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What Drives Her? What's Her Leadership Style? How Does She Relax? How Does She Engage with Introverts?

I'm excited to introduce our October Guest Blogger to Beyond Introversion. I hope to bring various perspectives to our blog that expand our own thinking and help us to cope and thrive as introverts. So this month Renee Friedman joins us. She is my sister, an amazing, resilient, caring person. And she is a EXTROVERT extraordinaire!

Renee Friedman...wife, mother, business owner, philanthropist, and extrovert extraordinaire!

Throughout our Q&A discussion, it became obvious that we are both quite different but also have similar challenges, we just may go about tackling them in different ways. One thing that is certain is that in these days of polarization, the more we understand each other, the easier we can accept other views and strengthen ourselves.

Renee lives in Orlando, Florida. She is married to Richard Goldstein. Her lovely daughter, Haley, is at the University of Georgia and her step-son, Jake, is at Berklee College of Music. Renee is Owner/CEO of the FASTSIGNS® of Orlando, FL - Central store.

> INTROVERTS EVERYWHERE WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE AN EXTROVERT. Being an extrovert is fun and exciting! I love meeting new people and creating special relationships. It's fun to walk into an event or gathering and have people to chat with.

> HOW DO YOU SATISFY YOUR NEED FOR SOCIALIZING? My job is very social. I get a big mix of employee, customer, vendor, and peer interaction every day. In addition to that, I go to all kinds of networking events, speakers, and other planned meetings. When I'm not doing that, I plan brunch, chat on the phone, invite friends over, go to dinners, etc.

> WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU WANT TO WIND DOWN? I love to watch chick TV, hang out by or in the pool, rock in my rocking chair, playing mahjongg, and kayaking on the lake as well as getting my nails done or hair washed. I love to Facebook and play a couple of games on my phone.

> COULD YOU HANG OUT ALL WEEKEND AT HOME? Not all weekend. I like to hang out Friday night with my hubby. By Saturday evening, we are either cooking out or going out to dinner to meet friends and often have people over Sunday for brunch or to swim. Being an extrovert also means a lot of friends will call to do things too.

> DO YOU LIKE TO READ BOOKS? I used to but now I play games on my phone instead.

Renee Friedman and husband Richard Goldstein celebrate a set of business performance awards.

Renee and the Orlando Central FASTSIGNS® team.

> YOU ARE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNER AND STORE MANAGER. WHAT DRIVES YOU? I'm driven by an intense need to succeed, perhaps given I'm a middle child. I'm actually a bit shy and insecure, so I'm driven to overcome and feel good about myself. I go all in and am very persistent. I don't give up easily and believe hard work pays off. I believe in people and their abilities. Lazy people and bad attitudes make me crazy!

> WHAT IS YOUR ENGAGEMENT STYLE WITH STAFF? My style is enthusiastic, energetic, and casual.I am very engaged. I am casual and easy to approach. I do want other's input and opinions. I do not want to micromanage.

> WHAT'S THE FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB? I love helping people and solving problems. We help customers of all types with signage, printing, and graphic projects. I also love giving my team an opportunity to grow and make a good living for them and their family.

> HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE YOUR ENGAGEMENT SKILLS OUTSIDE WORK? I am always networking in a low key style. Everyone I meet is an opportunity for a new friend, and most people do need signage and printing of some kind.

Renee celebrated as a Champion of Orlando's Best Buddies, a program supporting the special need's community.

> I KNOW YOU DO A LOT OF COMMUNITY SERVICE. WHAT SPARKS THAT PASSION? When I was having a rough time during the Recession, some people really reached out to help me. As my business started to grow again, I wanted to give back to the community. We do a lot of In-Kind donations as well as financial Sponsorships.

> WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE IF NOT A FASTSIGNS® OWNER? I've always wanted to be a stand up comedian. I think I'm funny and I love to talk. But you might be surprised to learn that I am very anxious in front of people, especially large crowds!

> HOW DO YOU RELATE TO INTROVERTS? For the most part, the people around me are more extroverted. The kind of business I'm in lends itself to having outgoing people on the sales team and fast-paced, energetic people in graphics and production.

My husband is more introverted and some customers are too. I have to really slow down to relate to introverts. I don't "get" where they're coming from! My husband actually thinks about what he says before responding! That frustrates me sometimes. But I see the benefits and I'm learning to think about decisions more. I have to back off some and slow down my energy level too.

> WHAT DO YOU THINK OUR INTROVERT AUDIENCE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT EXTROVERTS? Even though we're very different, we have a lot to offer each other. But sometimes being an extrovert is too much! There's a part of me that needs and likes peace and quiet and private time. There are also times when even I feel like I don't fit in. This can happen in a big group. Usually, I can get through this with an attitude of never knowing who I might meet. Sometimes, I 'll meet someone that is amazing or has a great story.

I must admit, I chuckled after our discussion. While I would tend to ponder my answers and provide a brief response, Renee spent almost two hours providing background and perspectives as they rolled out of her head. But I learned a whole lot about my sister and the conversation came easy.

