Thriving As An Introvert: Tanya LaRae Marsh of Holistic Skin Care Therapy On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts
Break free from those who don’t fully support your beautifully introverted self, if they are pointing negativity towards you in any form, thriving may become a challenge. Finding circles of support where people encourage you to tap into your introversion or sensitivities allows you to find your place as a thriving human as you lean into your sense of self more.
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 Tanya LaRae Marsh.
Tanya LaRae Marsh is the introverted creatrix behind Where The Metals Meet and proprietress of Holistic Skin Care Therapy as an oncology-trained licensed esthetician. She balances time between family and garden along with the two businesses that drive her forward striving to change the way business is done. Supporting thriving wages and diversity in creative spaces along with organic lifestyle and nourishing skin care products, she works to challenge traditional models of ‘progress’. Here, she shares how introversion shaped her foundations and how she found ways to thrive through the layers of disfunction life had laid out. www.WhereTheMetalsMeet.com & www.HolisticSkinCareTherapy.com
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 Alaska, where everything connects to Nature. It was truly the foundation to find my strengths. Being around people was challenging unless I was with that small handful who didn’t criticize my ‘sensitivities’. So many others would say I was too soft, needed a backbone or that I really needed to toughen up if I was going to make it in this world. Time in natural spaces was always nurturing and restorative after those interactions.
I discovered early on that it’s often people closest to us who could impact our thoughts the deepest; One Grandmother taught me all she knew of successful homesteading with seemingly endless amounts of knowledge and patience, empowering me with new skills. My other Grandmother taught me that children were to be seen, not heard, and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Yet if you asked her what was for dinner, her sarcastic response was ‘ground glass and goldfish, now go play in the freeway’. Luckily there were no freeways in Fairbanks in the 70’s!
College was the start of finding my sense of self, and a tiny glimmer of confidence into a potential future vision of who I could become, but I had to leave home to find it. I left Alaska at 21 and headed to California, still painfully shy, very naive and far too trusting. I set out looking to find who I would be…no other plan, except to experience life in a much warmer climate.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?
I run two separate ventures, one started in 2018 which has turned into Holistic Skin care Therapy and the other, Where The Metals Meet was formed in 2021.
Skin care stems from my curiosity in high school around ‘organic’ vs ‘conventional’ and where our foods really come from. Recognizing that my acne worsened depending on personal hygiene practices and what I ate or drank, fueled a greater curiosity for nutrition, health and ‘alternative’ medicine. To learn more, I worked for many decades as office manager for Naturopathic Doctors. Now I know that shifting our skin care products and food can significantly impact not just skin health but also the health of the planet.
My comfort in shop spaces stems from time ‘assisting’ my Dad as official flashlight holder and tool getter while he worked on cars. Metalwork, or more specifically welding and steel art, have been with me since college art classes and it’s a direction that I have built on since. Initially I had a shop space in 2000 until pregnancy in 2004 put things on hold for almost 20 years.
I do want to share that these two ventures happened because my husband, a fellow introvert, my mother, and my son all really understand and fully support me which truly makes all the difference. They have allowed me opportunity to rest and heal after a celiac and microscopic colitis diagnosis in 2016, and they encouraged me to find and connect with my true strengths and passions, which both businesses are built around.
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?
Introversion I feel encompasses not just shy, but deeply thoughtful, often very sensitive and for many, empathic personalities.
Can you help articulate a few of the challenges that come with being an introvert?
For me, introversion comes with a deep well of feelings and emotions; always feeling a huge level of empathy and so many doubts of self, which come from prior insecurities.
It took years to know that much of the pain I experienced emotionally was not my own, but those of others I interacted with; I didn’t know this was empathy. I also had no idea that there were levels of empathy until I read Judith Orloffs book; ‘Empath’s Survival Guide’…this helped me understand, and everything started to make more sense as to why I was always so sensitive, impacted and emotional. I think it’s true for many introverts. This helped dissolve many of the doubts gnawing at the back of my head as it resolved the ‘source’ of that sensitivity insecurity.
Finding places to fit in or be comfortable is challenging; perhaps it’s the empathy that comes with my introversion. Being in public, whether a restaurant, grocery store, or concert, a single outing can be absolutely draining and exhausting. The energy from others can heavily impact my own emotions, especially if I don’t protect my energetic self before I leave home. (Shared in tip #5 below)
I’m sure that being an introvert also gives you certain advantages. Can you tell us a few advantages that introverts have?
