When Introverts Focus on What Works

Yesterday I had a rough day. I watched my partner and her kids hit the road for a fun roadtrip while I stay behind to keep the house in order; discovered one of the songs my band has recorded now has only 30% or less of my harmony in it; and began stressing over my business pipeline for January. I knew better than to let any of those things get me down, but on the other hand, I immediately felt sorry for myself. I fell into the pattern of relishing the pity and fell into a pretty deep hole.

So I got out – although not out of my predicament, I did get out of the house.

Fortunately I had places to go and things to do. Three and a half hours later my spirits were better, I was thinking differently and I had a plan for focusing on things with a positive behavior change.

For most introverts, when we are hit with difficulties, we ruminate over them until we really process the “feeling” part of the challenge. And we’re so good at going deep to problem solve that we go deep with ourselves and end up with disaster. So it’s imperative we switch our focus from those things that don’t work to things that do. At these times, we need people around us who are focusing on other things – light or heavy, either can give us a break from our ruminating. Yet if the topic is more serious we put more meaning into it and let this new topic replace our old ruminations.

Focusing on what works means either paying attention to those things we are skilled at or experienced in or focusing on other people’s thinking. Get absorbed in something other than yourself and you walk away with new perspective about your own situation. For instance, last night I attended a goal-setting seminar presented by David Emerson Smith, intent in paying attention to his seminar approach as well as his goal-setting process. In both counts I admired several things.

Although I was paying attention to Dave – deeply immersed in learning – I immediately shifted to applying his ideas to my own seminar approaches as well as applying his ideas about positive behavior change to my own goal-setting. I walked away refreshed and motivated, seeing the opportunity in time alone, in seeking constructive criticism for vocal harmony or other band-related responsibilities and in shifting my pipeline activity to more productive efforts.

For us introverts, the best way to dig ourselves out of a hole is to give the shovel to someone else. You read how this worked for me. How can you do this?

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On December 29th, 2011, posted in: digging deep, focus, patterns, pity by