I’m Back!

So I never intended to take a 14-month break from blogging.  And I’m very excited to be back!

I have to say, 2013 was a pretty crappy year for me.  I was underemployed or unemployed for most of it; worrying about my finances was one of the most exhausting and depressing experiences I have ever had.  I have never felt so worthless as I did when I was trying to find a job.  But in November of last year, I accepted a new position as a senior project manager at a fabulous company.  We translate material for Fortune 500 companies, as well as provide cultural awareness training and interpretation services.  I have to say I absolutely love my job.

The only downside is the commute.  I work a 50-hour week and commuting adds about another 10 hours.  So while my mental energy has soared because I’m actually exercising my brain every day, my physical energy is almost non-existent.  I’m just now starting to feel like I’m used to this new schedule and figuring out how to fit everything I want to do into my limited free time.

There hasn’t been a single day I haven’t thought about this blog.  I’ve been trying to get back to blogging for months and I think I’m finally ready.

I want to extend a huge thank you to those who emailed wondering where I was.  And to those who have continued to sign up for the newsletter and blog posts and liked the Quietly Fabulous page on Facebook.  Your support meant the world to me and has been a huge factor in my recommitting to posting here.

One of things holding me back was the feeling that I had to do everything all at one:  post multiple times a week, be active on social media, write a newsletter, etc.  The thought of all that was overwhelming.  So I’m going to start slow, with just one post a week, a few social media posts and a monthly newsletter.

But I have LOTS of ideas!  Being in an office environment again (after several years working out of my home) is generating all kinds of thoughts about being an introvert in this crazy, extrovert-centric world we live in.  And I have ideas for ebooks, courses and video posts.  But I know I need to start slow so I don’t get overwhelmed.

This community exists for you, so please let me know what you want to hear about.  Some of my best posts have come from comments or questions from you, and I’m ready to hear your ideas.

Thanks again to everyone who still reads or subscribes.  I’m looking forward to sharing more with all of you in 2015.

 

Blog Housekeeping: RSS and Email Subscribers

I’ve made some changes to how RSS and email subscriptions work for Quietly Fabulous.  I’ll try to keep this quick and easy.

Since this blog started, I’ve been using Feedburner to create an RSS feed.  People could follow the RSS feed via any RSS feed reader (such as Google Reader or Feedly) or sign up to have blog posts delivered to their In Box as they are published.

However, Google stopped supporting Feedburner sometime last year and, like Google Reader, it will likely disappear before long.  Also, I’ve had a couple of complaints of people getting error messages when they tried to sign up.

So — if you want to keep up with Quietly Fabulous, here are a few ways to do that:

Via a feed reader
You can use any feed reader to follow blogs via RSS.  I’ve been using Google Reader to follow blogs since the service started; but Google Reader is going away as of July 1.  I’m now using Feedly to follow my favorite blogs and it’s a great alternative (and free!).

Although tons of bloggers have been using Feedburner to create an RSS feed for their blogs, I think any feed reader can find a blog’s feed simply by using the URL.

Just find the place in your feed reader to add subscriptions and enter the full URL (with the www) of the blog or site you want to follow.  The feed reader shouldn’t have any problems finding the feed.  As far as I can tell, this method will work whether or not you’ve ever used Feedburner to create an RSS feed for your site.

Via your In Box
If you don’t use a feed reader, you can still keep up with Quietly Fabulous and your other favorite blogs via email.  I’m now using MailChimp to deliver posts to you via email.  In the site header, on the right-hand side, is a subscription box.  Enter your email address there and each time I publish a new blog post, it will end up in your In Box.

NOTE: If you previously subscribed to receive Quietly Fabulous posts in your In Box, you do not need to re-subscribe.  I imported the list from Feedburner to MailChimp today, so you are all set.

Finally, there is also the Quietly Fabulous e-newsletter — which offers different content than the blog.  If you would like to receive the e-newsletter, use the sign up box on the right-hand side of the blog (or use this link to sign up).

Hope this all makes sense.  I’ve been dragging my feet on this for over a month because I wanted to find a way to make this seamless for my readers and not a technology headache for me.  Please do let me know if you have any questions.

 

Need Your Feedback!

I haven’t always done a good job of getting feedback from this community, so I’m starting now!  I have a very short — just 2 questions — survey about content for the blog and potential future products (ebooks, ecourses, etc.)  I’d really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to answer these questions.  It would be hugely helpful — and allow me to make Quietly Fabulous an even better resource for you.

You can take the survey here.  Thank you!

 

Why Introverts Rock At Social Media FREE Ebook!

thank youHi, everyone — I’m back!

I can’t thank you enough for all the kind emails and comments I received on my last post.  This is exactly why I love this medium so much. The encouragement and support was almost overwhelming.  I’m deeply grateful.

I’m not sure I learned any big lessons, but the break was helpful.  I just needed that time and space to think without worrying about creating anything.  I’ll be doing a blog post sometime next week with a few thoughts on my time off.