Compassion, patience, and even empathy…these are our superpowers, they are gifts the world truly needs now. Contradictory, yes, but I do see empathy is as much of a challenge as an advantage!
Introversion probably provided most of us with other skill sets that are incredibly valuable to our society. Finding the special gifts that perhaps you saw as weaknesses but are actually your strengths waiting to be discovered is crucial. Sensitivity can lead to empathy and compassion, compassion can lead to powerful actions that may create some positive changes…what perspective change might expose your introverted superpowers?
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being an introvert? Can you explain what you mean?
I have been called rude, standoffish and arrogant; these are some of the labels I have gotten perhaps because I don’t openly share. Just because we aren’t speaking loudly about what we feel, does not mean that we are arrogant, or rude. It probably means that we are making sure we can protect ourselves from any harmful interactions.
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?
Patty Love leads a group called Maven Makers, (through Earth Activist Training https://earthactivisttraining.org. Patty provides seasoned support to women who want to run their own sustainable businesses. I gain so much from both her 1:1 and group meetings, and it’s often her guided meditations that resonate so completely, helping propel me forward in confidence. However, it was one particularly powerful and impactful suggestion she had that I would love to share: I told her how my anxiety level can bring nausea when I go to hit that send button on emails to new connections…she said (paraphrased) to visualize a light breeze, lovingly guiding my message to its delighted recipient as I gently release it into the shimmering waters of the universe….perhaps it’s merely the power of suggestion, but this suggestion resonated greatly and I haven’t had that particular anxiety since!!! You can find Patty at; https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattylove/
Rochana Felde is my website designer and the creative mastermind behind the beautifully built site for www.HolisticSkinCareTherapy.com, and a fellow introvert running two amazing businesses; she’s also a Flower Essence Practitioner-which I have always found Flower Essences to be incredibly supportive. Ro really inspired my confidence, by trusting that I could do two things at once, sometimes even more, especially when it is through a virtual platform! You can connect to her at https://wiseflowermedia.com or What’s App 707–536–8706
Suzanne Yada, has greatly helped me with my marketing approach, she runs a marketing consulting business and teaches music while offering ‘Concerts for Introverts’, which I find to be super enjoyable!!! She inspires others while having fun successfully running two completely separate virtual ventures made to benefit introverts. Suzanne is reachable at https://www.yadacreative.com.
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”?
These are my favorites, in no particular order, so please prioritize them as needed for your own personal growth…
1 . Practice Gratitude-finding ways to be grateful for the smallest of things can hugely impact daily life and our ability to thrive. We can have moments of anger, sadness or frustration, but including gratitude throughout the day has the potential to greatly contribute to your feeling of well-being. For example, finding gratitude for the Flowers and Birds, for whatever form of shelter you have, for the circle of support that you have or perhaps for the circle of support that you are slowly and patiently calling together, versus anger over the lack of something. (Embracing a pronoia mindset may help! Imagine that the Universe is conspiring to support you in everything that you do….how does that make your heart feel?)
2 . Connect to Nature. We are creatures of the Stars and of this Earth, so taking time to be with or in Nature can be incredibly restorative and nurturing…it’s truly our connection to Life. Even if it’s the tiniest of houseplants, start spending time watching, watering, waiting, for all of it can teach many lessons in patience, abundance and so many other insights on how to navigate challenges of life.
3 . Break free from those who don’t fully support your beautifully introverted self, if they are pointing negativity towards you in any form, thriving may become a challenge. Finding circles of support where people encourage you to tap into your introversion or sensitivities allows you to find your place as a thriving human as you lean into your sense of self more. Some family members had placed seeds of doubt in my own mind because they questioned my decisions. Once they were not in my circle of influence, those doubts left my head, which allowed me to move forward with greater ease.
4 . Trust your instincts. This can be a tough one, but when we learn to trust our instincts, some pretty incredible things can happen! We are all born with them, it’s how we have survived this long as a race, but situations over life can contribute to doubt or avoidance which can lead to a loss of this critical ability. Recognizing those moments when your instinct was right can help work that ‘muscle’ to build your intuitive strength. Those instincts can help recognize red flags in people or situations which can become detrimental to our well-being and help guide you to the directions your soul was meant to go. In a past relationship, my partner continued to lie to me while my ‘guts’ always told me otherwise, but my partner would manage to convince me, which led me to lose almost complete touch with those trusted instincts. It took many years to rebuild that trust in my own ability, something that years before, I could trust without fail.
