Welcome to the fifth of an ongoing interview series where we’ll be meeting other introverts in business who have found their own unique version of success.
This week I want to introduce to you Christy Tennery-Spalding of Christy Tending Healing Arts. Christy recently reached out to me via email and I immediately fell in love with her calming website that puts self-care at the core of her business. I’ve really enjoyed reading through Christy’s answers to these interview questions and particularly love the way that she’s used her high sensitivity and intuition to help her when working with clients. Read on to find out more.
1) Can you give a brief intro to you and your business. What do you do day-to-day?
I’m Christy Tennery-Spalding of Christy Tending Healing Arts. I’m an activist, a yoga teacher, a Thai massage and reiki practitioner and a writer. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I work with caregivers and change-makers to develop self-care practices to support their amazing (but emotionally intense) work.
I work with individuals, duos and small groups in person, offer Skype classes and develop e-books and other digital products. My people travel a lot, so its important to me that people can access self-care and healing wherever they are.
My day-to-day is never one thing. I work with clients one-and-one and in pairs; I create digital products and run my site, so my work is something different all the time. I’m also an activist, so I’m involved in environmental and climate justice projects.
I start my mornings with yoga and meditation practice for myself and have at least an hour or two of writing time in each day. Because I work at a pretty steady pace, it’s possible for me to work a little every day without feeling burned out.
2) When did you know for sure you were an introvert and what does that really mean to you?
I’ve been an introvert since birth. My mom tells the story of my first year — I didn’t cry or talk or really do much of anything — I simply sat there smiling and soaking it all in. I would just watch everything. When I was a kid, this made it really tough for me to make friends and I felt a lot of pain from that. By the time I’d graduated from college, though, I had really embraced being a keen observer, a highly sensitive person and an intuitive as a part of who I am. I saw the way that it benefitted me
Being an introvert, for me, means that I need time to integrate. I can only accept so much input before I need time to myself. It’s about needing space, on an energetic level, to either incorporate or discard what I’ve picked up. When I’ve had alone time and enough rest, I feel generative and fresh.
3) How has being introverted helped you in your business?
My introversion has been the biggest asset to my becoming a healer. My highly-sensitive nature allows me to see and experience nuance that others miss. This gives me a huge edge when teaching yoga or giving reiki, because that intuition is second nature now.
It also makes working on my business a delight. My business is just me, and I find a lot of joy in immersing myself in my work. Having the time to think
4) What challenges do you face when running a business as an introvert and how do you manage them?
While I’m not a shy person, self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me. Making myself vulnerable in writing can feel daunting and traditional marketing makes me feel slimy. I could probably grow faster if I were willing to do that, but I enjoy cultivating my business a bit more thoughtfully.
5) How do you care for yourself and maintain your energy levels?
Honoring my introversion and communicating the need for time to myself has been key. I try not to waste it with false introversion, like being on social media or on my phone. I try to truly unplug and allow myself space and silence and stillness.
For years, I’ve been doing for myself what I teach my clients — practicing self-care in a way that honors my unique need, following my intuition and making it feasible for myself. Caring for myself doesn’t require anything fancy, but it does mean daily practice
6) What is your favourite form of self-expression?
Photography and writing poetry are two of my favorites. Blogging also feels interesting and exciting for me in terms of talking about ideas that have been simmering for a while.
My yoga practice also feels like a form of self-expression. Every day, my body is a little bit different, so I never step onto the mat with a plan. It’s inspiring to see where my intuition takes my movement.
7) What advice would you give someone who is worried that their introversion will hold them back?
Discern the difference between fear and introversion. I thought for years that public speaking was a weakness for me because I was an introvert. It turns out that what I felt was actually fear, and that once I got over that, I quite enjoy public speaking.
Allow your introversion to be a strength. People can get obsessed with the numbers and feel that they’re not making an impact because they don’t have or want a giant follower base. I am working to reframe excellence and accomplishment for myself. It doesn’t have to be big and showy.
Intimacy is its own form of mastery.
To find out more about Christy and connect with her, head here.