Tag Archives: college

Forced to be an Extrovert

On any given day I see all kinds of articles about being an extrovert/introvert.  Most of them speak to the difficulties and misunderstandings that come along with being an introvert.  Upon meeting me, most people would characterize me as an extrovert.  I thrive in social settings.  I make friends easily.  I was in outside sales for a pretty good chunk of my career.  I’m passionate about getting to know people and sharing my personal story.  I love having all eyes on me.

I don’t think I was born an extrovert.  I think I was born and perhaps conditioned to be an introvert.  Every step I’ve taken towards being an extrovert has been calculated and has come with truly powering through a gauntlet of personal doubt, inadequate feelings, and insecurities.  Naturally I don’t hold my head high and command attention.  It’s quite the opposite.  I want to run and hide and just observe like a good little introvert.

I guess the transformation began in high school and has continued through my life since then.  We all have those teachers/coaches that change our lives.  I’ve had so many and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for their encouragement to uncover who I am.  It’s like I focused so hard on school because the pep talks and recognition wasn’t coming from my home life.  I could succeed academically and in the sports and clubs I was a part of in high school.

I had two phenomenal volleyball coaches, Mr. John Basile and Mr. Michael Seaman.  Mr. Seaman was also my 9th grade English teacher.  He was a huge part of my life during my 4 years at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, PA.  I took away so many pearls of wisdom from him but there is one instance that always sticks out in my mind.  I believe I was walking down the hall by his classroom one day and I was walking like I always walked.  I had my head down, looking at the ground.  I never realized this was the norm.  But he called me out on it.  I don’t remember his exact words but he essentially told me to stop looking down because I had so much going for me and so much to look forward to in life.  BOOM!  Stopped me right in my tracks.  I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anything like that before.  It was one of those moments that I’ll never forget because it impacted my life exponentially.  I started believing in myself and my desire to succeed.  I could stop carrying the cross of outside influences and start acting with pride because I had so many successes and accomplishments.

High school also came with so many opportunities to lead.  I was captain of the volleyball team, captain of the Hi-Q (quiz bowl) team, some designation in the honor society, and a member of the newspaper, yearbook, Shakespeare Troop, Literary Magazine, etc.  If it was a thing, I was a member.  It afforded me opportunities to be in the spotlight.  It was incredibly uncomfortable in so many ways but in EVERY way possible, these opportunities were giving me an outlet to express who I wanted to be (deep down, who I already was).

Fast-forward to college… I found myself in the same types of situations.  I wasn’t confident but I kept throwing myself into tasks and roles that would allow me to develop into a confident and outspoken young lady.  I joined a sorority and became their Recruitment Chair for 2 years.  I had to lead events and essentially speak on behalf of our sorority.  I presented papers at out-of-state conferences.  I joined so many organizations and my schedule was packed to the gills.  I pushed myself into the spotlight.  I remember doubting myself every step of the way.  All of it was uncomfortable. Everyone around me always knew I could do it.  I’ve had so many amazing people in my life who insisted on pushing me.  I’m eternally grateful.

My outside sales job for Henry Schein, Inc. was probably the most grueling job for me as a (what I believe) natural introvert.  Day after day I would call on dental offices.  I would try to build rapport and get them to buy something (anything!) from me.  I was out of me element.  And to boot, I had so much windshield time because I was covering a territory so that just gave me more time to process self-doubt.  It was brutal, but I did it.  I was successful but god was it gut-wrenching at times.  I went on and took three “sales jobs” after that.  I was always pitching something to someone and trying to develop deep connections.  I got pretty good at it, but it always felt like it took so much focus and energy to do it.  But I got comfortable in my skin and confident in my messaging.

And today, I feel the same way.  What brought this all on was working one of the Accepted Students Days for WCU.  Before I moved onto being the Community Manager for The Village and East Village Apartment for USH at West Chester University I started in their Leasing Department.  There was more selling when I was on the leasing side of the operations.  I miss it at times.  But as I was working the Accepted Students Day yesterday I could feel how much I miss making that connection with people and the challenge of getting them to realize what you wanted them to realize.  I felt social yesterday.  I felt like a true extrovert.  I didn’t mind it.  It felt great to wear that hat again.  When I’m in that role now I only feel a surge of energy and a nudge to deliver.

Maybe I’m a born extrovert after all.

 

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I Might Be Wrong

So there’s this super awesome way I’m able to transport myself back to times when I felt infinitely more hopeful and connected.  I have this cool trick allows me to feel past feelings, experience the joys and sorrows of yesteryears, and flat out just emote.  Okay, okay, okay, it’s not rocket science.  I just listen to music.  As I grow older I have less and less time to dedicate to music but music used to be a huge part of my life.  I wish it still was… and I’m happy I still have time to change that.  Anyway, I’m spinning Amnesiac by Radiohead as I type and it brings me right back to my dorm room senior year.  It’s a perfect place for me to travel back to because I had all the possibilities in the palm of my hand.  I loved who I was.  I was a poet, a student, a lover, and a kick-ass party girl!  Ha!  Total perfection, right?  I’m hoping to be that girl again when I retire.

My last blog was a bit heavy and rightfully so.  I’m tackling mountains these days and I’m winning for now.  I have about 80 lbs to lose and a pretty damaging habit to kick.  I look back at happy times in my life… those times when I felt connected to life… but I also look forward hoping those feelings will surface again.  I have it in me.  I know it’s there because things don’t leave.  I have always been and will always be everything I’ll ever need  to be.  I have everything inside of me that I’ll ever need.  My decisions just need to work on uncovering instead of covering my past parts.  Easier said than done (as is the case with typing out most of these realizations).

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal and my goal is to write 3 things I’m grateful for when I wake up and 3 things I’m grateful for when I go to bed.  It’s been a great practice so far but I feel like I need to get more out of it.  I started by writing just a simple sentence.  But that’s not doing a damn thing because I find different ways of saying the same stuff day after day.  So I’m forcing myself to expand on the thought for like 1 or 2 more sentences.  So far, so good but I still think I’m missing the mark.  I need to dig deeper because I’m not getting emotional enough during the process.  I want to feel these words and feel these connections.

Being addicted to alcohol is like throwing white paint all over the Mona Lisa.  It erases creativity and beauty.  It covers the artist and suppresses any hope of growth.  I didn’t realize this for the longest time.  But I was essentially making myself numb, completely numb from feeling both good and bad… happy and sad.  There was nothing.  I didn’t want to feel the bad so I chose to feel nothing at all as a precaution.  Ha!  I thought I had out-maneuvered life… but really, I just found a way to mute ALL life inside of me.  With this slowly becoming a thing of my past, I can already feel my creative juices flowing and I’m pumped.  That sense of connection will be restored, I’m 100% certain of that!  And maybe I’ll make new memories now with music that I’ll want to revisit 20 years from now.  #goals