While each introvert is unique, our top energy drains can be remarkably similar

“There’s no one right way to be an introvert” has almost become a catchphrase over in the Conscious Introvert Success tribe. That’s because there’s a tendency, in the extroverted world we live in, to think of introverts as being a solid, homogenous group who all react exactly the same way.

In reality, introversion is just one thread in the incredibly complex tapestry of our personalities. It’s an important thread, of course – but it’s still just one thread. That means that different introverts will often experience different levels of energy drain from the same situation. What exhausts me might barely make a dent for you – and vice versa.

But despite this, there are a few “energy traps” that affect nearly all of us if we’re not aware of them. Here’s a quick introduction to them, and a brief suggestion on how to escape each one.

Energy Trap #1: Trying to do everything on your own and overscheduling yourself

This is something that seems to affect almost all of my introverted business owner clients – but it’s not limited to entrepreneurs. Between work, social, family and community commitments, our culture makes it easy for even extroverts to end up overwhelmed. For those of us introverts who tend to run on emptier energy tanks anyway, however, it’s a recipe for exhaustion.

Escaping this energy trap starts simply by giving yourself permission to NOT have to do everything. It also involves acknowledging that, despite outward appearances, very few people are really “doing it all”. Most successful folks – both in business and out of it – focus on what they do well, and then either get help with or let go of the rest.

Energy Trap #2: Not getting enough of the right kind of recharging

Many of the introverts I’ve worked with have fallen into one of two camps.

• The first is made up of folks who haven’t realised that energy can flow two ways. They haven’t yet discovered that there are activities they can do – aside from simply sleeping – to proactively recharge their empty energy tanks.

• The second contains those who that know that certain activities refuel them. They just don’t end up actually doing those activities in practice, or don’t end up doing them often enough to really make a difference.

Either way, the net effect is the same: a lot of energy going out, and not enough coming back in to replace it. It might help to think of your energy levels as being a bank account where interactions are withdrawals and alone-time becomes deposits. The result of this trap is that your account ends up in overdraft.

The key to escaping is to know what recharges you as an individual (yes, different introverts find different activities recharging), and then actually do it. That sounds easy in theory, but can often involve some serious boundary setting to achieve in practice.

Energy Trap #3: Comparing yourself to others (introverted OR extroverted)

Back when I first started writing about this energy trap, I focused on our tendency as introverts to compare ourselves with extroverts. After all, we live in an extroverted world, so it’s easy to believe that the way we see most of the extroverts around us acting is just “normal”. And it’s true that comparing ourselves to those extroverts can be confidence-destroying.

But what I didn’t realise, back at the beginning, is that comparing ourselves to other introverts can be just as damaging. It comes back to that statement I made in the very first sentence of this post: that there’s no one right way to be an introvert. We don’t assume that all left-handers will react the same way, or all people who are good at languages. Thinking that all introverts will have identical responses to any given situation makes just as little sense.

The trick to escaping this trap is two-fold: it involves both learning more about introversion through books, blogs and training courses; and connecting personally with fellow introverts. Doing both will give you a sense of the wide range of individual differences amongst other introverts. Not only will you discover that there’s “no such thing as normal”, but you’ll also probably realise that at least some of the other introverts out there are much like you.

Learn more about these three top energy traps and how to escape them

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a free 30-minute webinar that explained each energy trap in far more depth than I can cover in a blog post. I also went into more much detail about the specific steps you can take to escape each one.

Curious? The webinar replay up will be available until the end of January.

**Update: The webinar is no longer available.

introvert coach tanja gardner


 Tanja Gardner is a deeply introverted (but not even *slightly* shy!) heart-based entrepreneur who started out as a copywriter for difference-makers.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a free 30-minute webinar that explained each energy trap in far more depth than I can cover in a blog post. I also went into more much detail about the specific steps you can take to escape each one.

Then she discovered that what she really wanted to do was help fellow introverts build their businesses without exhausting themselves. So she started Conscious Introvert Success: a treasure-trove of introvert-friendly resources, information and coaching.