Today, March 8th 2018, is International Women’s Day and I’ve chosen to talk about Susan Cain. A day where the successes, the strengths, the innovative thinking, the scientific achievements (and so much more) of women are celebrated. Whether you are applauded today for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize or for being a kick-ass Mum, know that the world sees you and recognises your skills, your abilities, your potential and your uniqueness.
At this time of the year, lists appear, lists of inspirational woman. Oprah, Beyonce, Princess Diana and Mother Theresa are often seen at the top of these lists. There are magazine spreads, Forbes articles, tv interviews, local Women’s Day networking events and seminars all dedicated to the most inspirational women out there. Dedicated to all women out there.
I could talk about so many women who inspire me. I could talk about international stars, those fighting for change around the world, women who have overcome much yet focus not on themselves but on who they may help next. There’s no cap on the number of people who may inspire you.
I’ve chosen to write today about one woman. That woman is Susan Cain. I don’t know Susan personally, although if you really could choose one person you’d like to have at your dinner party, she would be it for me.
I discovered Susan Cain via Ted Talk. I watch at least one every morning. It’s a good way to start my day. Some make me laugh, some really get the great grey matter going and some, like this one, made me sit back and think “Damn, this is me”. Susan Cain talked about Introversion. Being an introvert has been seen for centuries as being a weakness. Too quiet and you’ll miss out on opportunities. Shy and people won’t look at you the same way (although shyness and introversion are very different). Susan Cain made me realise that my being an introvert meant something else. It meant that I was winning at life. My life. The life I wanted to lead and was built to live.
If there was a genetic test for introversion I believe I’d ace that test. I watched Susan carry her bag of books, talk about her beloved grandfather and started to see my love of solitude, of quiet, as a strength for the first time. Susan Cain is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. As a fierce reader, I found myself going straight from Susan’s TedTalk to my local library site to reserve this book and reading it confirmed so much about myself. Honestly, it was empowering.
It turns out being an introvert isn’t a bad thing. We have skills! We’re not wrong or broken, we simply do things a little differently and evidence certainly seems to point to the fact that we do some things better than others. Our studious ways, our quiet determination and our creativity are invaluable in the workplace; in the world.
So to Susan Cain on this International Women’s Day, I say Thank You. Thank you for dragging your bag of books on stage, thanks for writing Quiet, a labour of love I’m sure and thank you for teaching me and so many others that being an introvert is special, it is positive, it is ok. Introversion is ok! I’m an introvert who has built the skills needed to cope ok in an extroverted world yet who is happiest, more productive, and more herself, more me, in my small, quieter, awesome world. Thank you for telling the world that introversion is a good thing, a quietly powerful thing. Working and living with and alongside extroverts who recognise our unique skills and ways of doing things, as we recognise theirs makes for a much more stimulating, effective, kinder world.
I have been on a journey over the past year or so, a solitary one, an exploration of me. I’ve realised over time that I am good enough. I now quietly celebrate my introversion for what it is, a part of me. I’m good with it. More than good. I’ve stopped trying to fight it. Thank you, Susan Cain, for opening my eyes up and have a wonderful International Women’s Day.
Come November I’ll enjoy writing about International Men’s Day and which man or men I would like at my dinner table. We really do have some fabulous people in our world and personally I believe we should all be celebrated for who we are and what we do.