Quiet is Beautiful

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Leave this beach for a conference? I think not!

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Leave this beach for a conference? I think not!

I absolutely refuse to interrupt my annual two week vacation on the beaches of Maine for anything. That’s my time, a chance to relax and recharge for what always is a busy Fall season ahead.

This year though, I must admit I was tempted to break that tradition when I learned Susan Cain was one of the speakers at the 2014 Global Leadership Summit.

I have attended the Summit a few times in the past, and always found it to be challenging and stimulating. I usually dislike being put in a leadership position, I much prefer being in the background, but frequently leadership roles have been thrust upon me. Which means learning about how to be more effective as a leader makes sense, even if it involves being with a group. I have never been a fan of large numbers of people together; I am more inclined to privacy and introspection and have never been a big fan of group activities. Now don’t get me wrong, I like people. People can be very tasty if properly cooked, and I have some great recipes.

Susan Cain understands how I feel about groups.

I came across her book  QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, at my local library one evening when I was looking at the shelves to see what was new. The description intrigued me, so I checked it out. I didn’t realize it was a bestseller until I went to buy a copy – I liked it that much. I’m not going to go into great detail, there are I’m sure millions of reviews online if you are interested. She has a TED talk (and if you don’t know what that is you are a little out of touch) that has been watched more than nine million times. Not by me though – I never seem to find the time for TED talks, even though I think they are vastly superior to watching kittens play ping pong on YouTube. (For the record, I have never watched kittens play ping pong on YouTube; I am only guessing that such a video exists.)

I am an introvert. Many people who know me don’t believe that, but they confuse my functioning with my desires. I have had jobs where I was occasionally required to be on stage in front of thousands of people. So that’s what I did. I like to think I can do that sort of thing well – but it doesn’t mean that it is my choice to do it, or my desire to do it. In politics I quickly learned that elected office wasn’t something I aspired to; I’m much happier in the backrooms with the other introverts, as long as they don’t talk to me. Susan Cain understands introverts. Not only is she one herself, but QUIET is a celebration of those of us who aren’t noisy but still have a lot to contribute to society.IMG_9286

I skipped going to the Leadership Summit in August, the beach won out. But I must admit, I already knew then that there was a Plan B. The past couple of years, in my area anyway, there Leadership Summit has happened twice. The August event is live, but it is rebroadcast in October. So I am going to hear and see Susan Cain (and a bunch of other leaders) speak when I attend the Summit October 23 and 24 (this Thursday and Friday) and I am really looking forward to it. A friend who was at the August event said Susan Cain’s presentation was good, but less than dynamic – but that in many ways is the whole point. We introverts aren’t always dynamic – but we do have things to say, if we are allowed to say them.


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