077: Introvert –> Extrovert

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Welcome to another episode of Tuff Love, with Rob Kandell. This is Episode 77 and the topic is introversion vs. extraversion, and the journey from point A to point B. Rob shares some of his own story, as well as research about the topic. Then Jo and her partner Elvis jump in to share some great insights around the differences for men and women around this topic.

Rob was a really shy kid, and still considers himself shy when it comes down to it, but here he is doing a live show. To all the people who think they don’t know how to be in the world or handle their own shyness: you can do anything with what you perceive as a limitation. You can move from shyness into being connected in the world. If Rob can do it, you can do it. No more excuses!

There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert, because they would be in a lunatic asylum! It’s a spectrum, a continuum, and you fall somewhere along the line in the middle. You can move from one to another. There are skills and things you can do to migrate into more extroverted if that’s what you desire.

Rob shares his thoughts in response to an article on the Huffington Post called 23 Signs That You’re Secretly An Introvert by Carolyn Gregoire. Find the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431

  • You find small talk incredibly cumbersome. Rob agrees! Without a purpose there is too much pressure. He finds it hard to relate to people without creating something magical together.
  • You go to parties but not to meet people. Rob doesn’t go to meet people, more to be in the party environment. Introverts and extroverts go to parties for different reasons.
  • You often feel alone in a crowd. Rob believes a lot of people surely will identify with that feeling.
  • Networking makes you feel like a phony. Rob hates going to network events because he doesn’t feel authentically like himself there.
  • Down time doesn’t feel unproductive to you. Rob doesn’t resonate with this one identify with this one at all!
  • Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than talking with those afterward. Rob agrees, and shares a recent example of this.

How did Rob progress from a shy kid to doing a live talk at 47 years old? He was a shy, overweight kid and never felt comfortable in his own body. Even though he had friends an connected with people, that shyness and stuck feeling still persisted and impacted on his life. Here are some of the definitive things he did to migrate from purely introvert to more extrovert:

  • Playing football and other team sports. This helped because out of that he learned how to be connected to other human beings. It doesn’t have to be a sport, it could be any club or group that helps you migrate from isolated to connected.
  • Running for class president in the 11th To do this he had to give a speech and in the process he felt connected to the audience. Being vulnerable and real in front of the audience sparked something that built a foundation for connecting.
  • Getting out of a codependent relationship. In college, Rob was in a relationship with another introvert, and they began to get isolated because they were studying all the time and didn’t go out or socialize much. If you want to migrate from introvert to extrovert, just be careful if you start to date another introvert. It can build on each other, don’t fall prey to that and miss out on the joyous parts of life because of it.
  • Working in the restaurant business. This was life changing for Rob because it taught him many of the skills he still uses today. He thinks every kid in America should spend some time doing this work because you have to learn organization and customer service. Plus, you tend to treat people better after you have been a waiter.
  • Becoming the Saturday night bar tender at a high-end bar in Philadelphia. Rob realized that the amount of money he would make in tips was directly corresponding to how entertaining and extraverted he was. He pushed himself to develop a lot of skills, to learn to be expressive and it brought out the best part of him. Something about being ‘on the job’ and ‘in service’ and ‘part of the crew’ had Rob feel really comfortable compared to when wasn’t in a role. He now tries to apply this to daily life.
  • Being a teacher, coach and lecturer. This taught Rob how to speak and also entertain classes and get them to pay attention. In this role, he also had to pay attention to others and that was the key. When you go out in the world and you want to feel more connected to human beings, what you can do is take your attention off yourself, find yourself in a place of service and then fully dedicate yourself to that. When your attention is out and noticing someone else, it’s hard to be stuck in your own fears and own thoughts.
  • Leaning on extroverts to feel permission to bring out the extroverted side of himself. Ride the coat tails of others’ extroverted nature, sit near them and be part of the bigger experience. Being in the company of extroverts allows Rob’s inner extrovert to come out.
  • Allowing himself to feel his own value. That’s when the introvert shifts into the extrovert. If you want to do that, find the places when you can really feel who you are and what you want and how you can serve others.

In order to be connected to other human beings, could be in the place and role of service all the time.

Rob brings Jo on the line and she shares some insights about how her experience of being a woman has impacted her experience of showing up in the world as an extrovert or introvert. They explore:

  • Jo moves along the introvert and extrovert spectrum at different points in her cycle. In her pre-menstrual week she retreats a bit from the outside world and describes it as ‘shutters coming down’. Around ovulation, for obvious reasons, Jo feels more extroverted, energy levels are up, and then she goes back into her own little cocoon.
  • Men have a steady system so not used these kinds of fluctuations. Rob did a Tuff Love show a few months ago about the cycles and certain parts in a woman’s biology that allow her to come out and then a natural push to lower energy and contract back.
  • Jo finds that it is a really useful tool as a woman to realize what’s happening and book appointments around that. As a partner of a woman it helps if you can be a bit more in tune with what’s going on.
  • Women judge themselves if they’re not at their peak when the biology is saying ‘it’s time to lay fallow’ and other times it’s time to expand. If you allow yourself to go with it, the peaks and troughs are more enjoyable. Instead of trying to plough through those low energy times in the cycle, go with it and rest. Then the energy levels in the rest of the cycle are even higher.
  • Rob finds it interesting for all genders that there isn’t more attention paid to this cycle. There is some shame around the bodily function which is the most natural, important part of a woman’s system, and therefore we don’t confront it more fully so we can be better friends to ourselves and also our partners.
  • The idea that women have got to plough on is this old sense of competing with men and doing anything men can do. But there is an undulation and if you go with it, there’s gold in there.
  • Human beings are so in sync, we are totally connected to our partner. For the past 4 years Elvis and Jo have been getting really dialed into where Jo is at all times through her cycle. Elvis has been really aware and so Elvis is so connected to her cycle that it’s also almost his cycle.

Elvis feels he is pretty full tilt all the time but last night, as the shutters came down, it triggered something he hadn’t ever noticed before, and brought up stuff to do with his childhood of feeling ignored or not needed.