Welcome to the club. We silent ones, the ones who are least likely to speak up and speak out. The ones with incredibly profound dialogue happening inside our own heads. The ones who aren't out shouting about our businesses or storming the castles to build our community.
We know we need to get out more...
But we (not-so-secretly) don't want to.
I remember when I married my husband I was so struck by my new in-laws and their group of friends. They'd lived in the same area for 30 years and had an amazing circle of friends. Those friends were so close to my in-laws they even threw ME my bridal shower. I thought to myself then that I wished to have that in my life - a community that I was deeply immeshed in, with people to back me up over the years.
So when we moved to our current town I decided to make a change. Shy & Introverted was no longer an obstacle because dammit, I would have that sphere of influence in my life just like the Nelsons. So I joined a Mommy & Me class, and on the first day the teacher announced that she was moving and needed a new teacher. I raised my hand. I had no idea how to run the class (having never even been to one before) but I knew that I NEEDED this group to continue if I wanted that community. Internally instead of dread, I actually felt calm... because as the teacher, I would know my role. I wouldn't be forced to make small talk with others, I would have a JOB (kinda like being at a party and helping with the dishes right?). People would come up to me and talk instead of me trying to sit in on conversations others were having and weave myself into those who clearly knew how to small talk.
SO I PLAYED THE ROLE OF A LEADER.
From that day forward, I became a Board Member, a President, a Founder, a Leader, or the person who got to drive the golf cart and have a walkie-talkie at any and all groups I joined or formed.
Not that I didn't swear in the car the whole way to each and every meeting, hating that I was forcing myself to go....
For me, building my community became about taking on roles where I knew the rules of engagement and others would start conversations with ME rather than me seeking out them. In many ways, my introversion worked as a huge advantage in leadership - because I had the patience and I could see bigger pictures than the extroverts working the room.
Fast forward to today and I lead one of the largest coaching communities on Facebook. I show up here in Evercoach as an Ambassador. I'm launching a new community in the next month or so for charitable purposes. I publish a magazine with amazing coaches from around the world read around 100k times. I've had an email community for going on 11 years now (some people have been on it since day 1).
AND I'M STILL AN INTROVERT.
I know I cannot build a business without paying attention to building a community. As much as it sucks, there is no way I would be able to create clients without having some contact with actual people. So to you introverts in the room, the ones who may not even think they want to write their response in public I implore you to start thinking of community as a priority. It can be small and intimate. It can look like anything you want it to look like... but INTROVERSION ISN'T AN EXCUSE TO NOT BUILD IT.
What kind of people would you be willing to hang out with seriously for a year? What can you build or join? What role can you take on?
Community is everything... what will you do to build one for yourself?