There she was, sitting at the very back of the room; a beautiful woman with neat, white flowing hair, nodding and smiling as I spoke, as if to say, yes, darling, that’s right.
There is usually such a woman in the back of the room when I give a public talk! It is mysterious yet quite welcome. My eyes gravitate to this sort of archetypal woman over and over again. And with the rush of people after the talk, I look and she is gone. She was at the cruise in Alaska, with an air of quiet wisdom. I was enamored with her energy of adventurousness and joyful sense of self. I want to be like her as I grow older, gracefully wearing my age, appreciating every line on my face, wrapping my body in colorful, attractive clothing, and moving through life with elegance. Around her one would feel safe, understood, approved of, and aided if need be. She’s not loud or calling attention to herself. I imagine her slipping in and out of people’s lives being of tremendous service, yet not looking for celebrity or adulation.
Understanding this archetype’s importance in my life gives me insights into my own personality, purpose and uniqueness. Perhaps, for me, this symbolizes a possible future self. And discovering yours will do this for you.
Over the last 100 or so years our Western culture has held high the merits of being an extravert. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins we have taken the message of being bold, outspoken, and action oriented to be the ideal in today’s competitive work world. Make your self noticed, be charming, garner attention, and act commanding.
At the same time the introvert, those who happen to listen more to their inner voice than the world stage, were seen as lacking. The school system has often tried to force the quiet ones into team activities to bring them out. Even the psychological community seemed to miss the treasures that lie within these individuals, preferring everyone be outgoing.
We are now learning that these ‘creatives’ are integral to our society going forward. These are the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, even Einsteins and many other unassuming leaders in every industry from manufacturing, services, self-growth and education who value their solitary time and go out to speak only because it is necessary to fulfill their purpose. The creatives are becoming more noticeable in our culture because of media and technology, (which they had a heavy hand in creating by the way).
Looking back I now see why–when I entered the business world, becoming a stock broker barely over 30, trying to be like the gregarious, talkative men in our office–I felt so stressed. I was an introvert wearing the mask of an extravert. I now see why I felt so exhausted by the end of the week. I was pushing myself out of my natural leanings, using up vast amounts of energy making my normally quiet self perform as I thought was expected.
Eventually I created my own business with my own tempo and environment, so prosperity and purpose could easily find me. The clients I attract now are those who understand what I offer them and I understand what they want. They are my tribe.
Introverts need more time alone to recharge. They become very productive and innovative when they are left to their own timeline of purpose. Introverted isn’t being shy, though some are. More often they are quite socially competent, just more inner focused.
And now I know why the quiet women of wisdom catch my attention. This is my ideal, where it feels natural to embrace and hopefully become. Through my self-education I somehow took in the message to be something else.
Knowing who you really are can be as simple as noticing that reappearing archetype in your life; the one who stands out to you like a beacon. And there you will find your prosperity and purpose.
© copyright 2012 Kasey Claytor