But now, at long last, the frequently rumored and often-promised ebook I’ve been talking about for months is finally DONE and ready for downloading!  Many, many months ago, I came across this quote from Clay Shirky:

“Digital media is an amplifier.  It tends to make extroverts more extroverted and introverts more introverted.”

I couldn’t believe that someone who actually teaches and writes about social media could say something that was so far off the mark.  That’s what really inspired me to write this ebook.  In fact, I think introverts have TONS of great skills already that help when using social media.  And to help introverts get the most out of it, I’ve outlined an easy 5-step process for learning about and using social media more effectively to meet your communications goals — whether personal or business.

I have to say one of the reasons I was dragging my feet on this is because it’s scary to put yourself out there.  Even today as I was getting everything ready, I wanted to find reasons to wait another day to make just one more change.  But it finally got to the point where NOT hitting the publish button was harder than doing it.  So here it is.

I hope you’ll take a few moments to download the ebook and let me know what you think.  You can download it on the new Ebooks page of my Web site (Hint: That means I have more in mind!)

A Blogging Break

I hadn’t intended on taking a month-long blogging break, and I’m afraid I’m going to extend it a bit longer.

I’m generally pretty excited about a new year.  It’s a chance to start with a fresh slate and start doing all those things that lead to good habits and new directions.  I had some short- and long-term ideas about what to do with this blog and with my business.  I seemed to be heading in a good direction.

And then the new year started and it all just seemed so pointless.  There were so many things I should have been doing, but I wasn’t doing any of them.  I’ve been feeling listless and just not excited about anything at all.

There are a lot of reasons for this — and I’m not going to go into all of them.  My life has changed a lot in the past four or five years, and I think some of those changes are only now catching up with me.  I felt all of last year that I was looking for something, but I wouldn’t have been able to define what that was with a gun to my head.  I read and thought and pondered and it’s still a bit of a muddle.

My business isn’t doing well and my financial situation is getting dicier.  This has led to a general sense of failure over a lot of things I’ve done — or attempted — recently.  I’m a pretty structured person; at least I used to be.  The changes I’ve gone through have led to a lot less structure and I’m finding that difficult.

I’m not saying all of this for sympathy; that’s not what this is about.  I’m just trying to explain where I am right now in my life.  In a way, it’s a bit of therapy.  I don’t journal on a regular basis, but I’ve found that writing things down does help me to think.  I’m just not usually doing it in such a public place.

I’m trying a bit of a mental shift — and I hope to put that into place over the next couple of weeks.  Instead of feeling like I’m failing at a lot of things, I’m going to think about myself as “becoming.”  I am changing and becoming someone else.  It’s just a natural process that I think we all go through from time to time. For me, this change is just a bit harder than others I’ve gone through.  Again, I’m not exactly sure why that is.

I’m going to take the next couple of weeks to try to get a bit more settled (though I’m not sure that’s quite the right word).  I think it’s a matter of trying not to fight the feelings of change and to instead just let them happen and see where they go.  I’ve been trying to get through this “stuck” feeling using logic and reason, because I feel I’m generally not so good with intuition.  But I think it’s time to let my intuition take over so I can feel more and think less (well, a little bit less — I am an introvert after all!).

This was written very stream of consciousness and I probably shouldn’t even hit the “Publish” button.  But just this little bit of thinking “out loud” has helped a bit.  I’ll be back soon, I promise.

 

 

 

8 Tips For Introverts To Survive The Holidays

8 ways for introverts to survive the holidaysSo the holiday season is upon us once again.  Lots of people to see, lots of places to go.  For introverts, this can actually be a really stressful time.  We feel guilty when we don’t go to events and parties, but then we feel cranky and exhausted while we’re there.  It’s often a no-win situation.

But there are some things you can do to help you survive the holidays.  Take a look at this list:

1.  Plan Ahead

If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of socializing, make sure you schedule yourself some alone time.  Make sure you can take some time to decompress and re-energize.  If you just go from event to event without re-charging, it will take its toll.

2.  Find Another Introvert

Remember, we make up about half of the population.  There are going to be many people like you at any event you go to.  They may be hard to find, but when you see someone sitting in a corner by themselves, looking uncomfortable or constantly staring at their cell phone, think about saying hello.  You may get lucky and have a deep, meaningful conversation with someone that will make that party or event totally worth it.

3.  Hide

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it.  I can remember retreating to my dad’s car during one family event, where I quite happily read by myself.  It’s okay to take 5 or 10 minutes to be by yourself.  Take some deep breaths and remember, this too shall pass.

4.  Escape Plan

If you are going to an event with someone else – and especially if that person is an extrovert – try to agree ahead of time on how long you’ll stay.  You’ll have to compromise, because an extrovert will quite happily party all night (and more power to them!).  But you will reach a limit.  Instead of getting frustrated because one of you wants to go and one wants to say, have your escape plan ready.

