Introvert or Extrovert? The Confidence Conundrum
I was asked a brilliant question in my community today. Does being an introvert make it harder to build confidence?
On the face of it, the answer seems clear. Of course! If you’re inwardly focused then putting yourself out there’s going to be harder, right?
Being an introvert has nothing to do with confidence in the same way that coming from Brazil has nothing to do with being good at football.
Being an introvert or extrovert isn’t a personality trait – it’s a way of being.
It’s defined by the way you process and recharge. Introverts regain energy by being alone whilst extroverts thrive in the company of others.
Nor is your type something you can help. Research suggests that it’s down to the way we’re wired. Some of us get a big dopamine hit (the hormone responsible for our sense of reward) from being amongst people but for others, that exact same hit is simply overwhelming.
There’s also the idea that you’re either introverted or extroverted – and for most of us, that’s just not true. We’re complex beings who exist on a spectrum, usually exhibiting traits from both sides.
I’m a prime example of an extroverted introvert. I’m perfectly capable hob-nobbing (not in the biscuity sense, I hasten to add), but I know that it will take it out of me. I need some alone time to recuperate.
So why can confidence seem harder to build for people with introvert tendencies? The answer’s simple. It’s all about perception.
We tend to associate confidence with sociability. If someone is reserved, we might assume they lack confidence. If they’re the life and soul, we generally believe the opposite.
But neither is true.
Confidence is quiet. It comes from within. It’s about the ability to turn your thoughts into action. It’s about knowing your worth and valuing your own opinion. It’s about resilience and self-belief, even in the face of adversity. But most of all it’s about accepting who you are and having the courage to keep going, even when things feel uncomfortable.
I help many extroverts who simply don’t feel confident. Likewise, I know sh*t loads of highly confident introverts. The trick is to work with, rather than against, yourself. Introversion should not hold you back (that’s a self-limiting belief in action, but we’ll save that for another blog).
Like everything, the key to confidence lies in the doing. You can pass your driving test, but if you don’t continue to drive, you’ll never build the experience to feel good behind the wheel. You might fear speaking out, but unless you try that fear won’t dissipate.
Your brain holds you back because it wants to stay safe. But safe is comfortable, and very few gains are made my hanging around in the depths of your comfort zone. Quite frankly, it may feel snug but it’s very rarely satisfying.
Introvert or extrovert, confidence comes from nudging forwards. It’s about making your comfort zone wider then lurking around at the edge. Before you know it, you’ll take what previously scared you in your stride. And you won’t look back. That, dear readers, is the root of building confidence.