I tweeted the other day “I still wish I was Zack Morris.” And I really do. Zack was so cool, he had the principal under his thumb, he always knew the right thing to say, he always pulled off the greatest adventures. He always seemed like he had it all together.
But I’m really not like Zack Morris, I’m an introvert pretending to be extrovert.
Occasionally I’m forced to be in front of people and speak. I can’t sleep for days before a talk.
It’s not natural for me to be on stage at LessConf, host local workshops or even write blog posts. I really don’t like sharing my feelings either.
I’m really shy, when we met, my wife came up to me and introduced herself. I was too chicken to walk up to girls and introduce myself to them.
I’m not very social either, I’d rather be at home with my wife watching a movie than go out in public and see people I know.
I don’t like attention. When I see people look at me, I feel like I’m being negatively judged. I’ll be seen as the shy kid that was homeschooled, that still can’t spell very well. I battle a stuttering problem . I’m the kid that never made it past algebra two in school. I was too scared to speak at a football pep-rally in highschool, even though I was a captain of the football team. I’m not like Zack Morris.
I’ve always pretended to be an extrovert. Even being introverted I’ve always been popular in school. I’ve mimicked my Dad with how he is with his customers, his employees and his industry friends. I’ve taken advice from my Mom (homecoming queen in 1971) she said “smile and say hi to everyone even the dorks”.
For me, it’s gotten easier to pretend to be comfortable on stage, in front of people, answering questions & giving advice. I’m getting better at pretending to be extroverted. It’s easier now, that I realize that no one is comfortable on stage, no one is a great writer, we all need help and encouragement. Pretending to be extroverted is a skill, it’s a learned skill. Now I’m able to mask the sheer panic hidden below the surface. I’m able to forget about being judged and write the blog post I feel like writing, I’m able to forget the fear and embrace my inner Zack Morris.
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