The other day I did 5 facts about me on my instagram story, the last one was “I am an introvert + am an INTP” (just to give you an idea of how introverted I am, on the Meyer's Brigg Personality Test I was scored as 98% introverted.) After posting that I started getting questions about being an introvert in the photography industry. One of my favorite questions that sparked this post was:
HOW DO YOU SEE BEING AN INTROVERT IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY WORLD?
Being an introvert isn’t bad, being an extrovert isn’t bad. I think they are both pretty great, and without one or the other this world would be either really quiet or very chaotic! Can we just take a moment to imagine a world of introverts?! *CRICKETS* We are all wired differently and I think that's so beautiful!
I never really thought about it before honestly, you know, how being an introvert would affect my job. But after taking some time to really think about it, I realized a few things that have gotten me through and things I have learned from being an introvert in this industry. I am still learning and growing, below are a few things that have helped me.
1. LET IT HELP BUILD WHO YOU ARE // Photography has shaped me since I was in middle school, it’s taught my very introverted self how to step out of my hole and talk to people (it was more like my mom kicking me out of my hole to talk to people, thanks mom!), how to interact with them and be genuine in conversations. I may know how to do all of these things, but that doesn't mean I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a photographer, I love documenting couples special days and families joyous moments, there’s nothing more I would rather be doing. But at the end of the day, I am an introvert and need to take "me" time to recharge.
2. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF // 2016 was the year that it got insanely busy for me, in the month of July I had almost 30 sessions - ridic, Grace, ridic. I burnt out hardcore. I became mean and angry towards the people I love and care for, nobody wants a mean Grace.
Right then I learned that I need to take time for myself. For me, alone time was going to get ice cream by myself at 10PM, now it looks like reading a book while sipping on tea, watching something on the good ‘ol Flix of The Net, cooking or go out in nature. I have also found it super helpful to do something with my hands like writing or drawing (neither of which I am good at, but it helps me use a different part of my brain to let the other side relax a little.)
3. JUST BECAUSE YOU GOT INVITED DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO // The biggest thing I think I have learned is when to say “NO”. It’s as simple as that. Say NO to some things, say YES to other things. Advice: tell yourself you’ll say YES to 5 things this month and the rest get a NO.
4. BREATHE, DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE // My husband and I always joke around with each other about this, when I am really concentrating I forget to breathe (like right now, definitely not breathing...), cue bright red, light headed Grace. A few years ago I was doing counseling for a number of things, but the big one was for anxiety. The biggest thing I took away from it was how to breathe through the panic and anxiousness. (I was adamant that I didn’t want to medicate)
Breathing has brought new life. When I am at a wedding or a long shoot, I start feeling myself getting major brain fog and start to feel myself go into my introverted hole. I take a few minutes to just sit and do deep breathing. It revives me and helps me to move on. My favorite breathing excesses is Nadi Shodhan pranayama AKA Alternate Nostril Breathing (click here for a video on how to do it!)
5. ACCEPT THE JITTERS // I will be the first to admit to you that meeting with prospective clients really gives me the jitters and butterflies. If I didn’t get the jitters I’d think there was something wrong. I just remind myself of something my mom has always told me "You may be afraid to do something. You just need to step in and do it, you will get more comfortable with it over time (practice makes perfect) and you will be able to make it through, as long as you take time for yourself after. Just keep telling yourself it'll be fine, you're not going to die doing it, it's only 1 hour out of my life." *CLAPS* thanks mom! (my mom is an introvert, she's run a business for 30 years, I'd say I would trust her advice!)
All in all, I think being an introvert is what you make it. It’s not bad, it's not something that should hold you back, It’s not something to use as an excuse. Introverts are blessed with seeing the world a little differently I’d like to think, we take the time to slow down and see all that is going on around us - the bird building a nest, the child tripping and face planting into their ice cream cone, the glimmer of a water droplet about to fall off a leaf. Introverts are cool, extroverts are cool. I think we all are pretty rad.