Ruth Poundwhite is a coach and mentor to quietly ambitious business owners. When she started her business in 2008, as a huge introvert Ruth had no idea she could do it without being “loud” and trying to do "all the things". Now she uses the powers of intuition and self-exploration to help her and her clients own their big goals and find ways to market, sell and show up online on their terms.
Learn more and grab her freebie.
Creatively Human Podcast: https://ruthpoundwhite.com/podcast/
Free Guide to Visibility for Shy or Introverted Humans: https://ruthpound.lpages.co/free-introvert-ebook/
Welcome to the anxiety proof her Podcast, where amazing women come for education, inspiration and hope around healing from anxiety. Each month, you're going to hear from other women who took control of their mental health by using outside the box holistic strategies to cope with their anxiety and to ultimately thrive. You will also learn from experts in the health and wellness industry, about the tools they use every day to help their patients reclaim their well being. We hope this information allows you to see that there are many different paths to healing. I'm your host, Jennifer Bronsnick. And I'm a licensed clinical social worker, and anxiety treatment professional. I help women and teen girls who struggle with anxiety, self doubt, and perfectionism to tap into their innate resilience, get to the root of their fears, and implement custom healing strategies so that they can experience peace of mind, more self confidence and be liberated from the suffering that living with anxiety causes. I have lived with anxiety my whole life, and know how hard it can be. I also know that there is hope. And it's 100% treatable with the right information and support. Thank you so much for showing up for yourself and taking the first step to reclaiming your well being and resilience.
Welcome to the anxiety provoking podcast, we always always start centering ourselves, and setting that intention that whatever comes up during this episode is exactly what you needed to hear. But take a moment and just begin to focus on your heart for the area of your heart center. And begin to breathe a little slower and deeper. And breathing as if the breath is going in and out from your heart.
setting that intention
to just listen with art during this time. And if you notice that your mind starts wandering that you are noticing any sensations just come right back into that heart space. And maybe even setting the intention to send a little extra healing energy in case your heart is feeling a little sad or overwhelmed today. And just knowing that is perfectly fine. It's perfect to feel exactly how you're feeling. And again, just knowing that you will receive exactly what you need to receive during this time. Maybe you even want to have
next to you, in case a really fantastic download comes in that you don't want to forget. Because I think that it might have been for you today. So my guest today is my friend Ruth pound weight. She is a coach and a mentor to quietly ambitious business owners and I so resonate with that title. Because I think in the world of business, we're always sort of pushed, like get out there. And, you know, my introvert side, certainly, you know, speaks louder sometimes. So when Ruth started her business in 2008, as a huge introvert self described, she had no idea she could do it without being loud and trying to do all the things. Now she uses her powers of intuition and self exploration to help her and her clients to own their big goals. Find ways to market that's in alignment, sell and show up online on their own terms. So well. Thank you for being here.
Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, so
before we pressed record, we were talking a little bit about, you know, this idea of introversion and how social anxiety shows up with and this is not to say that every introvert is anxious. However, I think both in both of our experience says the introversion had there was some connection with having social anxiety. Would you mind sharing your experience with that?
Yeah, so I'm sure a lot of introverts listening will relate to just like growing up being very private. Just doing your own thing, you know, up in your bedroom, I used to spend a lot of time by myself happily, you know, writing or creating or doing whatever it is that you do when you're an introverted child. And, as a child, I was always described as shy. And, you know, all pretty much every introvert I ever speak to resonates with the experience of, you know, teachers at school parents evening, they always say to your parents, like, Oh, she's great, but she's a bit quiet, or she's too quiet. I mean, that was like, you know, classic. But, like you said, Not everyone who, who has that kind of personality trait is necessarily anxious. But for me, there was definitely the shyness, which I would say in my kind of, like, I don't know, like adolescent years, I think became more of a I mean, it definitely became more of a concrete kind of social anxiety. So from being a bit shy and a bit awkward, it became more avoiding, like, avoidance, protecting myself very more harshly judging myself, so I'd always been a little bit uncomfortable. And I guess as introverts I suppose, I don't know. But I suppose as introverts, it's potentially easier to cope with, with having that sense of that kind of anxiety, because you feel okay, spending time on your own. So you can avoid things. And it and it can also feel like, that's just my personality, you know, I don't necessarily want to go to the party, or ever because I'm an introvert. But for me, I know, it was, it was more than that. It was it was real anxiety, and it and I suppose you know, it's an issue when it affects kind of like, things that really you would have done, but you start avoiding changing, doing differently to the detriment of your kind of your regular life, I suppose.
