On silence… October 4, 2017 by Jamie WestermanSilence is golden. I am an extroverted introvert. And no I didn’t just make that up. I love people. I am surrounded by them in both of my professions, and in fact both careers were chosen because they are people centric. I love to help people, get to know them, socialize. I am friendly, I smile, I am inviting. And I am an introvert. The stereotypical introvert is shy and quiet. If you’ve met me, you would say I am neither of those things. You would say I am outgoing, open, chatty and even loud sometimes! Unless you are in my tight inner circle (sign of an introvert), or are extremely thoughtful, you would surely call me an extrovert. Being an extrovert or an introvert isn’t necessarily about how you behave in front of people. We think about personalities in terms of social situations. But think about what energizes you. Do you gain momentum in a crowd? Or, like myself, do you feel more alive after a period of silence? Like my iPhone, I am running a hundred apps at a time all day long, but if you don’t plug me in to recharge I will crash quickly. In my business, social events are the norm and I sincerely love them, but I am at my best when I begin and end those events with quiet time. Also, when I am in a crowd you will likely see me shine when I am one on one with someone truly connecting. Introverts are not great at small talk! Whatever your personality type, have you ever thought about the importance of silence in your life? We live in a fast-paced, noisy, and distracted world. Take a moment (in silence) and think about the last time you sat quietly. Just sat, no phone dinging in the background, no television or radio on, just peace. If you can think of a time in the last 24 hours, I applaud you. Even though I crave silence, need it really, I find it hard to fit in my day. I must be intentional about carving out that time or it just doesn’t come easily. What are the opportunities for silence in your day? Sitting in the car on your morning commute maybe? Ten minutes over your lunch hour? The few moments in bed at night before you drift away? Or are these opportunities filled with chatter from a morning show, a quick phone call with your noon salad, or “Law & Order” reruns as you close your eyes? We miss so many chances to restore our mental resources. Do you use noise to escape? It can be easier to fill our heads with distraction than to hear ourselves at times. Our brains NEED the stillness however. A break from chaos, the insistent visuals that bombard us, and the constant to do lists in our heads. The thinking, problem-solving, decision-making part of our brain that is so taxed by stimuli, both external and internal, relishes in and is rejuvenated by silence. Even when you are sad and overwhelmed, even more so then. And yes, even if you are an extrovert. I use silence to breathe. To bring myself to the present, to reflect, to be grateful, to imagine, to dream. I use silence to know myself. I am committed to these moments of silence so I never become as disconnected with my heart as I once was. Sometimes that means an extra couple of minutes in the shower in the morning to close my eyes and just be. Or a noise-free commute. A walk with my dog. A few minutes in quick pockets of my day. That’s it, the intention of calm to keep me grounded fills my introverted cup. I challenge you to incorporate silence into your day. It may be hard at first, uncomfortable even. You may wander or continually think about the next thing you need to do. It’s ok. Try. Practice. Exercise your mind like a muscle until you learn to use that silence and embrace it. It truly is golden.