I’m A Successful Introvert And Proud of My Quiet Ways

I’m an introvert. That has a lot to be proud of, and I choose to often stay true to my introverted ways. There are times that I will “act” like I’m an extrovert when I need to, but I will end up going  back to my introverted ways.

I not a big fan of parties. I’ll go to them, but I’m not upset if it gets cancelled or if there are other commitments keeping me from going.

I don’t talk about myself to others. I am not comfortable sharing things about me, my past, etc. around others, so many feel like I’m hard to get to know. I am way more comfortable sharing things about me via writing or online versus in person. I prefer to share that way because I’m not comfortable being the center of attention in a public setting.

I am not the employee that will be outspoken at meetings. Sure, I can be an extrovert and lead a meeting when I am required to, but I do not need to speak just to be heard. I prefer to observe and then speak individually or with a small group about issues or concerns.

I am a firm but quiet leader. I confront when necessary, I plan and come up with ideas and long-term goals, but I am OK giving tasks to others and letting them have the spotlight. I don’t need to be the center of attention.

I am a great listener. I hear what others are saying, and I take some time to respond. I need time to process what was said and to observe to make sure I have thought through what I think a correct response would be.

I don’t mind eating alone, working out alone, shopping alone, etc. I like getting together with friends, but I need downtime by myself so I can recharge.

I have great ideas, but sometimes they get overlooked because I am not more of an extrovert. Sometimes my comments or ideas get passed by, but later on someone will realize that they were great ideas that should have been implemented.

Being an introvert has not held me back. I’ve held large corporate positions, I’ve aced work interviews and graduate school ones. I have a great network of friends and enjoy my social life. I am a successful introvert, and so are all of us. We just manage our lives and the situations around us in a quieter way than an extrovert would. We are the strong, silent type.

I have an introverted daughter. We don’t call her “shy”. She’s an introvert.  She’s quieter than her extroverted peers, and I don’t expect her to try to speak up more or socialize more than she does.. I recently read a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This was such a powerful book that discussed all that the introvert provides to society and what great innovators and leaders they make. While the book helped me appreciate my introverted ways, it also reminded me that I need to teach my daughter to be proud of her strengths. We already praise her for many of the introvert qualities she shows already. She is respected by a lot of her friends (and my adult friends). She is smart, dedicated to what she believes in, and will not volunteer to be the leader but can take the lead if she is required or requested to. She is not outspoken about her accomplishments, and she doesn’t need constant attention. She has days where she prefers to be a homebody, and she hangs out in her bedroom to read, make crafts, or watch TV. Will she be a successful leader as an adult even though she is introverted? I have no doubt she will. Introverts are respected, think through ideas and decisions, and are comfortable working independently.

Introverts are successful leaders. Their silence is valuable, and I’m proud to be an introvert (and so grateful to be raising one).

Today’s Inspiration: This Tired Mom Is Going To Implement “Mom Office Hours”

I love, love, love my kids and my husband. But they can overwhelm me with requests. All day long I am needed. Texts at work from my husband asking me if I remembered to leave a check for the lawn guy or if I remembered to pick up his dry cleaning.  Kids asking me to help with homework, take them to the library or return their books, permission slips to be filled, and on and on and on. All day long. Every single day. It’s exhausting. So exhausting that I really have not sat on our couch to chill for more than ten minutes the past five years or so.

So I have a new plan. This mom is going to implement Office Hours. Here’s how it’s going to work, dear kids and husband: Every day, I’ll have an Office Hour. During that hour, I’ll hang out at the kitchen table and you can meet me in my “office” to ask me to sign school agendas, help with a math problem, remind me of things that need sent into school, errands you might need my help with, and so forth. If you don’t catch me during my Office Hour, you will have to wait until I reopen the next day.

Maybe, just maybe, this will give me some of my own time during the evening to read, actually watch a TV show live rather than a DVR’d one at 2am, or eat dinner and not have to scarf it down in five minutes.

Hope you are ready, kids and husband. My office isn’t open 24-7 anymore!

Today’s Inspiration: Why I’m Facebook Friends With My Exes

I’m Facebook friends with most of my ex boyfriends from high school on. Some people have acted surprised by this. No, I’m not friends with them so I can stalk them. I’m not friends with them so I can laugh evilly when they are having a rough time.  Our relationships ended many, many years ago; and there is no reason why I can’t continue to be friends with them. There are some healthy and positive reasons why I chose to be their friends on social media.

