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  • [SWP: Behind the Book] How An Introvert Became an Expert
This blog was featured on 08/08/2017
[SWP: Behind the Book] How An Introvert Became an Expert
Written by
Rita Sever
August 2017
Written by
Rita Sever
August 2017

I am sometimes amazed when I find myself speaking at a conference or preparing a national webinar.  In response to that amazement, I pause for a moment to consider how I got there. This blog is a response to that consideration. 

I am not vivacious or charismatic.  I do not generally demand attention in a crowded room.  Although I can hold my own now, for years, I sucked at small talk.  I am quiet.  I am thoughtful. I am an introvert.  For most of my life, I felt my quiet presence in the world as a flaw.

Going to school, even graduate school when I was all-grown-up, I struggled to participate in class discussions.  I would listen, listen, and listen some more.  Sometimes I would have an idea about something to contribute to the conversation.  As I took time to follow the idea and figure out what I wanted to say, the discussion moved on to another topic and then another, and when I knew what I wanted to say, it was too late.  Again, this struck me as a debilitating flaw.  And the system agreed with me.  Every semester I would get dinged points for not “participating.” 

When I became a Human Resources Director, I worked with staff and managers and vendors and executives.    I listened and listened and listened.  I thought carefully about people and policies and the mission of our organization.  Finally, I had an epiphany! The very qualities that I considered to be flaws were what made me a good HR Director.  I listened deeply, I thought carefully, I didn’t react quickly (unless necessary) and I built meaningful relationships with everyone. 


When I started my own business over 11 years ago, I continued to work with the strengths of my introversion. One of the ways that I continued to think deeply about my work was by writing. An introvert thinks before they speak.  Writing gives me a way to hear my own thinking.  I have written journals all my life to better understand myself and my thinking. Writing gives me a way to think and speak clearly in the world.

I set a goal to write a newsletter every month.  Every month, I sat at my laptop and considered the ways that supervision impacts work and life.  I told stories about life and people and applied the lessons to supervision.  My newsletter subscription list grew and so did my business.   I developed trainings and I did coaching and consulting.

This practice of writing gave me the time and place to identify my philosophy, my models, my guidance, and my teachings.  Writing my newsletters helped me uncover the deep truths that I knew. In doing so, I claimed my knowledge and became an expert.  Writing made me an expert.   

When I transformed my newsletters into a book, it solidified my expertise and my reputation.  When I put it all together, it was clear that I knew about every aspect of supervision and could teach someone to become a good supervisor. The book became a direct way that people could talk about my work and refer me to others.  Now, when I do trainings, speaking, coaching and consulting, my book underlines that I know what I am talking about. 

Writing was the path to accessing my wisdom.  Writing was the path to publishing a book, long before I knew that is what I was doing. Writing was the path to my expertise.   Writing didn’t give me a voice, but it gave me a way to hear my own voice and then amplify it.  I can hear it more clearly now and so can others. 

I am still an introvert and I am an expert.  When I look out at a roomful of 100+ people before I speak, and I wonder how I got there, I now know that a big part of the answer to that question is by writing. 


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