Inspiring Introverts interview: Alistair

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  •  Who are you?

I am a trainee teacher who has completed his PGCE and will be starting teaching in the near future. I have previously worked as a career coach, and had a niche working with introverts.

  •  When did you first discover you are an introvert?

I was always shy, since I was a child. I used to think being introvert was the same as being shy. It was only when I went to a Meet Up group called ‘Introverts Do It Differently’ that I began to read up on the subject and realise exactly what introversion was, how it was different to shyness and how it was affecting my life.

  •  What difference did this make to your life?

I used to think that there was something basically wrong with me, until I understood my introversion. I used to think it was abnormal to crave time alone, until I realised that being an introvert, I needed time alone to recharge my batteries.

I now have more confidence to live my life on my introvert terms. I still have to extrovert myself on occasions, but I now realise that I have to work with my introversion rather than deny it. So I need time alone to recharge my batteries. I am much more conscious of managing my energy levels.

I also think I need time to think things through internally, which affects the way I work. With my teaching I feel I need more preparation time to work out what I want to do/achieve in a lesson, than maybe an extrovert would need.

  •  Which of your introvert traits/strengths are you most fond of?

I quite like my love of solitude. I think it’s good to be able to be on your own and to reflect on life, away from all the noise of daily life.

I love thinking really deeply on things. Or getting really deep into life in general, rather than the more surface level interactions that extroverts tend to favour more. So I like the fact that I like to have a few friends, but I like to know them really well.

  •  What is the main challenge you face as an introvert?

Fitting into an extrovert dominated world! The preferred personality type seems to be the extrovert. I simply don’t have the energy to live like an extrovert all the time.

Also, whilst I have more confidence in being an introvert, I feel that a lot of people in general assume that extrovert styles of behaviour are the norm and considered to be healthier ways of relating to the world. I feel sometimes I almost have to justify my introvert style of behaviour, when basically people should be accepting of both extrovert and introverts preferences of interacting. I find it quite frustrating at times. People seem to be very much into personality, and place far too much emphasis on how people do things, rather than what they actually do.

  •  What are your top tips for being a contented introvert?

Working with our introversion rather than against it. I know there are times when I need to extrovert myself and put energy into getting out there and interacting with people in an energetic way. But I’m aware of my limits and understand that I need to build in times to my week where I need some solitude to recharge my batteries.

  •  What/who inspires you?

People who don’t apologise for being themselves! I’m not talking about people being selfish. Instead, it’s more about people putting some boundaries up about what is genuinely acceptable to them and what is not. And have the guts to speak up about this.

  •  If you were an animal, what would you be? (The answer to this question is used for the featured image for this post!)

If I was an animal I’d like to be a cat.  They go out and have their adventures but also seem to have plenty of time on their own to chill out!

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