I’m a total introvert.
People don’t believe this because I can get on stage and speak with what appears to be no fear or debilitating shyness. I’m comfortable teaching, being the center of attention, and leading groups large and small. (Like the Steer Your Ship peeps in Costa Rica circa 2014.)
But truly: I’m an introvert.
Post Brand Camp the camp, in which I was literally not even alone long enough to pee, I pulled back and hung out by myself for a few weeks. Because sometimes that’s what it takes to balance out all that amazingness and human interaction.
Further: I’m a hermit.
Yes, I enjoy traveling to exotic locales. But while there, I enjoy staying pretty close to “home.” I walk from the house to the beach and back. I go on an excursion and come back. I’m perfectly fine to let the beach dogs come to my chair, thank you very much, and love ’em like crazy before they run away.
I often feel bad, wrong, guilty, or otherwise terrible about these tendencies. I prefer to be at home or far away from home, but I don’t really have much of an in-between. You can find me at home most nights. Most weekends. Most days. I fight routine and structure but thrive on it, too.
Even further: I’m an online hermit. I just check out of that shit sometimes to be offline.
To allow for output — like writing books like Introverts at Work — I have to have solid input. Days at the museum. Time at the park. Yoga, meditation, running. Green smoothies, lots of sleep. Exploring neighborhoods. (Yesterday I found a new book store! It’s the Holy Grail of fantastic finds!)
I’ve got an auto responder up and I’m down to checking e-mail once a week. Further online hermiting. I’ve been posting to Instagram infrequently.
Here’s the thing: I’m not wrong. If you do this, too, you’re not freaking wrong.
There’s no THOU SHALT BE-IST PLUGGED INTO THY SCREENS FOR FOUR HOURS PER DAY commandment.
It’s okay to turn it off, shut it down, and step away from the noise. You don’t need to take that Buzzfeed quiz. You don’t need to know what the Kardashians are doing or catch up on the latest controversy.
The 11th commandment is: DO YOUR WORK.
Your work. The stuff only you can do. Touch the lives only you can touch. Take the steps only you can take. And protect yourself in the process.
You need to breathe.
You need to find a rhythm.
You need to acknowledge your limits and enjoy the offline portions of your life.
You probably need a minute.
Currently, I’m finding my steady creation rhythm and taking good care of myself.
New projects require focus, determination, and routine. They require nearly unwavering dedication.
It’s okay to ditch social media while you bring something new into the world. (Hell, ditch it forever if it feels right!)
It’s okay to let people know you’re not responding to e-mail on an hourly or even daily basis. It’s okay to give up on inbox zero.
Take time off.
Take care of yourself.
Do what needs to be done to bring your great work into the world.
And don’t you dare apologize for it, please.
The last thing the world needs is someone else with their head in their phone, killing time on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or YouTube.
We need people who make stuff and do stuff. People who are out to BE somebody. Businesses out to make a change, make us laugh, help us achieve our goals, or make our lives easier. We need solutions to all sorts of problems.
We need art. We need YOUR art.
We need music and paintings and crafts and conversations. We need YOUR music and paintings and crafts and conversations.
We need you to be who you are, to resist the forces that will let your phone take over your whole life (oh sweet, sweet torturous iPhone…how I love and hate you), and to get your particular flavor of genius out into the world.
Turn off your phone, kill your screens, and do the work.
You’re just plain brilliant when you do your work.
P.S. I’m proud of you.
Photos // Lauren Guilford, Steer Your Ship Costa Rica