Name Thank you for having me on your Bold Introvert series Natalie! My name is Drew and I go by the moniker FI (Financially Independent) Introvert on social media and on my blog.
Random question: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why? I would be the silver crayon. Thinking back to my childhood, the silver crayon was my favorite. The silver crayon wasn’t just a color but it looked like silver. When I used it, little flecks of silver would drop from the crayon. It was as if these flecks were actually silver shavings from coins or other treasures. It also was very smooth on the paper like how I would imagine a silver bar. No other crayon acted and felt like its name.
Are you a bold introvert? Have you always been one? Yes! I am a selectively and strategically bold introvert. I have not always been one. My development into a bold introvert has been evolutionary but certainly there have been defining moments.
First, I would say a defining moment was when an auto mechanic looked me squarely in the eye and said “you’re broke.”He was helping me get my car back on the road after an engine failure. Through several conversations over a few days, he began to understand the dire financial situation I was in that reflected a directionless life.
Having a stranger bluntly and succinctly articulate my situation stunned me into ever increasing boldness in my career. I started to say what I wanted and go after opportunities that would enhance my financial situation. During my most recent interview for my current job, I proudly discussed my introversion and why it made me a great candidate for a managerial and relationship based position.
A second defining moment was a solo ski trip out to the wide open spaces of New Mexico.It was here that I fell in love with skiing again and managed risk taking.
During an unexpected spring snow, I found I needed help in the mountains. My car that I rented had no four wheel drive as I thought it did. I was staying in a small condo at 10,000 feet near the peak of the mountain! I was terrified as I skidded up the mountain and trucks came in the opposite direction. Sensing I was in danger, I walked to seek help from veterans of the area.
It was here I realized two things: I didn’t want to be alone anymore in beautiful places like this and to put myself in risky situations to feel the alive and excited, I was going to need other people’s expertise and guidance to stay safe.
During that week in New Mexico, I dropped my characterization of what successful socializing meant (hanging out in bars apre ski). I redefined it as making meaningful connections during the day with ski instructors, other skiers, and knowledgeable people in the community. I took this new definition of social success home with me.
Lastly, and not to be cliche, but reading Susan Cain’s Quietwas a defining moment. It was the first time I understood who I was and why my energy flowed the way it did. My anxiety over social situations had nothing to do with something being wrong with me.
Rather it was an anticipation of the energy depletion. If I could manage my energy, that would reduce (and did reduce) anxiety. This understanding helped me romantically, socially, and professionally.
What do you do? My day job is at a cancer advocacy organization. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to advocate for research dollars and manage support programs.
Additionally, I write a blog at www.fiintrovert.com. The purpose of the blog is to show introverts the possibilities that open up to them with financial independence. The pursuit of financial independence puts a time limit on how long an introvert has to attend mundane corporate meetings. The introvert feels purpose in his or her job because it is a means to an end. That end is a life where the introverts’ time, thoughts, and pursuits are their own. They can dive deep or skim shallow in interests without worrying about financial outcome. Any fear of failure or committment dissipates when compulsory work is no longer necessary.
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of turning my life around after being over $75,000 in debt, having no car, no social life, and generally being a pretty self-involved person.
I look back on that person and cannot believe some of my friends stuck with me. While I am far from my ideal and always working to improve, I am proud of the person I am today and the depths from which I emerged.
Do you feel that your personality trait has helped you achieve your goals? Yes. Being an introvert helped me meet and attract a substantive person to spend the rest of my life with. It helped me find the financial independence movement. And it helped me to find a job that provided meaning and purpose.
What advice do you have for introverts that are worried about chasing their dreams? My advice is to pursue financial independence. From a position of financial strength, pursuit of your dreams is much less daunting.
For example, when I was $75,000 in debt I was tied to the most lucrative job that I could possibly find. I had to be there or find another job that paid more. However, once I paid off my debt and got three months of living expenses under me, I was able to quit that job and take a meaningful role at a cancer advocacy organization and lobby for research in Washington, DC, fulfilling a dream I’d beek working toward. I was able to take a pay cut to work in the role I wanted because my finances were in order.
When your financial house is in order (or on that path) you can be bolder, take more risks, and have more fun doing so!