that puppy to the calendar and begin.

P.S.  Pick up a copy of Introverts at Work if you want to explore marketing and sales techniques for Quiet-with-a-capital-Q peeps like yourself.

Photo // Jon Canlas