About the introvert inside me, a “good student” syndrome and spinning it all to my advantage.

Hi all, hope you are doing well.

I was recently approached by one of my friends. He noticed my increased online presence and was wondering how is that possible.

He teased me a little bit:

Hey, I thought you are not such a show-off! I always considered you to be more of an introvert!”

Well, he was right. He was right about one thing.

I am not an extrovert. I am indeed an introvert, 100% sure of that.

Meeting new people, reaching out to them, is a real challenge for me. I find myself lost at larger gatherings like grill parties, conferences, etc. I find it difficult to overcome my ridiculous inner fears and go to new places. I don’t feel like trying new things. And it scares me to create some new meaningful connections just by talking to strangers.

The good thing though is that I know I have those issues. And I choose to willingly fight back in everything I do, every time I can. Sometimes with success. And sometimes I just lose. That’s life, right? 

The important thing is that I don’t let my inner introvert rule my actions. Or at least I don’t intend to!

Let’s get back to this “online showoff”. 

First of all, I don’t consider my online writing as “showing off”. I just like to do it. It brings me real joy. I believe I have things to say, I convert them into words, and that’s it.

And if there are people who want to read it and it brings them some value? Great.

I will not pretend like this didn’t make me happy. Of course, a healthy amount of attention and feedback makes me happy. Every comment and message I get is a nice dopamine dose, making me more motivated and grateful. 

Writing online might seem like a lonely activity. And it is indeed. It is similar to giving a speech on the stage. Some years back I also had a few lectures in front of a lot of people, and I also played a bit of the theatre. I loved it. Despite my introverted personality, I always loved it. 

Do You know why? Let me tell you – it doesn’t matter how many people are watching you, because at that exact moment you are alone. There is no threat of conversations you should start but you are afraid of. Nor There is fear of others people’s reactions. There are no people, there is the audience. Anonymous audience.

With writing it is similar, even easier. There are no people, there are readers. And in the moment of creating and grooming your article, you are alone. 

Of course, it can be challenging to read some negative feedback. But as long as it is constructive and hate-free, I am ok. I am keen to get better, and readers reaching back with some advice help a lot. 

Though I had this period when I had to actively convince myself that it has some meaning to post online. That it is not embarrassing, it doesn’t matter that it won’t be perfect. 

Fighting your inner introvert is a challenge.

What motivates me is how many incredibly successful people went that path before me- Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, and many more – you can find more e.g. in this article. I recently noticed that even our 3PillarGlobal CEO David DeWolf fight these kind of issues (he wrote this excellent article about networking the introvert way – inspired me a lot)

Long story short – I know I am an introvert, I found the strength to regularly fight it, when it’s needed, or use it to my benefit.

The much worse problem is being a “good student”. 

Quite recently, about a year and a half ago, I stumbled upon this article called Star student? How to stop acting like teacher’s pet at work

It talks about the so-called “good student syndrome”. Read the details in that article, but basically:

“good students” in that meaning are excessively concerned with external expectations. These individuals want to do well, follow guidelines and obey instructions, and they believe that other people are in a better position to evaluate their work. 

Welcome to the jungle blog.

It does not seem so bad, right? Unfortunately, this is very bad. 

And only after reading that article I had realized, that the article is 100% percent about me. I realized how deep impact and consequences that have on my life. 

The pitfall of being a “good student” is, that when you leave school and come to the workplace, different rules apply. Because you got addicted to constant positive feedback, you desire constant approval of your work. You can be the best employee there – but your ever going thirst for approval makes you seem not capable of independent work. It makes you seem not able to take responsibility for the outcome of your work. And that leads to your colleagues being more successful than you. 

And you will even feel aggrieved. Because you can’t understand what is wrong. You will feel not treated fair. 

Realizing I have “good student” issues was a game changer

Realizing that I had a strong “good student” syndrome was a game-changer for me and it came at the right time. I just started my career change back then, pursuing the job of a software engineer, after 6 years in sales. I realized how much more successful I would have been so far if I realized sooner. Never mind, it is great to know now. 

From that point on, I constantly challenge myself every time I want feedback. Every time I feel insecure or not performing well. I allow myself a moment to stop and ask myself – do I need some external feedback, or is it just a “good student” inside me asking for approval? 

Often, I just say “good work Pavel” and continue with what I was doing 🙂 

Another thing that helped me with that issue a lot is to note your success. To create a sort of brag list – a lot about that is in this post. It is easy to forget about your day-to-day wins. So make a list of everything you accomplish. It can even help you with annual performance evaluations and similar stuff.

I have a sort of brag list, although I don’t go that far to share it with my manager as suggested in the article.

That’s all for today. And if you just found out you have an issue with introverted personality or “good student” syndrome ruling your life, then congratulations!

It is the first step to spin it to your advantage.

Thanks for reading.

See ya next time, Pavel.