Yeah. So when you were an adolescent did you begin to get awareness of Okay, this is moving from a realm of, you know, a personality like trait where, you know, everybody has different levels of outgoingness, and shyness and quietness, into more of like, Oh, this is something that I might want to look at.
I didn't have the level of awareness that I wish I did. Because I didn't even really think of it as like these personality traits, I kind of thought, Oh, I'm just not good with people. But what I did become aware of was like, it was more, it was more anxiety. So I'm guessing when you're shy, there's some sort of anxiety there because you feel awkward. But it was more than that. It was real, anxious feelings in the body, like blushing, sweating, physical manifestations, that felt very uncomfortable. And then it's like, anyone who experiences that those kind of physical manifestations of social anxiety will know it's like a vicious cycle, because then you get embarrassed, in case anyone notices that you have those symptoms, and it gets and because you're like in your head worrying about being embarrassed, those symptoms will come up even more. And it's and I found that very strong. I think it was like, you know, normal life stuff as an adolescent, you know, boyfriends, relationships, changes heartbreak, I think that stuff kind of triggered it in some way. I don't know exactly how but it definitely became way more full on for me, and I was suddenly like, oh, okay, there's something wrong with me. But again, I didn't really have the awareness or the understanding to like, think of it compassionately, or, you know, get support. Yeah, I knew that there's something wrong.
So at what point did that light bulb go off for you of like, because talking to you now, you know, it doesn't, you know, you're out in the world, you have a podcast, like you're, you have a thriving business. So something
You have a sense of what that thing was.
Well, firstly, I would say that I had a thriving business before this stuff shifted, but the only reason I was able to do that is because I managed to find a way to build a business without being that sociable. I was doing freelance copywriting when I first came out of uni. It was the late recession. I couldn't get a job and actually, the thought Going into job interviews and stuff very scary for the, you know, my social anxiety. But I ended up working online and I managed to do okay, despite the fact that I actually wasn't really helping myself. I didn't, I didn't really know what was going on or what I needed to do. But around the age of 25, if I read Susan Kane's book, quiet about introversion, and I, until the age of 25, until I read that book, I didn't even know I was an introvert. So I knew it. I knew I knew my personality, in some sense, but I didn't know it was like a normal thing. And like, loads of people are introverted. So that, I guess was the beginning of some level of self awareness and self understanding and compassion. Yeah, it wasn't a fix, but it was the beginning of it.
Yeah. I think for me also like books. Yeah, definitely, you know, bad as, you know, a quiet introverted child myself, like, I love getting into books and reading, so I just wanted to, you know, put that out there to our listeners is that like, sometimes just sitting down, like, like going through, like your Kindle or Audible, like sometimes, like books call out to you, because why did you pick quiet? You know, like, why do we pick any of the books? Like, I just feel like they're these like messengers, and then something in our body is like, yes. And then listening to that, like quiet? Yes. That it sounds like it led you on this path of like, self discovery and self awareness. But yeah, this more compassionate place.
Yeah, that's the thing. Yeah. because ever since I started my business, I think anyone who has a kind of online business or any kind of business will know that it's a bit of a personal development journey, as well as like learning all the business stuff, right? So I was in, I was getting into that world of personal development and stuff. But what I was missing was, the fact that there's not a one size fits all way to do this and that you and that, it's really important to accept who you are at your core. So who I wasn't my call was not the social anxiety, that was a manifestation of the way I felt about myself, or maybe certain experiences that happened to me in the past, but who I was at my core was definitely an introvert like that. I know that that could probably change a little. But really, that's, that's who I am. And that's what I had been missing from the personal development that I had been getting into so far. So I suppose that allowed me to then filter out certain things that just weren't right for me and then find, find the places where I felt a bit more seen, if that makes sense. Yeah, work on myself from there.
what you're saying is that you found that once you got into having your own business, and it sounds like, even as an introvert, someone with social anxiety doesn't mean that there are goals there aren't that, you know, we want to do that often have to go in the face of being around people, because let's be honest, like people are everywhere, although not the last year or so. But yeah, generally speaking, you know, when you're building a business, like, I think that networking and connect day, you know, that is speaking, those are all, like, the things that at least in my world, that I've been, like, really, really heavily pushed. Um, so I would love to hear for you, you know, how was your business? And it sounds like it was like the second incarnation of your business that really was that catalyst for growth, in the sense of you not weren't necessarily struggling with the social anxiety as much anymore, but it was like finding this place of acceptances. I'm an introvert. And so what does success look like as an introvert?
