Many people, when introduced to the concept of introversion, automatically think of “shyness.” Although it’s true that many introverts are shy, not all introverts are shy, and extraverts can be shy as well.

In her book “The Introvert Advantage” Marti Olsen Laney defines introversion as:

… a healthy capacity to tune into your inner world… a constructive and creative quality

and shyness as:

…social anxiety, an extreme self-consciousness when one is around people… lack of confidence in social situations… fear of what others think of you

She goes on to explain that introversion is who you are, and that shyness is what you think other people think you are.

I am definitely introverted, but I don’t think I am shy. Some people considered me shy as a child, but I now think they just didn’t recognize or understand introversion, as others called me gregarious. In fact I appear quite reserved, but once I start talking, I usually won’t stop until interrupted. And as I’ve mentioned before, I am not usually reluctant to share personal information if I’m asked a direct question.

Since starting my own business, it’s become necessary for me to step out of my comfort zone and act like an extravert on more occasions, such as when attending networking events, and as a result, those situations are not as difficult for me as they were in the past. What has not changed, however, is my introversion. I still enjoy working alone, can focus on a task for long periods of time, and prefer communicating by email over using the telephone, and those traits are not likely to change, ever.