Personal Growth

The Self-Improvement Journey of an Introvert

By Allen Prescott

In the early 1990's I took a big step in my self-improvement journey and joined many of Suzanne Harrill's self-esteem workshops. I learned how important it was to accept and love myself. I learned to use positive self-talk instead of negative self-talk. I learned about how we project ourselves onto others (the mirror). I learned to use affirmations. I increased my self-esteem.

In the late 1990's I took another big step in my self-improvement journey by joining Toastmasters International. I learned how to effectively communicate with audiences (public speaking). I learned how to be a leader. I increased my self-confidence. Basically, I learned not to be terrified speaking in front of people.

However, I took my biggest step in my self-improvement journey by learning the true meaning of being an introvert. Most of my life I knew I was an introvert because I did several of those Myers-Briggs personality tests at my places of employment. I was a geeky, shy computer programmer who identified more with my computer than other people.  I became overwhelmed in noisy environments. I hated small-talk. I was a loner. I had to think before speaking. I hated being interrupted. I understood the importance of high self-esteem and I was a good communicator and leader because of Toastmasters, however, I thought I was this defective person because of my introversion.

In 2014 I was browsing a bookstore and came across a book called Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. I thought to myself, "Why would anybody write a book about introverts. What a boring subject." I flipped through the book and was awestruck! I read a paragraph and thought, "That's the way I feel!" I read another paragraph and thought, "Wow, that's me!" I got the same reaction paragraph after paragraph. Of course, I bought the book and read it front to back, several times. I could not figure out how the author could have been so "spot on" about the way I have been experiencing life. I figured that there were only two possibilities: Either the author somehow had insight into my life and was writing about me; or, there were millions and millions of others out there experiencing the same feelings I was about being an introvert. I rationalized that it must be the latter.

Since then I have purchased may more introvert books. In addition to "The Introvert Advantage, How to Thrive in an Extrovert World;" I read "Introvert Power, Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength" by Lauri Helgoe, PhD; "The Introvert Revolution, A Quiet Path to Reclaiming Our Power" by Michaela Chung; "Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain; just to name a few. I keep up with many websites and Facebook pages about introverts. I even have an introvert coach who authors a website and blog. I consider myself an introvert expert.

My head was bursting with all of this knowledge and I wanted to share it with others. I knew there were many people out there who were introverts but simply did not understand that it was okay. They did not understand the "introvert way." I started a discussion group called "West Houston Introverts" on www.meetup.com. When I relocated to Huntsville, AL the middle of 2017 I started another discussion group meetup called "Huntsville Introverts." I was screaming and yelling, in my own quiet introvert way, to anybody who would listen that if you're an introvert, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with you!

You may be asking yourself, what's all the fuss about introverts? What's the big deal? What's the difference between introverts and extroverts? What does all this have to do with self-esteem? I'll answer all of those questions and more in future articles.

 

Allen Prescott is a native Texan, who lived in the greater Houston area most of his life. In 1985 he met the woman of his dreams and married in 1987. We have two boys ages 24 and 27.  Allen is software engineer who worked on the Space Shuttle program for 12 years at Johnson Space Center. During a downturn in he was laid off due to the decline in the price of a barrel of oil.  He found a perfect job in Huntsville, AL working on the new NASA rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS).   You can contact Allen at allen.prescott@comcast.net

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