Yes, yeah. So after several years, at that first business, I did start to realize that I didn't like doing things the way that you know, I would take an online business course or I'd follow some online business expert, and I didn't like doing things the way they were doing or I felt very, very nervous, you know, like, they're talking about like going live or doing video or whatever it was back then the trendy thing, and I did have a growing awareness as I started to make more money despite not doing that stuff. And really, it was the external kind of validation of making the money that proved the point to me, which I wish I didn't need but it did show me that okay, I am doing this and I'm doing it my way. But really, really what happened to kind of accelerate this kind of growth and self acceptance was when I had my son and had a hard time after having him found it really difficult. I mean, it's that whole like saying, like, what is it like a breakthrough comes after a breakdown or something like that, it was like that I felt like, I just, I had had this knowledge before having him for many years in my previous business. So although I was starting to see how I could do it in my way, the business itself was no longer what fulfilled me and, and just in case anyone's like, into, like personality types and stuff. I'm an INFJ. And as that personality type, but I'm sure lots of other personal personality types too. But it's really important for me to do work that fulfills me, it's not just about the money, it's like, I got to do something that means something to me that matters. So I'd had this slight nudge for many years to start the business I'm doing now. But I didn't do it because of being afraid. But something clicked when I had my son and I went through that difficult time. I was just like, I'm gonna do it afraid, I'm just going to try it. And I was very afraid still. But through just I've spoken to a lot of a lot of people who have had anxiety about visibility online, or starting a new thing, or going towards their goals, whatever. And a lot of people have said to me that they do get to this moment, like I did, where it's just like, I just got to do it. I've just got to do it. And there's a there's a quote calling. Yeah, yeah, there's a quote, it's a nice man. And she said, the risk was it. I'm gonna have to find it, it's something like the risk it took to blossom became became the risk it took to remain tight in a bud became more than the risk it took to blossom or something like that. So it's like, although I was staying tight in a bud to protect myself, eventually that nudge became too much that ignoring it wasn't a choice for me anymore. It was too depressing.
Basically, the way that I am hearing it, and what I often think is that it's those painful things that are here to wake us up. Yeah. And so you know, having that calling, but then that internal struggle of like, should I do it? Should I not do it? What if what ifs, like the what ifs that come in? And just kind of saying, like, screw it? Yeah, like, let's just, let's see. So kind of releasing that need to have it be a certain way, but just knowing that it might not work out, but you have to do it anyway. But there's like, almost like there's no choice. Like when you're like it sounds like you were in that like exact spot. Yeah. Um, can you talk a little bit about cuz I'm feel like people listening are gonna be like, how do you know when you're in that spot where you're ready to say, like, Okay, I'm ready to almost like, a break out of the chrysalis. Like where you've been the caterpillar for so long? And, you know, like, What was that for you?
So I guess I want to make it clear that it doesn't necessarily look like no longer. It doesn't look like no longer being afraid, absolutely doesn't like you can be you can have this like I call it an inner nudge. It's like this thought that keeps coming to you. Like one of the ones that I had was like, I should start a podcast. And then my the next thought immediately after that is, there is no flippin way that you can start a podcast you the socially awkward person, there is no way you can do that. So I just want to like, I always say like, I really want to make it clear that it for me was not was not like suddenly like, okay, I could do it. It was it was a bit like, I want to do it, but there's no way I could do it. And that's how it kept coming to me kept coming to me. So I would say that if you if you resonate with that, that you still have this thought even though your brain tries to argue all the reasons why you shouldn't do it. There's something there to pursue. And for me, it looked I mean, I had a lot of support at the time to encourage me to go for it. So one of the best things I did was just start a new Instagram account and surround myself with the right people. And I made the decision at that time when I was going to start being visible on Instagram was that I would just be myself. Which, although it's quite hard, it also takes the pressure off because it's like if anyone you know follows me or if I'm in touch with them, they know who I am. So it's like It's okay. And, and then I ended up doing like a group coaching program with someone. And it was just so helpful at that time. So I'd already done a lot of other stuff. But that was very helpful at the time of like listening to that not just starting a podcast and pushing back that voice that was saying, There's no way you can do that as a socially awkward person, socially, anxious, awkward person. And yeah, being supported, like seeing yourself reflected by other people is massive, and also hearing them share the same concern if they're like minded people, and they've probably got similar concerns. And you as the outsider will see how brilliant they are. And I think that, like being in a community, whatever that looks like, it doesn't have to be a group coaching. But being in a community, or just having even just one person to reflect that back to you is very, very powerful. Because it's very hard to motivate yourself to listen to that nudge, when you are really scared to the point of anxiety, like for some people, it won't be, it's a spectrum, isn't it, some people will be able to push past it themselves. Others will need that kind of like outside support, to kind of keep listening to the nudge, even though that critical voice is really, really loud.
