Thriving As An Introvert: Skylar Liberty Rose On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society…

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

Boundaries — Boundaries are beautiful! Over-extending ourselves leads to misery, and ultimately burnout. It can be challenging if we have family, friends, or colleagues with different personality types who might not understand our need to recharge in a specific way. Setting, and enforcing, boundaries around our time and energy is crucial if we want to enjoy optimum health.

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 Skylar Liberty Rose.

Skylar Liberty Rose is a writer, coach, and pro-aging advocate who helps introvert women embrace midlife. Through her flagship program Visible and her membership club You to Bloom, Skylar helps women develop the courage and confidence to flourish in their forties and far beyond. Her work has been featured by numerous publications and her 2020 documentary diary, A Woman in the World, is showcased in the U.S. National Women’s History Museum.

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 your “Origin Story”? Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in South East London, England with my parents and my sister who is six years older than me. I was a fairly quiet child and I spent a lot of time inside my head, daydreaming as I stared out of windows. But despite my outward shyness, the world within my imagination felt rich and vibrant. I was content spending time alone and I loved nothing more than to read books that whisked me away to other places. Words were magical to me. I was in awe of the power of storytelling and it’s a love affair that has never ended.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m a writer and a coach and I help introvert women embrace midlife. I left London when I turned 40 and I moved to NYC to be with my husband. I was determined not to end up in yet another job that felt as though it was sucking the soul from me. I was already becoming known as a successful women’s empowerment blogger and I poured my energy into building a business around that. Initially, I was helping women find their courage through creativity but after a few years I found myself experiencing a creative slump. I was also feeling a deep sense of unease about visibly aging and how rapidly my body seemed to be changing. I had a strong sense that I needed to reimagine my business, but I wasn’t quite sure how. Influencer culture was dominating social media and I felt disillusioned with the online world. I decided to step away from the noise of the internet and I took six months away from my social channels. I wanted to get quiet so I could get clarity.

During that time, the one message that came though clearly was “tell the truth”. So I decided to do exactly that. In 2020, I started an Instagram account where I shared the truth about my life as a woman in her forties experiencing perimenopause and all the uncertainties of aging. Every day I’d post a photo and a caption to document my day. I didn’t have a specific end goal and I had a tiny audience, but I trusted the process.

My diary ended up being selected for inclusion in “Women Writing History” a project by the U.S. National Women’s History Museum. It also ended up being a turning point in my business. Once I’d completed the year-long project I decided to focus my work on helping support other women through midlife. It’s been an incredibly rich experience and I’m grateful to have an opportunity to do this work, and be at the forefront of a pro-aging movement that is gaining traction by the day.

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?

For me, being an introvert is more than just enjoying alone time, or feeling shy or overwhelmed in social situations. It’s an intrinsic way of being. Introverts gain energy and inspiration from internal reflections rather than external stimulation. Being an introvert isn’t something you can change about yourself (although I definitely used to try!) but it is something you can gain a greater understanding of so that you’re more easily able to identify and meet your needs.

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

One of the biggest challenges is the modern day expectation to be “on” all the time. Between in-person events and maintaining a consistent social media presence, we’re rarely unplugged. Many introverts find excessive social interactions draining and we can really feel the pressure of trying to navigate an extroverted world that values constant outward expression. We can also feel misunderstood when we’re labeled as shy or aloof when we’re really just taking time to process our thoughts internally.

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

Absolutely. We’re typically very creative and we possess a rich inner world. Our imaginations are playgrounds! We’re also known for our empathy and ability to listen attentively and offer thoughtful insights. We value meaningful connections over superficial interactions and even though we may only have a small circle, we cherish our close friends.

Introspection and self-reflection come naturally to us which means we usually have strong self-awareness. We’re natural observers which gives us an amazing vantage point to notice subtleties that others might overlook. Small talk might make us feel awkward but we can go deep with ease so we’re great people to have interesting conversations with.

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

It’s a huge myth that introverts are anti-social. Many of us thrive on connecting with others. I certainly do! It’s more about making sure that the conditions work in our favor. For example, we’re more likely to accept an invitation to an intimate gathering where we can enjoy one-on-one conversations rather than be squashed up in a noisy, crowded bar. It’s also untrue that we’re shy. Although we might not be the biggest personality in any given space, we have a ton of cool qualities and we’re often very connected to our purpose. Don’t overlook us just because we might not fit the societal ideals we’ve all been conditioned to revere.

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?

