Thriving As An Introvert: Lindsey Chastain On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society…

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Thriving As An Introvert: Lindsey Chastain On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts

Standing up for needs and setting boundaries — Practice explaining your style and limits compassionately but firmly. Say no to overwhelming demands and explain alternatives that work for you. Know your limitations and learn to work with them instead of letting them work against you.

In a world that often rewards outspokenness and social networking, introverts can sometimes feel sidelined or overlooked. The workplace, educational institutions, and even social settings can often seem engineered to suit the strengths of extroverts, leaving introverts searching for a space to flourish.

However, introversion comes with its own set of unique strengths — deep thinking, the ability to focus, empathy, and keen observational skills — that are invaluable but often underestimated. The question then becomes: how can introverts not only survive but also thrive and succeed in environments that seem skewed towards extroversion? In this interview series, we are talking to introverts, business leaders, psychologists, authors, career coaches, organizational leaders, and other experts in the field who can talk about “How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts”. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Chastain.

Lindsey Chastain is a highly accomplished individual with a diverse range of experiences across multiple industries. She holds a BA in English from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. With over a decade of experience in academia, Chastain has taught and designed courses in various subjects at the university level.

As an accomplished professional with extensive experience in the field of content marketing, press releases, and ghostwriting, Chastain brings a wealth of expertise to any project. With a proven track record of success in these areas, she has established herself as a skilled and versatile writer, editor, and strategist.

Chastain’s knowledge and experience in content marketing have been honed through years of working with businesses across various industries. She has a deep understanding of the importance of crafting compelling content that engages audiences, drives traffic, and builds brand awareness. Her expertise in press release writing has helped many businesses to effectively communicate their news and events to the media, resulting in increased visibility and engagement.

In addition, Chastain’s ghostwriting skills have been widely recognized. Her talent for writing in a variety of styles and tones has made her a go-to resource for authors, speakers, and executives seeking to establish their personal brand or thought leadership.

Chastain’s talents have been recognized through various awards and accolades, including the prestigious Sequoyah Award and numerous other awards for news coverage, in-depth reporting, column writing, sports coverage, and community leadership. Her work in education, content marketing, press releases, and ghostwriting has enabled her to make a significant impact in the field of communications, setting her apart as a leader in her field.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?

I run an agency specializing in content marketing, public relations, and social media management. When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist or a writer. I studied creative writing and literature in college, earning an MA in creative writing. I started my professional career as an English professor, but after my children were born, I moved back home to be closer to family. The area didn’t have the same opportunities in higher education, so I shifted to journalism honing my skills as a news writer and social media manager. I found that I truly loved the work.

Unfortunately, the newspaper I managed struggled as do many small-town newspapers, and I needed to shift careers again. I knew that I had a wealth of marketable skills, so I started The Writing Detective. I also took a position in a public relations firm where I was able to use my journalism skills in a new way.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Thriving As An Introvert. In order to make sure that we are all on the same page, let’s begin with a simple definition. What does “Introvert” mean to you?

To me, an introvert is someone who uses energy in social interactions. I think introverts are commonly perceived as those who just don’t like being around people, which is not always accurate. As an introvert myself, I love hearing people’s stories and supporting people’s dreams. I’m terrible at small talk though and do try to minimize interactions socially so that I can funnel most of my energy into creation and strategy.

Can you help articulate a few of the challenges that come with being an introvert?

As an agency owner, one of the toughest challenges I have come up against is promoting and selling my business. I can promote and support others all day long, but when it comes to talking about myself, my achievements, or sales calls, I flounder. I get incredibly nervous to ask for a sale. I’ve discovered keeping notes in front of me to help guide me on sales calls or leaving sales and promotion up to the extroverts is the way to go.

I also struggle with meetings. I need time after each meeting to collect my thoughts, take notes, and recover from the social interaction. If I have too many meetings in a single day, it completely disrupts productivity for the entire day. Because of this, I try to keep meetings to two to three a day maximum and keep them short so that I’m providing my best to each person I am interacting with.

I’m sure that being an introvert also gives you certain advantages. Can you tell us a few advantages that introverts have?

I think introverts are much better at observation. Because we tend to interact less, even in social situations, we pick up on more subtle clues such as body language and facial expressions. We also tend to be more introspective and may notice patterns that extroverts don’t. I find these skills help immensely when it comes to strategizing for my clients.

Not work related, but I’ve also rarely known an introvert who gets bored. We are masters at entertaining ourselves and can go long stretches without needing outside stimuli. In my family of six we have five introverts and one extrovert. The extrovert is the only one who ever feels bored and needs outside entertainment.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being an introvert? Can you explain what you mean?

One myth is that introverts are shy or antisocial. While some introverts can be shy in certain situations, introversion more describes how someone gains and expends energy. Introverts tend to prefer less stimulation and smaller social circles, not because they dislike people but because too much interaction can feel draining. We thrive when we have time to ourselves to recharge.

