According to the Social Anxiety Institute:
Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance.
I am absolutely familiar with this feeling. Although I can be charming, outgoing, and gregarious in group situations, I constantly have this feeling of being negatively judged. Although it surprises some people, I am an introvert. Spending time with people makes me uncomfortable and tired. To recharge my batteries, I need to be alone. I can “bend” my introversion when I need to be on stage or give a presentation, but it is always hard work.
Next week is Dreamforce and there are events being thrown all about town. One example is the MoMa party being thrown by the best event person I have ever known, Sandra. (Those who know her, know this is true) I could go to the party, but all I can think about is how tiring it would be. I know I would meet up with colleagues and friends and probably have a good time. I also know the artwork at the MoMa is terrific. However, on the other hand is my social anxiety whispering negative thoughts into my inner ear.
Sometimes, the good guy wins this internal battle and sometimes the bad guy wins. You might be asking, “Glen, who gives a shit? Why aren’t you blogging about Design Tools and UI Patterns?”
I guess the reason is that I want to give an example to the people who have social anxiety issues that you can still prosper and still advocate for yourself. I want to bond with my tribe, wherever they are. I often call them Misfit Toys.
If you want to be a great designer, you have to understand yourself and others. If you are a misfit toy, there is always room on my island and I would be happy to help.