Many introverts keep their talents hidden until they are ready to be shared with the world. Laurie Helgoe describes this tendency well:
“Introverts keep their best stuff inside—that is, until it is ready. And this drives extroverts crazy! The explanation for the introvert’s behavior—and there must be an explanation for this behavior, say the extroverts—is that he or she is antisocial, out of touch, or simply a snob.”
There are a lot of reasons why we choose to keep our mad skills under wraps. It is not because we are snobby or anti-social. Perhaps we feel more comfortable being Oz The Great behind the curtain than strutting our stuff on the yellow brick road. Naturally, we don’t want to come off as arrogant or boastful.
There might also be an element of fear. Developing our gifts involves risk. We take a gamble on ourselves and hope that we don’t fail miserably. We risk judgment and ridicule from others. We take a chance and pray that no one will write nasty comments on our blog posts. Strangely enough, we also fear our own power. We are afraid to reach our full potential, and shine. As Marianne Williamson puts it:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” ~Marianne Williamson
We shouldn’t let fear stop us from sharing our gifts. Being modest about our talents is one thing, but withholding them from the world is something else entirely. In Bible terms, it is the equivalent of hiding our light under a bushel. The Good Book also likens it to storing our money in the piggy bank instead of investing it so that it can grow (to paraphrase quite heavily).
As introverts, we might think that we are doing a noble thing by shrinking so that others can shine. We forget that cowardice is not the same as humility. As a result, we rob the world of something it desperately needs.
Whether our talents develop behind the scenes or in the spotlight, they are only fully realized when they collide with what the world needs. Our unique gifts give us the power to inspire, create connections and make a difference. When we keep them to ourselves, we deny others their potential benefits. Again, Williamson describes this truth brilliantly:
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do … And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson
As introverts, we might prefer to wait for an explicit invitation to share our talents. We’re not usually the ones who call out the answer in class or lead the conga line at a party. A gentle nudge in the right direction can help us take the first step.
So, I’m going to give you a little push. With the power vested in me as an introvert blogger, I give you permission to share your talents with the world. If you’d prefer to do so behind a curtain, that’s okay. If you’d rather show than tell, even better.
What matters most is that you find a way to give the world that which only you can give. And never be afraid to shine in your own introverted way.