5 . Bubble Up!-protect your energy from being sucked out by others and protect yourself from the unknown bombardment of others energy. Imagine a bubble you can step in to, lighter than air, stronger than steel, it looks like liquid mercury covered with glistening, shimmering, sparkling rainbow of colors…when you surround yourself with it, your energy stays within the bubble while others energy bounces off the surface, not impacting you…when I envision this protective bubble around me at the start of my day, before getting out of bed, checking out social media or leaving the house, things flow with greater ease and I don’t get thrown by the unseen energetic forces that can absolutely derail my focus.
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?
Find people, organizations, businesses and events, that resonate with you! Forcing yourself to try to ‘fit in’ to the areas of an ‘extroverts forte’ can often backfire, leaving you feeling more defeated than before the anxiety buildup that led up to the actual event.
Extroverts follow tried and true methods of connecting, while it seems introverts will benefit by trusting their inner voice, instincts, or gut, (whichever way speaks best). For example, I won’t really help myself trying to network at big social events, as it takes exponential, seemingly Herculean amounts of energy just to get through the front door. To then be ‘comfortable’ enough to approach strangers and hold an engaging conversation, doesn’t work well for me. It works much better for me to connect to others through virtual networking groups.
Introverts and extroverts can absolutely live happily and love passionately together, but what qualities and who embodies them needs to feel right for you. Do they encourage you? Do they support you emotionally? Do they celebrate your wins, and listen with patience, warmth and compassion to your heartbreaks? Those are the people you want to seek out, for surrounding yourself with those who get you… they are the ones who will truly help you thrive.
What are some practical tips you can offer to introverts who want to succeed in the workplace, which is often geared towards extroverted behaviors?
Ideally, we are all able to find work in places that have some sort of relatability for us to participate in daily, nourishing us at some basic level…I know that’s not always the reality and sometimes we can really feel stuck in some super crappy jobs.
When I was in a space where some tasks were more challenging than others, I shared with my employer during a performance review, the tasks that I felt I excelled at. That gave them the opportunity to shift the work slightly, I was then able to do the jobs that didn’t leave me feeling totally drained or that fueled insecurities or discomfort. My level of ‘productivity’ went up, as did my enjoyment for the work I did and I usually went home feeling better about my self and my days. The same was felt by my co-worker who also shared and from there we were able to better distribute the work load to areas we both felt more productive, and more importantly, we felt more comfortable.
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?
I firmly believe that trusting in your own self (instincts/intuition/gut feelings) and connecting to Nature are key, for if we aren’t doing these two basic things for our spirit, thriving will not happen. So I want to refer back to that original question of 5 suggestions to thrive shared above…
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?
It feels like there might be more understanding and acceptance around introversion, perhaps paired with more of a collective societal learning that traumas shape a personality, sometimes even before birth. With those traumas, come various levels of capacity to function and process daily events which can lead to introversion.
When we can see that each of us has some level of trauma in our history, we can find a common thread that binds us together in our grief and hopefully we can grow from that. This deep trauma is not just from relationships in this lifetime, but is carried forward from generation to generation. If people can also connect to their own humanity and find their love for others, we can start to heal as society and not be so hurtful to each other.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There are two: ’You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.’ From this I was slowly able to trust that who I am is not for everyone but I do have unique gifts, insights and skills to offer many of those others!
‘Mellow out’ or ‘Lighten up’~wise words from my Dad…I run on the tense side, these words pop into my head often reminding me to relax and enjoy the journey…isn’t that what this life is all about?
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. 🙂
Dig deep to find the compassion we all have for others; people, plants and planet, because Love and Kindness will change the world for the better.
Both of my businesses are working towards bigger goals;
~The metal shop growth will allow an open and diverse, creative space for interns and apprentices to earn a thriving wage while learning metal working skills for their own future adventures.
~The skin care business is to highlight the impact that our beauty products have on Mother Earth. By shifting the quality of ingredients we use, we can dramatically improve the health of ourselves and our planet.
~8% of profits go to various Indigenous Organizations for Land Back and Land Tax efforts or what Sogorea Te’ Land Trust calls ‘Shuumi’ which means Gift in Chochenyo to contribute to acknowledging the history of genocide on this land and support its healing.
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!
Thank you, I am so grateful to have had a chance to share with you! I wish you, your family, and our fellow introverts continued opportunities to thrive!!!
Thriving As An Introvert: Tanya LaRae Marsh of Holistic Skin Care Therapy On How Introverts Can… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.