Why do introverts find the idea of marketing so unpleasant? Many reasons (some understandable and others pure perception). Of all the reasons, there is one that’s been on my mind the last couple days. Most introverts value anonymity.
Growing up, there were many instances where the people around me didn’t understand me. It wasn’t their fault, I was just an odd person. However, in the effort to avoid misunderstanding and labeling or having attention on me, I developed a defense mechanism. Invisibility.
It was much less stressful if I could avoid being noticed, so I learned how to fade into my environment. I became a master of invisibility, and was actually really proud of it. Teachers never called on me for answers, other kids didn’t try to talk to me, and sometimes I could even slip under the radar far enough to avoid group activities or required “fun” sports (like field day).
Once in a while, my invisibility cloak went on the fritz and someone noticed me. I wrote an essay once in grade school for one of those drug-prevention classes, and the instructor liked it. Because of this, they made me read it out loud at our DARE graduation. It was awful! I was terrified, and they wouldn’t let me out of it. It felt like they were punishing me for doing something good, and calling it an honor. I didn’t sign up for a contest, and I don’t think I put much real effort into the essay, either. They pushed me into presenting anyway, and I never forgave them or forgot it. (Dramatic, I know haha.)
That’s just one example, but these kinds of experiences, where I was forced into an uncomfortable position, freaked me out so much that I actually made an effort to do everything sub-par. I retained A’s and B’s mostly, but stayed as average as possible. I dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt with the same hairstyle every day, I didn’t make eye contact, spent lunch away from the cafeteria, and rarely spoke unless spoken to. I was happy this way.
I often wonder if I did the right thing. Should I have pushed myself out of that comfort zone? Maybe. Unfortunately, the fastest way to get me to do the opposite of what you want, is to try and force me into something. You could take chocolate (one of my favorite things in the world) and demand that I eat it, and my deep-seated, gut response will be “Don’t tell me what to do.” I will never know if it was right, but it did shape me, and now as an adult, I can make the choice to push myself out of comfort or not.
Is self-alienation a common factor among introverts? I would guess so, in many cases, but not all. INFJs perhaps more than others. Then again, I know someone who was very extroverted as a kid, but as an adult has slipped into introversion and seclusion.
My main point is, if you’ve worked hard your whole life to go unnoticed, it’s going to feel like pulling teeth to do the opposite for marketing. To work towards getting more “friends” or “followers” and to push your name (or pen name) out there into the world, in hopes that your book will be read by many as many people as possible…it goes against everything you have ever been.
The conflicting urge to be successful versus the desire to stay invisible can cause some major turmoil. So, what do you do? You work through the fear. If you’re like me, and writing is the only thing that has ever made you feel like you might just belong for the first time in your life, you push through the discomfort and do what you have to do.
You research and work on how to market yourself/your book, fill your online environment with others like yourself, and keep moving forward. Don’t let your words go unpublished just because it’s more comfortable to be invisible. This is your life, and you have to make the most of it and live in a way that will leave you with the least regrets. It’s going to be hard work, but you can do it. One step at a time.
Nobody can do this for you, except you.
I’ve got post-migraine foggy brain today, so I hope this makes sense. Were you or someone you know an invisibility artist?