I am delighted to bring you this month's INF interview, with Alie Harwood.
Each month, I share an interview with an inspirational-yet-relatable 'intuitive introvert'.
Alie describes herself as a holistic wellness and confidence coach for shy & introverted women.
I hope you enjoy the interview, here it is!
Hey Alie! So please start off by sharing with us, in a couple of sentences, who you are & what you’re working on currently :)
I’m Alie, a lover of all things personal and spiritual development, nature, healthy living, soul music and wise words. I’m a Holistic Wellness & Confidence Coach for shy introverted women who long to feel happy in their own skin and to live life as their true authentic selves.
What's your Myers-Briggs personality type?
I’ve come out as INFJ and P on different occasions – I can’t work out which one!
From which part of the world do you hail?
I grew up in the UK, although I’m half English, half Spanish, and am currently living in the Middle East.
What were your teenage years like?
For the most part, I lived my teenage years very much inside my head, privately struggling with low self-worth and confidence. This was largely a result of the shame I felt towards my introverted nature. I had great friends and still have lots of good memories but it was difficult for me to be my true self – in many ways I lost touch with who she was.
What were your 20s like, or what have they been like so far?
I certainly carried my insecurities with me into my 20s, but at age 22-23, I began taking more responsibility for my personal growth. This took the form of reading self-help books, proactively amending relationships and making new friendships, all of which required me to change my limiting habits. Since then (I’m 28 now), learning about and developing myself (and helping others do the same) has become my greatest drive and passion.
When did you first realise that you were an introvert? How did it happen?
Although I always knew that I was ‘shy’ ‘reserved’ ‘quiet’ etc as a teenager, I never openly admitted it due to the shame I felt. I equated these words with ‘introvert’ and therefore never called myself one. It was only when I really started to clarify my niche in 2017, that I got curious about the word introvert. I then discovered many websites, blogs and books that described the true meaning of an introvert in a way I had never considered before – it was a personality type with its own set of strengths and weaknesses just like any other personality type, and most importantly, it was not something to fix but something to embrace.
What's your current day-job?
I currently work online as Holistic Wellness & Confidence Coach for women introverts. I would love to run retreats and interactive workshops in the future.
When did you first start writing - and why?
I’ve always enjoyed journaling and poetry as it has served as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings and as a way to process them. I generally find it easier to express myself in writing than in spoken words. I began sharing my writing publicly from 2016 when I created my first blog.
How did it feel to start sharing your writing for the first time? Was there anything in particular that inspired you to do this, or gave you ‘the nudge’ that you needed?
I felt pretty vulnerable and exposed - it was a big deal! It was my coaching training that gave me the nudge to post my story as I learnt that this is the best and the only way for my online audience to connect with me, and for them to know that I understand their struggles and that it’s totally possible to overcome them!
What one thing are you most proud of so far?
I’m most proud of having the courage to share my true story with others and, in the process, discovering and owning the real me.
Woohoo! Amen to that. Is there anything you're working on outside of work?
I’m always doing some kind of personal or spiritual development course, always with the aim of living the most healthy, fulfilling and purposeful life I can. I’m a big fan of MindValley courses.
What's been the greatest struggle you've faced?
My greatest struggle has been my lack of self-worth which, among many things, caused me to feel extremely self-conscious (and to starve my body as a teenager), to hold back my true thoughts and feelings, and to doubt my abilities, opinions and desires.
Who are your heroes? And why?
Among the more famous people who I admire and who inspire me are Eckhart Tolle, Brené Brown, Melissa Ambrosini and Wayne Dyer. There are also many Youtubers and coaches who I follow and who are a source of inspiration to me daily. The common thread among these people that I admire is their honesty, wisdom, courage and drive to live a life of love, peace, presence, passion and purpose.
Oh cool. Would you be able to tell us more about some of the YouTubers you mention?
Youtubers such as Victor Oddo, Bridget Nielson and Abbey Normal (for spiritual development/wisdom) & Boho Beautiful (for yoga/inspiration). Coaches such as Tatiana Amico, Vanessa Simpkins and Adria DeCorte (for mindset and business). Adria has a very cool ‘Discover your Messenger Archetype’ quiz here: https://adriadecorte.com/quiz/.
Do you have any favourite books, or movies, or songs?
My favourite books include The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Happy For No Reason by Marci Shimoff and Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch. I love a lot of older movies like Mrs Doubtfire and My Best Friend’s Wedding - generally a combination of humour and romance although I also like some adventure and fantasy every now and then. Spirited Away is amazing too, it’s so imaginative! It’s hard to choose specific songs but generally it’s soul/Motown classics that I love to listen and dance to.
How about blogs or podcasts?
I’m subscribed to Tiny Buddha blogs which are written by many different people who share their biggest struggles in life and how they overcame them. I always find them relatable, meaningful and inspiring. My favourite podcast (and the only one I listen to!) is the Melissa Ambrosini Show. She interviews experts in the fields of health, wealth, relationships and spirituality and they’re always so interesting and empowering!
Are you a goal-setter or a go-with-the-flower? What's your process like here?
I love to reflect on and write down what I want to achieve in each area of my life but I don’t tend to have specific plans or dates for them. I think in many ways I go with the flow in the sense that I like to tune in to how I’m feeling each day.
What's your personal recipe for happiness?
Cultivating present moment awareness (by observing my thoughts and redirecting my attention to the here and now), practicing self-love and care (including replacing limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs), prioritising my passions and living in alignment with my values.
As an INF, what qualities do you think you and other INF (Ps & Js) share?
A love of introspection, good observers and listeners, empathetic, and an appreciation for deep meaning and purpose in life.
What piece of advice would you give to other INFPs & INFJs?
First of all, there’s nothing inferior about you. I know that INF types (at least in Western society) are prone to feeling inferior and insecure due the ‘extrovert ideal,’ which according to Susan Cain is ‘the omnipotent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight.’ As a result of this, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is your true INF nature and what is your fear and insecurity. For example, are you staying quiet because you’re enjoying listening to the conversation, or because you’re afraid to voice your opinion? Taking the time to honestly explore and understand yourself will help to clarify this :)
Is there anything you’d tell your younger self?
Your thoughts, beliefs and feelings do not define you – they are not permanent nor factual. You get to choose your beliefs; what you believe to be true will be true for you so make them empowering! The relationship you have with yourself will be reflected in all other areas of your life. Be your own best friend and love yourself unconditionally, regardless of your imperfections, mistakes or other people’s opinions. We are all imperfect humans navigating this incredible life that we’ve been given – make the most of it every day by feeling and spreading as much love, joy and peace as you can.
Do you have a favourite quote?
"There’s no greater fulfilment than knowing your true self and no greater freedom than owning your true self" - Yours truly ;)
I love that! So, where can others find & connect with you online?
My website: http://wellnesswithalie.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wellnesswithalie
I also have a private Facebook community for women introverts who want to experience true self-confidence called The Confident Introvert Tribe. That’s where I post the most! If you feel called to, I’d love to have you join :) https://www.facebook.com/groups/confident.introverts/
Great, thanks Alie! And thank you for taking part 🙌🏼
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