I was traveling with a group of people. We were at the airport getting ready to go home. After a week of hanging out with a new friend, she tells me that she's an introvert. I was like, "NO, you're not. You're so friendly and adventurous. You've been talking to everybody and taking pictures of everything."
Her reply was, "I'm totally an introvert. I'm very shy."
I was very skeptical. My mind just couldn't quite process this new information.
Then she said, "Just because you're an introvert doesn't mean that you have to come off as an introvert."
What?! It had never dawned on me that someone who's an introvert could break out of it and be really friendly and engaging. I had always thought that if you're born an introvert or beyond that born shy, that was your personality, and you were stuck with it.
That conversation at the airport changed everything. All of a sudden the chains around my belief system fell off. I realized that I didn't have to be shy. I actually could break free from it.
Being the person who people have to come up to and start conversations with is a lot of work for the people who you're wanting to influence. This is especially important if you want to be in leadership or if you have a message you want to get out.
Certainly, all of us introverts need alone time to recharge. That's not a problem. We need to value that. But when you get around people, you really can start to break out of that reservedness and go up to people and engage them. This takes practice.
Start by introducing yourself and asking them questions about themselves. Maybe ask where they're from or what line of work they're in. Most of the time people love to talk about themselves.
Breaking free from any bondage that goes along with being an introvert isn't a matter of not being authentically you. It's a matter of really caring about the people around you and trying to make their lives really wonderful.