A year ago, I was an introvert. I did not speak unless I was spoken to. It wasn’t that I was being rude, I was just painfully uncomfortable. I had two friends, both of which were in my life since college. Other than that, I didn’t socialize beyond work…and not even then, really.
Over the years, I attended conferences and booked myself in sessions from start to finish whether I presented or not. I learned a great deal but I missed the human component of learning…that face to face interaction that can only be experienced from being a part of the conversation in lieu of just listening to a conversation.
My cell phone was my salvation when I was uncomfortable. I was either reading updates from facebook, checking email or eventually twitter. Anyone that knows me now, may find this difficult to believe but if you ask my friend Daphne, she’ll gladly tell you that this is true.
Something happened this past year when I started joining conversations on twitter as opposed to reading them. I allowed myself to be engaged enough to want to attend events, not just to learn, but to connect. I wanted to talk to people in ways that I had been previously uncomfortable doing. I made friends and before I knew it, the real me…THIS me… began to shine.
I’m writing this post as a thank you, I think, to my PLN in Texas for making me feel smart enough to contribute and wise enough to listen to. Thank you Scott Floyd, for completely and totally changing my life. The moment that he helped me to see that my words had value was the moment that I stopped hiding behind the shell of myself and wanted to be visible. Sometimes I forget my past life as a silent listener. At times, I might even want to go back to that comfort zone. The difference is that I feel like I belong and that is a powerful feeling…belonging. We should all feel that we belong in our own lives.
As hard as it was writing this post, I needed to do it. Moving forward, I hope that we as a community do better about welcoming in the voices of others…new voices. You just never know what you’re missing until you allow yourself to engage or be engaged further.