I love that you brought up support, because I think that's the biggest thing is that being able to see that we're not alone in this. And we are so much more critical, especially the like, just anxious people in general tend to be so self critical. And so self aware, there's so much depth of, you know, watching and noticing, and you know, these minds that are always churning, which comes with a lot of beauty and gifts. So I think that's important to know is that, you know, anxiety is creativity, really at its core. And so it's just finding those other like minded people, that could reflect back how great you were, though, that you could take that step forward, to bring the wisdom that you because that's the other thing is that as an introvert, as a reader, you're full of knowledge, like, you have so much to share, like, there's so much wisdom in there. And then, you know, it just sounds like, you know, it got to the point where keeping that to yourself was, you know, almost, you know, doing a disservice to the world. It's like, how do you if you know, all this stuff you've been studying forever? How do you not get out there and share?
so would you share,
I don't want you to share, like all of your tools. But let's say someone's listening, they've got the introvert, you know, piece, but they have this idea of, I want to do a business, but how do I do it and stay true. And not like, I'm not talking about avoiding things because you're anxious, because that's one things that I tell everybody like you like anxiety treatment is exposure. So it's always about like getting the tools and going and doing it anyway, once you feel like, you know, safe in your nervous system. So that's what I'm talking about. But it's Yes, there are people that aren't going to go and aren't designed energetically to go up and start a conversation or to be the loudest one or to make the dancing tiktoks or whatever's you know, hot right now and the you know, extrovert marketing world. So maybe like just, you know, one or two things that you guide people, and
one of the biggest things I would say, is learning to listen to your intuition, which is both the simplest thing and the most difficult because if you've grown up as an introvert, a quiet person, you probably will have experienced, you know, at school or whatever, the loud people talking a lot. And and you're thinking, you know, oh, they're the ones who've got like the right they saying the right things, whatever, and you're just quiet, but it's like, I always say to people like just because you may be nervous, or just because you may be quiet doesn't mean you've not got something important to say, which is kind of what you were just saying. And but I do think that that that experience growing up and even like anyone from any kind of marginalized group, so including women, but also other groups like that adds other layers on to how you've been taken seriously in the past or like, if you're sensitive and people have always said that to you like you're too sensitive, you're too this You're too that you're too whatever, then it can be hard to listen to your inner voice because you don't trust it. You know, you've, you've had a lifetime of hearing that it's too much, or it's not enough. And you don't trust it. So I would say that really, because what's been the biggest thing for me is like I was able to build a business that worked. But it didn't feel aligned. And what I'm all about now is really tuning into what feels good, because I honestly believe the way we feel matters and the way we feel is not. It's, especially as women it's been written off as, like, you know, don't do things based on the way you feel. You just got to do like x, y, Zed, whatever the right thing is feeling like we feel too much. It's It's too much, but putting things out there based on how I feel about them makes them so much easier. As an introvert, someone, you know, still, like, my social anxiety is a lot better now. But I still like deal with anxiety. And, and like I said earlier, like putting yourself out there as yourself writing, the thing that feels true to you, connects you with the right people so that you're safe, even in situations that are still anxiety inducing. So like, when I first was recording my podcast, for example, I was incredibly nervous. But I was connecting with people who are on the same wavelength as me. So it was really, really helpful. So although it's not like listening to your intuition is not like, like me giving a concrete kind of action step. But that's kind of the overall goal and like honing in on that, and building that muscle, basically. And one of the tools, if you want a concrete thing that I that I have used a lot is journaling. journaling, for me is very, very useful for learning to listen to that inner voice. And when I first started journaling, a lot of what would come up would be critical. And I learned over time that that is not, that's not my intuition. Speaking, that's not my inner voice speaking. That's the cultural conditioning. That's everything that's happened to me in my life. That's, that's, you know, that's the anxiety speaking, basically, yeah. But it was okay, that that came out on the page in my journal, and it was a way to get out of my head, but over time, and practice and asking myself the right questions in my journal, I've learned to access that kind of kind, in a part of myself. So I would say that's the concrete tool, I would suggest for kind of practicing that intuition.
