I was put into a box from a very early age. Not an actual box. A stereotypical one. I was shy. I hid behind my mum until well into my teenage years. My shyness seemed to get worse as I got older. Probably because I couldn't take my mum to college, uni and work with me.
Oh those, dreaded group reading sessions at school. I used to burn holes into the ground whilst desperately hoping my name wouldn't be called. I had to be dragged to Brownies to socialise. I avoided most social activities at university and just got stuck into the work. Then came the working environment. Being as driven as I am, I wanted a good job with good prospects and found my shyness was getting in the way of this. I would avoid any jobs that required any kind of presenting, speaking to customers, speaking in general really. A librarian was my perfect job. Still is. It just lacked the heights I was hoping to achieve.
I wound up in the field of buying, which suited me perfectly - not client facing and mainly working alone. I sound like an utter weirdo don't I? Bear with me...
Then came my next role...being a mum. The job that finally made me brave. I vividly remember looking at my blue eyed boy and thinking I am his voice and it's my job to provide him with opportunities. I couldn't hide away, I didn't want that for him. It was an epiphany that I have waited a long time for.
The first group I went to? Baby sign where I had to sing songs and do actions. I had no idea. I felt lost and bewildered but met some lovely mums and came away feeling brave and proud. It was the day I learnt to keep making my comfort zone bigger...bit by bit.
8 months into my new role, my sleep diminished, my confidence started to soar and my shyness was waning. Oh and my stomach was expanding and I was pregnant with my little girl. Life was about to get busier and after deciding that being a mum was the role I felt most comfortable, we made the decision for me not to go back to work.
I started a business instead and the rest is history. If you had told my 20 year old self that I would be a confident business woman who stands up and speaks to mums about starting businesses, someone who stands up at school in front of parents to talk about the work of the PTA...I'd have run away to a cave and never come out.
It was only after watching this Ted Talk by Susan Cain about the power of the introvert, that I realised that it is ok to be an introvert. In fact, it is pretty awesome. Introverts are wired differently to extroverts and feed off quiet instead of people. Everything just made sense after years and years of self doubt.
My son is now 8 and I can totally see the same traits in him that I had. Fear of new experiences, not wanting to go to parties and hiding behind me. Or his little sister. I wrote a blog about him and his introversion. So glad I have the experience to guide him through his life without worrying about him being too quiet. He is just perfect as he is.
And my daughter, well she'll be just fine. She knew she was fierce the minute she came earthside and woe betide anyone telling her otherwise.
How did becoming a mum change you? I'd love to read your stories. Comment below.