Renee loves her fast-paced, interactive lifestyle. Her sales and marketing roles are well aligned with her need to socialize and her big heart. Her verbose personality exposes her genuine care and empathy. However, even she enjoys downtime every once in a while. While I need recovery time every day and often several times during the day, smaller less frequent "chill" time often is enough for Renee to re-energize and seek her next social engagements.

While I rationalize and often dismiss the value of trying to enter new conversations, Renee sees the possibilities and that excites her. Nevertheless, she admits sometimes I am "a lot for some people." Renee's interaction with introverts provides a learning ground for all of us and proves that despite very different approaches, we may not be that different after all!




CLIMBING KILI- Choices, Choices, Choices... (10/16/19)

Next year my daughter and I will tackle Kilimanjaro together. Though I haven't hiked regularly in a long time, I used to go out with my dad a lot when I was a kid. I spent an afternoon hiking to our favorite spot and reflecting a few months after he passed...

November 28, 2013

Dearest Dad,

Today, I’ve come to visit you at Peavine Falls. It’s a beautiful clear, chilly day at Oak Mountain. I piloted the hike down to the falls with the experience and familiarity that will never leave me. I remember the narrowing path, each of the twists and turns, the trees I held as I navigated around exposed roots. I hear the birds chirping in the distance. I see the tree branches filled with an array of colors, waving in the occasional breeze. The trickle of the waterfall below signaling the dryness of the summer as it fades away.

I hear you questioning why I came so ill-prepared. Where is my water? My map? My compass and snack bag? I chuckle, and yet, I am here, with you. Perhaps one last time.

It’s been five years since I’ve been here. I feel close to you here. I miss you terribly, each and every day. I think of you and your unflinching love. I think of your resilient, devoted personality which you passed on to me. I didn’t recognize the gift back then and, if I did, I didn’t want it. But I carry you with me every day…proudly.

I stare into the trees as I contemplate my letter to you. They seem to be leaning toward me, as if they embody you and you are striving to listen to my unspoken words. I think you would be proud of the work I’ve done over the past few years to fix my life. I’ve tried to listen to what you taught me, your subtle yet powerful examples. I look down into my laptop screen, and the reflection is my own, yet I see you…your thick brows, prominent nose, and smile which you can’t help but twist until I laugh.

It’s funny, as a kid I felt like perhaps we spent too much time together – dragged off on hikes on dirty, bumpy trails without TV or friends. Our times were spent with agonizing silence. Yet now I realize, that in between your long work weeks, you chose to spend time with me. Time away from the rat race of life and the stress of a house full of teenagers and real-world issues, and come to nature with me. Nature provided the peace and tranquility you yearned for; the peace I’m now realizing I too crave. To instill appreciation of the brilliance of nature in me for the rest of my life was indeed a gift. Ours was perhaps an unspoken love in many ways. We rarely talked in depth…about girls, life, money, dreams, concerns, aches, or pains. Yet, now, I feel like we understand each other. That our thoughts, cares, hurts and coping passed between us to some degree, albeit with a heart wrenching three-decade lag.

You’ve inspired me to write a book, to capture my story for myself and my family.

I wish we had talked more, to know more of your past – your childhood, your relations with your parents, your battles and your eventual acceptance of your own personality which I so reluctantly received from you. What drove you, what inspired you, what saddened you, what made you most happy? We didn’t talk about this openly, but I suspect I know, as my answers to such questions were hatched from yours.

Forever more, I wear your wedding ring on my right hand, a tribute to my unrecognized right-hand man all these years and in hopes of emulating your character and making you proud of me as a husband, father, and mensch.

I’m ready to walk back up the trail now.

I love you lots and carry you with me always.

Talk to you soon!

Love Stephen



Monday is NATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY! Above, my dad is sporting one of our favorite shirts, "Give up the chocolate and nobody gets hurt!" But this was not just a shirt but a family motto growing up, where we always had several versions in the house (ice cream, cookies, cake, brownies...). This picture is during my high stress "heavyweight" years, when I clearly took full advantage of the family motto! Enjoy Halloween!


by C RANARD / MookyChick

What a great article and so fitting for our main topic with our guest blogger. The writer, an extrovert, shares his own difficulties blending into an introvert workplace. He learns about himself and his co-workers and what makes a work culture productive.

My favorite quote is "Blending introverted and extroverted personalities in a work setting is all about understanding one another and understanding the needs of your co-workers." It supports this week's blog that introverts and extroverts are more similar than one might think it gaining personal awareness and trying to fit in.

Take a look...

ASPECTS IN ART: Witchy Woman (10/2/19)

"The Witchy Woman" by Jennifer Friedman / What a perfect creation for Halloween month! She is strong, powerful, and mysterious. You can even (literally) see the fearlessness in her teeth! This collage is 100% ripped out of magazine pictures and then carefully assembled to evoke a spine-tingling chill. Step back and she is spooky. Look closer and amaze at her hidden friends and messages. Enjoy...if you dare!

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