They were (and still are) good guys.
The majority of my boyfriends of my past were good guys. They were friendly, hard-working, smart and creative. They were good to me, my family, and my friends. They didn’t do anything crazy or destructive–if that were the case I’d stay far away from them (and I wouldn’t be talking about continuing to be friends with exes).. But if they were genuinely good guys, why not still be connected through social media?

We all have a past.
We all have a past history of relationships before the one we are in now. Everyone does. My husband knows I dated other men before him, and I know he dated other women before I came along. We all have lived a past before we got to where we are today. There’s no need to erase that past or act like it never happened. It did happen, I’ve  moved on from all those relationships, I learned from them, and I’m in a different place now. Living in the present doesn’t  mean you have to ignore everyone that was a part of your past.

I want my girls to know they can have healthy relationships with guys that they are no longer involved with.
I’m raising three girls who will have boyfriends come and go as they grow up. I want them to know that sometimes those relationships don’t work out; and it’s OK. Sure, some of those relationships might end painfully, but others will probably end amicably. Still being friends after the romance is gone is perfectly OK, and it shows maturity too. My  exes and I  have gone separate ways,  but we still wish the best for each other.

Keeping contact with relationships of your past can be meaningful and a good thing.  I’m glad that I do, and I wish the best for those guys from my past.

 

Today’s Inspiration: Responding to Negative Words

I need to vent for a minute–partly because I want to talk about how to respond to negativity and “mean” comments, and because I have been so frustrated with how many people think it’s OK to say mean things to friends rather than lift them up.

Once, I was having lunch with some friends. I was commenting about Graves disease (which I have) and how the medication I’ve been taking  has completely slowed my metabolism, making it hard for me to eat anything at all without gaining weight. I’m sure she meant no harm, but one of the women in our group responded to me with, “This will make you feel better. I can’t lose weight either, but it’s because I’ve been eating crap and not working out.” Another time, on the same subject, I was talking about how my clothes were fitting differently. A friend of mine said, “Well, lucky you are really good at hiding your flaws, like with that sweater you have on. ”

Hmm…how do those comments make me feel better? I’m the one working out all the time and being super-careful to follow a strict diet; and you tell me that your weight gaining situation is supposed to make me feel better about mine? Wouldn’t “That sucks.” or “I’m bet that’s so frustrating” or “I think you look great!” have been more positive responses?

I am guilty too, I’m sure, without probably even realizing it. I’m sure I’ve responded to someone where it was taken negatively and I could’ve said it in a nicer way.  But what about those folks who always seem to say words that leave you feeling angry and upset? Some friends and family seem to only have a “respond negatively” button and never have anything happy or positive to say to you. They point out the negative, they bring you down, or they are just plain mean. How would you respond?

I’ve thought long and hard about this. My response: silence. I believe that by not responding to negativity is showing that I am not going to get involved in their drama or their meanness.  Silence is the most powerful response. I am going to move on and leave their response behind.

Being rude doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Making ugly comments doesn’t make you any prettier. Lift others up, care about them, give them positive words to encourage and support. Those words will get you (and them) further in life than the negative ones.

Today’s Inspiration: Please Share My Posts!

Hopefully, in the past few months you’ve read some posts where you could totally relate, ones that inspired you in some way, or maybe you just thought some posts were really good or well-said. I have so many ideas and thoughts to write about in the upcoming months, and I’d love to have more and more folks read my posts too!

I’d love for you to share the link to One Inspired Mom with your friends and family. You can find all my posts at www.oneinspiredmom.com. If you follow my page on Facebook, please share some of the posts you loved with friends.

Thanks in advance for helping me grow! You all rock!

-Julie

Today’s Inspiration: When My Path Changed

So, back in my 20’s I was so convinced I’d never get married, and I’d never have children. That was so NOT me. I was a corporate girl. I had my MBA and work promotions in hand, and I was on the fast track, moving up and up at work. I had a couple of law school acceptances, and I considered that my next move.

Then I met someone, and things completely changed. I decided I did want to be a wife and have a family. I could see myself with children and a husband, enjoying our days together. All my plans for a corporate life completely changed.

I would’ve never thought this is where I’d be today. While I had one plan and path, God certainly had another. I’m so blessed with what he provided to me.  Life is good :).

Today’s Inspiration: Haters Gonna Hate

Something’s been eating at me for a while now. One day, a few weeks back, I was talking with a friend. She was telling me her good news–she and her husband’s dream house just went on the market, and they decided to purchase it. I could tell how excited she was, and I was happy for her too. Every time my friend drove past this house before it was for sale, she’d tell her husband it was the house she always wanted. Now her dream of owning that house had come true. I hugged her and congratulated her. She whispered to me, “Just don’t tell B_______. She will be mad that I’m moving out of our neighborhood and into a bigger house.”

