Updated: Oct 4
1) Do you consider yourself an introvert?
2) Do you feel confined by the traditional definition of introversion?
3) Do you want to embrace your introversion to help reach your dreams?
4) Do you want to grow beyond introversion?
I answered "yes" to each of these, but it took me decades to move beyond the 2nd question.
Now I'm on a personal journey to understand and embrace my true personality. I'm done with the "fake it 'til you make it" approach I enlisted through my 30 years in corporate America. Now I'm reaching for my dreams!
If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, then BEYOND INTROVERSION is for you!
As part of my own personal journey, I've been working on my first book In Search of Courage and planning on tackling my 11-year old dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with my daughter in 2020.
Now a bit about me...
My name is Steve Friedman. I grew up in a loving yet sometimes turbulent home in Alabama during the '70s. I always struggled to meet the social expectations of others, including my mom, teachers, and classmates.
My favorite time was alone time.
My mom seemed to worry about my solitude…a lot more than I did. “Why don’t we set up a play date with a friend?”
“I’m fine. No one I really want to hang out with, Mom.”
“What about at kindergarten? Maybe get to know them better?”
“I don’t know Mommy.”
“You should try Stephen. It’d be good for you.”
“Fine” I sighed, anxious to move on from this subject.
I always felt a bit odd, unable to talk to the other kids at school. Or perhaps it was because I was the only kid in kindergarten routinely donning a suit and tie…at 6! My parents didn’t force that upon me. I just felt compelled to dress up to mimic my dad who always looked pretty dapper when he went to work.
Even my efforts to make friends were generally gawky and unsuccessful. One day at school I clung next to Isaac Furman. He was a popular guy amongst the dozen kids my age at kindergarten.
I gulped down the pit in my throat, bit my lower lip, and blurted “Hey. What’s up?”
Isaac took a long look at me in my suit.
“Hey, come here. Let me show you something,” Isaac whispered as he pointed into a closet. As I peaked in, he suddenly shoved me into the closet and wedged a chair against it to keep me trapped inside. Through the crack I could hear him gathering the others. I tried to push my way out without any luck. I sensed he was pointing at me trapped behind the door. He received adulation and laughter while I fought back my tears and anger. I pushed harder. But I chose not to beat on the door or yell for help. I didn’t want to give Isaac that satisfaction or make things worse for me. I was humiliated enough. Finally, I could hear the teacher enter the room and the others shuffled away from the closet.
The teacher pried the chair away and let me out. “Are you okay?”
I slinked out of the closet. Not wanting to attract any further attention, I mumbled, “I’m fine. I don’t want to talk about it.”
I escaped to the bathroom and hung my head. Why did they do that to me? Why me? What’s wrong with me?
After five minutes, I dried my face, reminded myself Mom would pick me up soon, and I returned to the classroom. I yearned for the safety of home. Perhaps it was just kid-fun, but I hated Isaac from that moment on.
In Search of Courage
Though I was only 6, I recoiled further from social scenes and enjoyed the solitude at home.
I eventually hired into the Energy industry as a Supply Analyst and enjoyed learning analytical tasks, only to discover with promotions and rising responsibilities came increased social exposure, presentations, and conflict resolution. I was exhausted and became dependent on destructive, addictive behaviors to cope with my stress.
After painful years of my own "fake it 'til you make it" approach, I finally began to embrace my need for solitude and tranquility, as well as my need to think, plan, and be creative.
This website is intended to share my own stories, perhaps helping other people's journey be a bit easier than my own.
After retiring recently, I set forth to rekindle my love for writing and chronicle my own stories in my memoir, In Search of Courage, due out in the first quarter of 2020.
My promise to you is to deliver an interesting and engaging blog every week packed with bare-your-soul revelations, information, and a bit of humor.
Our blog will grow with your feedback. What do you want to hear more of? Less of? Send your comments to our Facebook page @BeyondIntroversion.
See you next week!