5.  Be Patient

Patience is your friend in these situations.  Parties have a finite end; they have to come to a conclusion (even if it’s near dawn).  So does the holiday season.  In about 5 weeks or so, this will all be over.  It may be exhausting while it’s here, but it will end eventually.

6.  Say No

It’s okay to say no to invitations.  Really.  If you feel like you need permission, I’m giving you permission.  Just say no.

7.  Have a Sense of Humor

Don’t start out dreading the occasion; that will only make it dreadful.  The right mindset will make any party or event much more manageable.  When you get trapped in a corner by someone who just can’t stop talking, think about how you’ll remember this situation in your memoirs.  Or maybe in a blog post!

8.  Be Yourself

Never, ever feel like you have be an extrovert.  You may need to act a little more extroverted than usual — for a short period of time —  but don’t feel like you have to be someone you’re not.  Most introverts dislike parties and that’s okay.  Or maybe you have a very limited tolerance.  That’s okay too.  Just remember you always have to advocate for yourself; no one is going to do it for you.  If you’ve reached your socializing limit, don’t let someone push you into more.

Hope these help you get through the holidays a little easier.  Have more tips? Please share them in the comments!

Image credit: tonobalaguer / 123RF Stock Photo

Why Being An Introvert Is Awesome

At long last, I’ve updated the Positive Press page and given it a new name!

Check out the Introvert =  Awesome page, filled with great posts that highlight all the positive aspects of being an introvert.  No negativity allowed!  Do you have a post that you think would fit here?  Feel free to post it in the comments or send me an email.  Can’t promise I’ll use every one, but I’d love your input.

I’m also revising the Resources page to an Introversion FAQ.  It will be a place to answer the basic questions about what being an introvert means, what it doesn’t mean, etc.  Think back to when you first discovered you were an introvert.  What questions did you really want answers to?  Maybe an answer that wasn’t easy for you to find because you weren’t even sure of the right question to ask.  I’m looking to create a kick-ass introduction to being an introvert.  Let me see your questions on the comments!

 

 

Fabulous Fridays #2

quietly fabulous -- fabulous fridays logo

 

Hey, kids, it’s Fabulous Friday again!

I started Fabulous Fridays to focus on the good stuff.  For June I want to know why you’re fabulous.

I truly believe everyone has a special reason for being in the world — often, more than one!  So let’s celebrate why you’re fabulous.  It’s easy to get caught up in negative self-talk.  Take some time, be nice to yourself and tell me one of your qualities you’re really proud of.

One thing my friends have always noticed about me is that I’m even tempered.  In fact, I once had a blog called On An Even Keel.  It’s not that I don’t feel passionately about things, but in general my emotions are pretty steady.  In the workplace especially, I’ve found it’s helpful.  I rarely get mad or upset and blurt out things I shouldn’t.   In a tense meeting, staying calm and quiet can often help defuse the emotion in the room so you can get back to business.

Your turn!  Tell me why you’re fabulous.  I want to know!

 

Fabulous Fridays

quietly fabulous -- fabulous fridays logo

I’m starting a new feature on Quietly Fabulous — Fabulous Fridays!

For June, Fabulous Fridays will focus on why you are fabulous.  Everybody is fabulous in some way; we all have gifts to share with the world.

But introverts aren’t always good about sharing our fabulousness.

We generally don’t like to draw attention to ourselves.  We want our work or our actions to speak for themselves.  But that doesn’t always get the message across.

We’re not so good at self-promotion.  It seems so easy — and effortless — for extroverts to share what they’re good at.  We need to adopt that attitude!  Why should they have all the fun?

We too often engage in negative self-talk.  We’re so conditioned to judge ourselves by extrovert standards and we often come up short (well, in our own heads anyway).  I want you to talk as positively about yourself as possible.  Be as kind and giving to yourself as you are to others.

Why am I fabulous?  I’m a fast learner.  I like to immerse myself in a topic completely and absorb all the information I can in the shortest period of time.  When I started working as a proofreader at an advertising agency, I had to learn the job in three months, before the other proofreader left for maternity leave.  I was able to learn everything I needed and did the job by myself for several weeks until she returned.

Later in my career, I was working on alumni communications for the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  Even without any direct experience, I became editor of the alumni magazine and basically learned the job as I worked on the first issue.  I had a lot of help, but I was driving the bus.  It’s one of my most valuable accomplishments.

So now I want to hear from you!  Share your fabulousness in the comments.  Or write a blog post and link here, or share your post in the comments.   The point is to take a moment to celebrate yourself!

Quietly Fabulous on Facebook!

I’m very excited about launching the Quietly Fabulous Facebook page!

I think it will be a good option for people who don’t really read blogs.  And it’s a great place to post shorter ideas and questions to really get some discussion going.

And I’m starting out with a poll!  As I’m working on my ebook about social media and introverts, I’d love to see where you fall on the scale.  Do you barely tolerate social media or do you absolutely love it?  It’s hardly scientific but I’m curious to see how introverts view and use social media.

Pop on over, like the page and answer the poll!