Seriously? She won’t tell our other friend and she won’t share her excitement because she might get mad? It sounds crazy. But, you know what? I bet a lot of us have been in her shoes, where we keep our successes or our excitement to ourselves because of the haters. I have too, and it took me a long time to get to a point where I let myself be happy for my successes and my family’s.

Eric and I live in a wonderful neighborhood and have a really great house. It’s unfortunate that instead of some family and friends being happy for us, they would make comments like, “You’re one of the ones that live in “The Enclave” (the custom/estate section of our neighborhood). Yep, we are, and we love it. “Do you really need such a big house. What, did you add a sun room just for the cats?’ Actually, we love the space our house provides our family, and we all use and love the sun room, including the cats.

“Look at you, the blogger. Do you actually think people read it?” (Seriously, someone has said that to me!) Why yes, I am a blogger now. I have always loved to write, and this was the perfect way for me to continue to do so. Do I have a ton of followers? Not yet. Do I care? Not really. I’m just glad to have an outlet to do what I love and share my writing, my experiences, and my thoughts.

Yes, I drive a Range Rover. It had been a car I’d always dreamed of, but never expected to own. One year, as a Christmas present, Eric surprised me with a new car–my dream car. Do I love it? Of course I do! Do others hate it? Sure. But I’ve gotten to the point that it doesn’t matter what others want to think or say. We can afford it, Eric wanted to give it to me as a gift, and I absolutely love it!

Yes, the house, the car, clothes, vacations…they are all material things. They are nice, but they aren’t  what provides me happiness–my friends and family do. I’d be fine with a smaller home if we needed to downsize. I’d give up the Range Rover for something else if need be. And I’d be fine.  Even though we all have some haters, I do have some amazing friends, and I have great kids and a wonderful husband who bring me more joy and love than anything/anyone.

The truth: Haters are gonna hate. They are going to dislike you for what you have, where you travel to, for your happy family life, for your successes. There’s always going to be someone who won’t be happy for you or will have rude comments to make about you.

My advice: Just move on. You know what you and your family want or need. You might have worked hard for lots of years to get where you are. Enjoy it! Enjoy life. Do what you love, and don’t let the voices of those haters ruin your happiness.

I Need a Vacation from Our Family Vacation

I might need a vacation from our family vacation.

Don’t get me wrong…I look forward to our family vacations. Besides visiting nearby family, my husband, the kids and I only go on a family vacation once (if we are lucky, twice) a year. I count down the days until we get to head out of town. Vacation means this mom doesn’t have to do laundry for the week, no chores or errands, no cleaning the house, and no school or extracurricular activities. It means getting to spend time together, the five of us, with no other interruptions. We get to go to places we haven’t seen before and enjoy being with each other. We get to relax–kind of…

As much as I dream of getting away, part of me dreads vacation. I find it (or maybe I make it?) stressful. Vacation means I have to pack for myself and three girls. It means lots of research, planning where to stay, what we will do during the trip, and figuring out places we can eat. Vacation means driving for hours in the car with three children complaining, “I’m bored” or “She’s pinching me” or “I’m hungry” or “This is SO boring. How much longer?” Vacation means our family of five squeezing into a standard hotel room with two queen beds. The girls end up complaining about having to share a bed, one of the girls insists she’s afraid of the dark so the bathroom light has to stay on all night, and my husband keeps me up with his snoring all night.  Someone’s too hot, or someone’s too cold. It means five people sharing one bathroom for the week. I try to keep our hotel room neat, but it’s pretty much impossible and I get anxious over keeping the dirty clothes in the “dirty clothes suitcase” and that clean clothes are kept neat and organized in the other suitcases.

Despite the stress of vacation time, it really is worth it. Having time just to focus on the kids and my husband is the most special time for me. Having conversations with each other without work emails or work obligations or daily home chores to interrupt that time is priceless. I love the memories we are making as a family.

Vacation? Bring it on! Let’s get away–I am grateful for our time out of town. (But mommy might need a little vacation of her own afterwards!).

Today’s Inspiration: My Year on the Road (And What It Taught Me)

Growing up, I lived in a bunch of different places. My father got promoted and transferred a lot, so we moved around quite a bit. A couple different towns in Pennsylvania to New Jersey or Ohio…by the time my parents moved along to Ohio, my sister and I were in college, my brother was finishing high school. This meant Ohio would be my “home” after college. I couldn’t imagine living and working in the small Ohio town my parents had moved to. I knew I needed to decide what I wanted to do after college.