I think that
yes, intuition is, and there are now studies of how, you know, entrepreneurs, like, you know, Steve Jobs in particular, you know, talks a lot about using, or he talks a lot about using his intuition, to grow his business and to know, like, okay, about which direction do we go in? Because, yes, you can write list for days of like, I could do 100 of these things, when we look at marketing, let's say in business, and to be able to see that list and say, Okay, well, what is my inner voice? Tell me, you know, and it sounds like through journaling is that space of getting quiet, because that is you don't hear intuition. When you're screaming at people, or when you're yelling across the room or making a bunch of noise like it is. It's a generally a quiet, subtle process. And it takes practice to really listen and know, like, the other day just to, you know, add a little story of intuition. Or maybe like spirituality, maybe I was going into this doctor's appointment. And I was like, I don't really want to do this, like, do I want to see this person? Like, I was, like, back and forth. Like, my body just was not sure. Like, my intuition was saying no, like, already. And then I got to the appointment, and I went to the door. And like, it would open a little bit, and then it would shut and then it would open. And I was like, What the heck, okay, like doors open, right? Like a doctor's office, like, so it would open again, and then shut and I was like, Oh, wait, I'm supposed to go press this button. So then I go and press the button, which I never have ever had to do in any other experience. I press the button, the door opens a little bit and then it shuts. And I'm like, okay,
like, I get in spirit guides.
You know, like, my intuition was right, you know, had I just been like, okay, it's a no, you know, but I needed that like, kind of crazy concrete. Like, no, like, the door is shut, you know, do not enter kind of thing. So, you know, if you're listening, I would just say, you know, notice those things, you know, notice the inner yeses and the inner nose, because you do know like, and not that anything like terrible is going to happen like nothing bad would have been if had I gone into the office. It was just that's not what was right for my soul. That was not the direction that I needed to take. And so I would just love that just some final words. from you on, you know, if someone's listening, they're introverted. They're dealing with social anxiety, but they have these big goals, is there a message that you want to share with them?
So, the reason I talk about being quietly ambitious, is really, just to kind of reclaim what ambitious means, because you get to decide that. And it might look like someone's traditional version of success and making loads of money in your business or buying a big house, or whatever it is. But the way that you get there, on as your personality, or even like, the end goal may be different. And that's, that's part of the journey of trusting yourself and listening to that intuition is really owning what you what you desire. And I can tell you, I, this has certainly been true for me. And it's been true for a lot for a lot of my clients that we think that we want something and we can think it really strongly. And through doing this inner work and through becoming more aware, and it is totally a journey. It's not really something that I don't, I don't think you get to, like, get there and like have it all figured out. But through the journey, you can often realize, oh, my goodness, like I didn't even admit to myself that I wanted something different. I couldn't even admit it, because it's not for someone like me, or I haven't seen someone like me doing this. But yeah, you get to redefine what ambition means. And, and I am incredibly ambitious. But I need to do it in a way that honors my personality and my energy levels, and my health, my mental well being and all of that stuff. So yeah, yeah.
Which is not
often the message that we get. So thank you so much for sharing that perspective that you can have a massively successful business and be yourself and take care of yourself and not push yourself to a state of exhaustion. I think that's such an important thing to acknowledge. So where can people find you if they want to learn more about your work and the services that you offer?
So my website is Ruth pound white.com. Social media wise, I mainly hang out on Instagram at Ruth pound white, and I have a podcast creatively human. And yes, that was really the kind of epitome of my journey and like learning to talk to people. And I just want to add one other thing that came to my mind about the podcasting is that just because you're nervous about something, doesn't mean you won't be good at it. And I've interviewed over 50 people on my podcast, and probably about half of them have told me they've been nervous to talk to me. And that is just the brilliant thing about podcasting. So it's normal to be nervous. It doesn't mean that you're not good at anything.
Yes. Well, being nervous is also the same energy as excitement. So that's what I like, how is this like, Okay, well, how can I reframe this? Like, no, I'm excited to do this. That's why those sensations come in. So thank you so much for coming on today. And please, if you're listening, connect with Ruth, her different platforms.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for taking the time to invest in your well being. I hope you learned at least one new idea or technique that you might want to implement into your own life. Remember, you're not alone, there is hope, and with the right information and support you can thrive. If you're dealing with panic, or looking for step by step process that will allow you to break free from this crippling fear state. I want to invite you to check out my panic attack Survival Guide, you can grab your free copy at www dot Jennifer bronsnick.com Thanks for listening