Meryl Streep immediately comes to mind. I believe that her ability to bring such incredible depth to every role she’s ever been in is a wonderful example of how we can shine as introverts. I used to believe that in order to be successful I had to adopt an extrovert persona. While that can be helpful for certain situations, such as a speaking event, it’s not sustainable to constantly portray an energy that isn’t truly aligned with who we are at our core. Seeing other introverts claim success for themselves by honoring their personality type rather than trying to hide it really gave me the confidence to own my introversion and celebrate myself. I mean, if Meryl Streep can do it…

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. Boundaries — Boundaries are beautiful! Over-extending ourselves leads to misery, and ultimately burnout. It can be challenging if we have family, friends, or colleagues with different personality types who might not understand our need to recharge in a specific way. Setting, and enforcing, boundaries around our time and energy is crucial if we want to enjoy optimum health.
  2. A creative outlet — Although we don’t love distracting environments, many introverts are highly creative people and we thrive on the mental stimulation and therapeutic release that creativity provides. Because we can be over-thinkers, allowing ourselves to indulge in a creative pastime offers us the benefit of processing some of what we’re feeling without the intensity of putting ourselves under a microscope. This can be really beneficial for our mental health.
  3. Community — Much as introverts love spending time alone, we can find ourselves feeling isolated if we’re not regularly connecting with others. Joining a club or community is a wonderful way to create a sense of belonging and fulfillment, especially if we’re among other introverts who understand our way of navigating the world. We get to replenish our reserves rather than feel depleted and that sets us up for success.
  4. Time in nature — Although we can all find value from time in nature, introverts especially benefit from the balance of solitude and connection that nature provides. We’re able to nurture our inner world whilst also appreciating the beauty of the outer one. Being in nature offers us an opportunity to be in a rejuvenating environment without excess stimulation. We’re able to witness the interconnectedness of other living things which helps us to feel part of the bigger picture without overwhelm. Nature also acts as a grounding anchor which is perfect in our super fast paced modern world.
  5. A dedicated space of sanctuary — It doesn’t have to be a cabin in the woods but introverts need at least a corner of the home where we have privacy and peace. (For anyone who says that this is an impossibility for them, I invite you to re-visit #1 and consider where you can establish boundaries.) Have fun getting creative designing an area within your living space where you can refuel. A simple cozy reading nook can become a safe haven to recharge your mental and emotional batteries.

Ultimately, we need to invest in what helps us thrive so we can be successful on our own terms, and create a culture where we redefine what success really looks like.

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?

First and foremost by giving ourselves permission to go against the grain. The idea that there’s only one “right” way to show up in social spaces is incredibly narrow minded. Skip the small talk if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Instead, think of the conversations that you find most nourishing and be creative with ways to introduce the topics that fuel you. You’ll be surprised at how people respond. Also, give yourself plenty of grace. Sometimes simply showing up to events can be draining. Acknowledge that your energy pool might look different to other people’s and permit yourself plenty of time to replenish it afterwards,

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

Play to your strengths. Instead of trying to emulate extrovert behaviors, focus on the unique gifts that you bring to the table. Technology has completely changed how we work and has opened up new opportunities for those of us who favor a different style of communication. Rather than get stuck in a cycle of comparing yourself to others, build up a skill set that highlights the areas you’re most talented in. This allows you to contribute in a way that feels aligned for you, as well as of value to those you work with.

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?

As introverts, we’re wired to try and figure things out for ourselves. But sometimes our independence can create or increase a sense of isolation if we feel as though we have nobody else to talk things through or problem-solve with. Therapy can be a great support for our mental-health. I’m also a big fan of journaling and creative writing as an effective way of reducing stress and anxiety. The very act of writing our thoughts and feelings down can create a flow state, making it easier for us to process what’s happening internally. Journaling also gives us greater insight into any repetitive behavior patterns that might be cropping up.

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?

Yes! I believe we’re at a stage where we’re collectively questioning many of the societal norms we’ve become accustomed to. We’re thinking more expansively. Technology has played a big part in the information we have access to, and how we communicate with one another. The idea that there’s a rigid set of rules for all of us to comply with seems antiquated. We’re recognizing how diverse we are as humans and we’re being creative with how we structure the world around us to support our individual needs and our evolving societies. I’m futuristic and I believe in moving forward with hope and purpose. Despite the very real challenges we face as a planet, we’re living in a time of great possibility.

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

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

I was married, and divorced, in my early twenties. I was also in debt, constantly ill, run down, and feeling utterly disenchanted with the world. Up until that point, I’d followed all the rules yet somehow I’d still ended up in a place where I felt miserable and I couldn’t see a way forward. It took another decade before I found the courage to truly start all over again. After being hospitalized with severe pancreatitis, I promised myself that if I made it through I was going to live, not just exist. I sold almost all my belongings, I paid off my debt and I went traveling on my own. I even changed my name by deed poll. I started living a life that felt right for me, not simply checking a series of never ending boxes in an effort to please everyone else. I wasn’t trying to find myself, I was trying to remember myself. It was messy and imperfect and deeply rewarding. I have never claimed to be fearless but I know I’m courageous. This quote helps me remember how far I’ve come, and it gives me the courage to continue, as well as start over again at any time.

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’d love to see a movement that bridges the gap between the younger and older generations and offers an exchange of ideas and knowledge that we can all benefit from. Older people have tons of wisdom and experience while our younger counterparts can offer fresh perspectives and innovative solutions. I believe we can create a culture of shared understanding and mutual growth if we’re open to breaking down stereotypes on both sides.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Via my website: and Instagram where I’m most active:

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

Thank you! And likewise 😊

Thriving As An Introvert: Skylar Liberty Rose 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.