Rather than move back in with my parents, I decided to take a job with my college sorority as a “Chapter Consultant” (they have different titles for it these days). It was the BEST job ever! Chapter Consultants are recent college graduates that visit different campuses to consult with and check on sorority chapters. I got to travel to a different college or university every few days where I met with the women of the sorority chapter, help them with any leadership training or chapter issues, and then (if there was time and if the college was in a great town) sight-see and check out the town I was in.  I lived out of two suitcases from August through May.  Here’s what I learned my year on the road:

I didn’t need much to get by.
I was allowed two suitcases for my year of traveling. My suitcases had to hold any work information and binders I needed, my clothes (and jacket) for where I was headed, and my toiletries. I visited over 15 states, so I had to travel with clothing that would fit different temperatures. In the fall, I spent two weeks in upstate New York and New Hampshire, and the next week I was headed to sunny Miami. I realized that I really just needed the basics, everything could be washed and worn again, and I didn’t need a lot of other “stuff” to be happy. Life was so much simpler with just two suitcases of belongings!

I was better at problem-solving than I thought.
On my visit to Washington, D.C., the sorority chapter I was supposed to stay with checked me into a guest room on campus, and then they left hoping they could avoid me all week long. I learned to become resourceful and good at figuring out problems. Making a few phone calls to campus administration, and getting some assistance from the Director of Greek Life in locating the sorority President was all it took. I got to visit Galludet University (a college for the deaf and heard of hearing) and I had to find ways to communicate with them during my days there.  Another time, I had to rent a car and drive from Massachusetts to Connecticut. This was before cell phones, so I had an atlas in the car. Some routes weren’t listed in my atlas, so I had to decide if I should continue to head north, east, etc. until I reached a highway or roadway that matched something on my map. I learned that all I needed to do was stay calm, decide on my options, and choose what to do. It sure helped me once I started working in the corporate world.

I was way more independent than I thought.
Traveling that whole year meant flying every few days, grabbing a bus and making bus exchanges all day long to get to my next college, or renting a car and driving.  I learned how to navigate subways, the T, and the Metro. I ate a lot of dinners and lunches alone. Some days, I checked out campuses and city landmarks on my own (other days I had amazing college women show me around town—some were amazing tour guides!). That year, I learned to hang out with myself, trust myself, and do everything on my own. I learned to speak up and ask for help if I needed it, and I knew I could handle most things that came my way. I remember my boss telling me at the end of the year, “We knew if we didn’t hear from you at the office that all was fine, and that you had it covered.” Those lessons are still true today. My husband travels often, and I am fine handling things at home on my own (don’t get me wrong, of course we miss him when he’s away). I don’t mind working independently. I enjoy shopping, working out or eating lunch out by myself often. I’m OK with it. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy time with friends–I do, but I do fine on my own as well.

I’m grateful I had the experiences I did during my traveling year. I grew so much, I got to see so much of the United States and Canada, and I learned more about what I was capable of that year than I would have if I had started working for a corporation right after college. I wouldn’t change my year living out of two suitcases for anything :).

Today’s Inspiration: I am a Domestic Disaster

I am a domestic disaster.

My family has been talking about moving for the past year. Because of my dad’s job resulting in multiple relocations growing up, I’m used to moving every three to five years. Living in the Charlotte area, and living in our house for eight years now is, well, LONG. I’ve never lived in one place for so many years. I’ve got the itch to move. So we are in the phase of deciding if we should look for a new house or stay put.

But as much as I try to be organized, there’s still clutter. Cabinets are stuffed full, there’s toys all over the playroom. One of my girls is a hoarder and wants to keep every single picture or story she creates. Yes, I sweep up each day, the house looks clean, I can get all our laundry done, get everyone to their appointments and activities, and the cat litter is scooped constantly. But, all the other stuff, like closets, cabinets, and storage spaces in the house are pretty disastrous. And thinking about finding the energy to clean up those spaces and reorganize them creates more anxiety and heart flutters than I can deal with.

So–do I continue my disastrous ways and just leave it and be happy with where we are in life? Is staying in our house enough? Is the clutter just fine? Or do I stress myself out and spend a few weeks cleaning out cabinets, buying storage bins to pack away extra “stuff”? Do I make multiple trips to Goodwill and purge any toys and clothes that are taking up space? Then attempt to keep the house sparkling clean and sparse throughout the real estate listing phase–with three kids, four pets, and a messy husband?

Or, do I just continue to be a domestic disaster? Do I leave things as they are, and just enjoy where we are right now and be OK with keeping things the same?

Because, even though I’m used to moving every few years, I’m starting to get used to this domestic disaster stuff….:)