24/08/2017 11:02 BST | Updated 24/08/2017 11:02 BST

The Introverted Extrovert

Well the title of my blog pretty much epitomises me. I've always had ideas, some grander than others. I've had dreams and ambitions and even a determination to turn them into reality, or at least try. So, you'd think that I'd be writing about all the things I've achieved? Alas, not. And why is that?... because I find compliments difficult to handle and play down my achievements. It's not even because I believe I'm not worthy, I just don't like fuss or being the centre of attention... and why is this? It's because I'm an introvert, or rather an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. Wow, has this caused me problems over the years. So often I've felt conflicted. I hate attention, the very attention I secretly crave. It's a dichotomy.

The extrovert, you see, is a part I play (or at least this is how it feels), and I can play her very well most of time, and I do have a good time for a short time, but at the end of the day, something's got to give, and the shy, retiring girl emerges in her place. I can't keep her hidden long. She's always there, whispering to me. "It's much too loud, let's go home" or "I can't handle going out this evening, let's watch TV in bed instead".

Yes, I know shy is not the same as introvert but this was the vocabulary used at the time and the way I thought about myself. My school report would always start with the same phrase, "Cerys is quiet and shy". There it was in black and white from the very beginning, but even then, I didn't quite believe it myself. I knew I wasn't shy, I just didn't want to put myself forward in the way that was expected of me. It was as though I was looking in from the outside and seeing this melee of noise and chaos and making a conscious decision not to engage, not because I couldn't but because I had absolutely no desire to. I had a choice and I decided not to be part of it. It was too exhausting. Don't get me wrong, I love my extroverted side but I can't keep it up. I'm relieved when I'm able to close the door and know I don't have to engage with anyone for a whole weekend.

So how did I overcome this? The truth is, I didn't. Introverted girl won't go away, she is immutable. She is me. What I can do is acknowledge her, and give her credit for the positives she brings to me. Once I'd recognised the difference and realised that shyness wasn't something I should strive to overcome, but a combination of self-consciousness and social-judgement, I stopped fighting the introverted me. Recognising this has been a revelation, and rather than playing down my strengths I now share my successes. I used to hate talking about myself and really struggled with it in work situations, but I'm getting so much better at it, and thanks to my coaching I really had no choice. My self-reliance has stood me in good stead, especially when building my own business. A natural inclination to listen, observe and think before I act has helped deflect many potential problems. I still prefer one to one interactions and don't enjoy speaking to large gatherings, but I've slowly overcome my fear and am able to allow myself to enjoy the experience. What's more, these days I help other introverted extroverts discover ways to play to their strengths and make it a positive attribute both in life and business. After all, we ambiverts are amazing.