Another myth is that introverts don’t make good leaders or public speakers. When I was an English professor, I had no problem speaking in front of classes all day every day. Introverts can use our tendency to listen and think before speaking to prepare well for presenting. When we speak, we add value by not dominating conversations. And we lead well by empowering others. Our quieter nature belies inner strength and compassion.

Some also assume introverts cannot handle high-pressure jobs or environments that require quick thinking and response. But making space to recharge helps us tackle stimulation and act decisively when needed. We may process internally but can act quickly and with conviction. Our inner life equips us for outward demands. I find that in situations I am prepared for or that dip into my knowledge base, I can quickly and thoughtfully participate in discussions or provide insights. However, giving an introvert space to process and digest may yield ideas you may never have thought of.

Do you have any role models who are also introverts? What have you learned from them that can help introverts navigate the challenges and benefits of introversion?

One of the people I look up to is Misty Copland, the first principal African American dancer with the American Ballet Theater. Misty has said that she dances because she doesn’t talk and is known for being very shy. However, that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her passion and becoming a role model, not just for aspiring ballerinas, but for so many people. In order to become that role model, she has had to step into the public eye and speak. I admire her courage, her tenacity and her grace.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the “Five Things Introverts Need To Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

1 . Time for inner reflection and solitude to recharge — Make space for the inner world and be intentional about taking social breaks. Protect alone time to tap into creativity and self-awareness.

2 . Strong relationships with a few people rather than large networks — Cultivate meaningful connections with those who energize you rather than drain you. Go deep rather than broad. Small trusted circles are essential.

3 . Work environments that value focus and concentration — Seek or create workspaces that allow for intense focus. Negotiate for flexibility to work remotely when possible or time to reflect before providing insights such as after meetings. Uninterrupted time fuels productivity.

4 . Standing up for needs and setting boundaries — Practice explaining your style and limits compassionately but firmly. Say no to overwhelming demands and explain alternatives that work for you. Know your limitations and learn to work with them instead of letting them work against you.

5 . Confidence in unique contributions and perspectives — Remember strengths like insight, strategic thinking, and fostering one-on-one connections. Lead with these rather than forcing extroverted tendencies. Allow your gifts to shape your roles.

How should an introvert navigate social relationships and networking, activities that are often touted as extroverts’ forte? Do you have any advice for introverts in these areas?

This is really a balancing act. Try to focus on genuine connections and interactions whenever possible — quality over quantity. Prepare before meetings. Use listening skills instead of forcing participation. Reflect on your social energy levels so you enter interactions conscious of capacity. Note when you start feeling drained and exit gracefully when required. Say no directly when overextended. Protect personal space as you would any priority. Only commit to relationships where your authentic self is welcomed and valued.

When social interaction is unavoidable, plan ahead for some alone time and self-care after. Most importantly, set boundaries and keep them. If possible, recruit an ally at work or in your social group who can help you when you need to say no or exit gracefully by backing up that decision. People won’t always understand.

What are some practical tips you can offer to introverts who want to succeed in the workplace, which is often geared towards extroverted behaviors?

Don’t be afraid to block off chunks of time on your calendar for uninterrupted work. Work remotely if possible. Prepare agenda items and questions ahead of time for meetings so you can participate meaningfully. Ask for time to reflect when put on the spot for answers you really need to think over. I don’t think that success is more likely for extroverts. Introverts just need to rely on their strengths, just as extroverts do.

Have you noticed any specific ways that being an introvert affects mental health or overall well-being? Any tips for introverts to maintain good mental health?

Too much social interaction definitely affects my mental health. I feel depleted, exhausted, and unable to function at my normal level. Plan for regular alone time. Learn what helps you recharge and participate in that activity. Set kind, but firm boundaries. Build a support system of close friends or family who can help you along the way.

In your opinion, are societal views on introversion changing? If so, how do you think this impacts introverts positively or negatively? Can you please explain what you mean?

I think there has been some cultural shift happening in workplaces, but it is barely scratching the surface. I still hear too many stories of people punished for not wanting to participate in after-work socialization or other social activities. There is also still this culture of “mandatory fun” where coworkers are required to participate in activities that introverts would never, ever participate in. Not understanding that not all employees want to participate in these kinds of activities doesn’t foster a great company culture. It alienates and creates feelings of resentment from employees who don’t want to participate, introvert or not. Forcing introverts into extroverted situations doesn’t make them feel more connected. Instead, the impact is incredibly negative. Companies have lost great talent by trying to force socialization.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“It’s not up to you to help other people fit you into a box.” — The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I don’t think I’ve ever fit inside any box that I’ve been presented with. I loved this quote by Yoon because it gives us permission not to fit. It gives us permission not to even try.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would change all work to be task-oriented instead of time-oriented. Let people work where and when they want to. Set goals for achievements and tasks rather than office hours. The world isn’t just made up of introverts and extr overts. There are also morning people and night owls. There are many types of learning styles. People are more productive or creative at different times of day and in different environments. Let each person structure their own work to match their needs. I guarantee employees would be happier and more productive.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thriving As An Introvert: Lindsey Chastain On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.