Am I an introvert or do I have confidence issues? Actually. Both.
I am an introvert.
I like being an introvert. But I know it brings me challenges. Often in my job, I need to be an extrovert. And, I really struggle with it. As I’ve got older, I’m not sure if I’ve become more of an introvert, or my confidence has reduced.
My first job was in sales. I’d speak with anyone, at any time. I’d sell white goods – washing machines, cookers, fridges amongst other items. And, I was good at it. I remember winning a sales competition and won a 14″ portable TV. Yes, they really did make TVs that small! I was regularly top of the sales league. Even so, no matter how much I sold, it was never enough.
After a number of sales jobs, each lasting a couple of years, I moved more into retail management. Working for a national company, I ended up moving around the UK. Short stints in different places. The job was good. Damn hard work but, I managed to drive sales almost everywhere I went.
Even though I was good at it, and thrive on hard work, I wasn’t enjoying it. I wasn’t being fulfilled. Stretched, yes. Satisfied, no. So after ten years in retail, it was time to move on. My area manager wasn’t best pleased, but despite trying to convince me to stay, my mind was made up.
I had no job to go to. I had no real plan. I had a small amount of savings which would give me enough time to think what I was going to do. However, after a few days volunteering for a charity, I was employed and within weeks, running the charity.
For the last twenty years, I’ve worked in the charity sector. I love it. But I have major confidence issues.
I’m confident, but I do have confidence issues. I don’t believe I am doing a good job. I don’t meet expectations. We never achieve our income targets. There is never enough funding to develop our services. People are still dying of the disease that the charity I work for are trying to cure.
Deep down, I think I’m making a difference. But every day I challenge myself. I guess I don’t allow myself to take any credit or praise. I know this is because after 10 years of working in retail when, despite being the best salesperson in the whole of the south-west, it still wasn’t enough. I’ve carried that all my life. In work, I’ll never be good enough.
People do give me credit and praise. Colleagues congratulate me, but I always deflect it. The same as I deflect my introversion by acting an extrovert. I create a cloud around me which I allow a few chosen people to see a glimpse of the real me. But that’s my choice.
I enjoy being an introvert. At times, bordering a recluse. No apology. That is how I am. At times, I enjoy being an extrovert. But on my terms. And I imagine that is really difficult for other people to understand or respond to.
Just because I come across confident, doesn’t mean I am. It’s part of my defence mechanism.
But, I am really confident about my move to Portugal. I’m going to smash it. I’m going to thrive on every moment.
So here’s to a confident introvert in Portugal.