Hi. I’m Louisa and I’m 100% an introvert; a fact I discovered and am only now learning to recognise and embrace at the ripe age of 34. Turns out, I’ve been playing an extrovert most of my life. And playing it SO WELL that I even had myself convinced. For 30+ years. Impressive, right?
Until very recently I’d have told you I was an extrovert because I really thought I was. A lot of the signs are there: I love to chat, I laugh a lot and pretty loudly, I’m good at getting conversations going with people I don’t know, and I’d have said I LOVE a good party or night out (at which I was often the last woman standing).
Fast forward to a therapy session approximately a year ago, and an extraordinary penny drop when I realised I’d been ‘chameleoning’* through my day-to-day for pretty much my whole life.
I trained as a professional actor and then as a voice coach, working first as a performer, then with lots of them, both in training and on production (theatre/telly/film stuff). I went on to also work with broadcasters, presenters and public speakers. I’m a proud wife and mum, food lover and recovering (chronic) people-pleaser. I was the kid who ALWAYS performed in concerts, played in school sports matches, read at ceremonies, spoke at events and was the general all-round good egg who was so well prepped and keen to please I could be relied on to be wheeled out wherever and whenever. And I would bloody deliver.
Of course it felt good when people told me I was good at stuff or thanked me for taking something on, but really I was very often sacrificing my sense of self, or my own actual feelings in order to meet others’ expectation and make them happy or comfortable (did I mention I like to please?!). So this became the default.
And of course, it’s a pretty vicious ol’ cycle: when you’re not taking care of your own needs and pleasing yourself that way, you end up kinda needing that external validation to get your kicks.Making a shift away from this pretty toxic pattern of behaviour, which outwardly seemed uber-confident and capable but ultimately left me pretty near burn-out, has and continues to be an ALMIGHTY relief… Go figure!
So here we are. 2022 and the first year I’m embarking on as a PROUD, OUT & OUT INTROVERT. So proud in fact, I’ve ditched my full-time job and launched a business to support other introverts out there. Or you know, just human beings who actually find confrontation, difficult discussions and having to step up in any situation where the stakes are high nerve-wracking, and to make the fact it can feel difficult TOTALLY OK. I’m a qualified and experienced verbal communication specialist, committed and passionate life-long learner in the area of relational psychology & a qualified Level 2 Restorative Justice Facilitator all of which provide some incredibly powerful frameworks to ensure that introverts (et al.) are well equipped with psychology-backed techniques to handle any conversation calmly, kindly, and authentically.
I want to challenge and ultimately shift the narrative that you need to be bolshy, loud, authoritative and confident** to move up in the world, and the notion that if you aren’t those things you’d better get pretty good at pretending to be them if you wanna get anywhere. I want to change the idea that leadership (in any guise) looks like an extrovert. We can be the glorious, kind, reserved souls we are, AND ambitious, high achieving and true to ourselves.
If any of this resonates, please do check out my stuff. I’m going to be talking a lot about how to recognise power dynamics affecting situations, and how to hang on to your own agency in spite of this in a way that is non-confrontational, kind and powerful. I’m going to be talking a lot about what it actually means to be confident (and it really ISN’T always feeling great), and how you can hone your ability to tap into this. I’m going to be talking a lot about how to navigate conflict and difficult discussions calmly, kindly and entirely as wonderful you. No false bravado, fake it til you make it, or ‘just believe you’re more confident’ here. Do you lose sleep the night before a challenging conversation knowing you’re going to struggle to land your point in a way that feels right? Do you get anxious at the thought of speaking up in a group? Do you find yourself constantly taking too much on but not trusting that you can push back or say no for fear (on some level) of not being liked? Then stick around – I have a lot to share with you.
And I’ll probably talk a fair bit about food, Yorkshire tea and nice gin too.
Thanks for seeing this through. Until next time.
*I don’t think this is a word, and the wiggly red line underneath it while I write would corroborate this, but you get what I mean
**I have MUCH more to say on the concept of confidence, stick around if that’s of interest