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This Halloween - It's Time for Introverts to Take Off Our Masks!

Dispelling Four Common Myths of Introversion

I never considered myself a good actor. But since I began my Beyond Introversion blog in July and announced my book on related subjects, 9 out of 10 of my closest friends and co-workers have said the same thing - "I never pegged you as an introvert. I always found you to be very social, outgoing, and a great team leader."

Yet throughout my journey over the last several years, I've become convinced of my introverted personality and more aware of the struggles I endured over the years to either hide my introversion or cave to the pressure to perform by wearing a mask of extroversion, a bit of a "fake it 'til you make it" approach with serious repercussions.

It's time for Introverts to take our masks off!

I've reconciled those diametrically opposed views as a lack of appreciation and knowledge of introversion itself. Many myths are just plain wrong:

  1. People tend to believe that introverts are socially awkward in every way. They can't hold fluid conversations and don't like to be out with people. I can understand this perspective. I've thought this about myself for decades. But actually I now know it is not true. For me, I can be quite social in the right situations, especially smaller groups of people I know and have something in common.

  2. People believe introverts can't be strong team leaders. Again, I questioned my leadership often. But introverts actually often make excellent leaders. They plan, prepare, think creatively, empathize with staff, customers, and others, don't rush to judgment, and are resilient in the face of pressure and crises.

  3. Because introverts do tend to be quieter, many don't believe introverts work well under pressure. But actually, when I was under pressure - when I felt I needed to socialize or have a difficult discussion with staff, or make a difficult business decision - I pushed myself WAY out of my comfort zone to deliver.

  4. Some may suspect introverts are not prepared to sacrifice. After all, we appear to stay inside and shrink from social situations. But I know I'm not alone when I say I nearly sacrificed everything to be a team leader and to deliver on my manager's expectations, not to mention my own lofty goals, regardless of the risks, oftentimes to the detriment of my own health and family time.

"...we all have our own personal demons..."

I'm also discovering the stigma of introversion when I share the topic of my blog or upcoming book (In Search of Courage: An Introvert's Struggle with Addictive Behaviors) with family, friends, and co-workers. Perhaps they are introverts themselves and "shy" away from the conversation or maybe they are expecting that the myths of introversion above will make for a sad and short conversation. I admit I catch myself slipping into my old mindset of low self-esteem during some of these conversations. However, if I push through my own aversions and explain the strengths and resiliency of introverts, others become engaged. And when I suggest we all have our own personal demons and roadblocks that we may spend our lifetime trying to figure out, I suddenly see head nods and interesting conversation ensues.

Introvert's Call to Action:

Take off our masks, shrug off the stigmas, take confidence in our strengths, and


Finally, in the spirit of Halloween, here are my favorite past Halloween "masks":

Top L-R: Friend Ricky and I celebrating winning UofA costume contest as a pair of sperm with my sister, Renee, alongside; 'Bama elephant; Cow costume with daughter Madolyn pulling my udders.

Bottom L-R: Pumpkin Head; Family costumes including my Backward Man; reenactment of my post-bike accident ailments.





November 1st is NATIONAL AUTHOR'S DAY!

Friday is National Author's Day. If, like millions of writers, you dream of setting your words free and publishing your materials, Friday is a great reminder that it can be done! In this digital age anybody can publish an eBook through Amazon. Buy a book or just check out one of the many self-publishing websites and you're on your way.

Though I first published in 1977 (Left Photo), rekindling my writing passion recently will culminate in my latest publication as a true author 43 years later, in March, 2020.


by Michaela

Three minute uplifting video emphasizing our many strengths and the need to stand proud. Micheala insists "we are not broken extroverts" and that "when you know how to stand alone, the world can't bring you down." Start your journey here...

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

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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