Wes Colton, Founder and Coach
Hey, I’m Wes Colton. I’d like to share the story of my own personal journey that led to the founding of Introvert Unbound.
For half of my adult years, life kind of sucked for me.
Suffering from chronic depression and social anxiety, I alternated between two states of being: sadness and anger. Needless to say, both were unbearable.
Depression sapped my energy, making it a chore to complete even the most basic task, like sweeping the floor. I couldn’t see the point of doing anything, it all seemed so hollow. I wallowed in self-pity and hated myself for my weakness.
When I wasn’t feeling down I raged at the world, ranting and raving, yelling, throwing things, and punching walls. I blamed society and bad luck for my problems and refused to take any accountability for my situation whatsoever.
A rigidly negative thinker, I slung mud at every good thing I came across. On the rare occasions when life was going OK, I’d start looking for signs that it would start falling apart – which, thanks to my bad attitude, it usually did.
In the rare instances when my dark moods would lift enough to make me want to be around people, and my bad vibes didn’t push them away, social anxiety crippled me.
I was nervous around most people, whether in large gatherings, small groups, or even one on one encounters, not just with strangers but sometimes people I’d known for years! For whatever reason, I was terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing, or making a fool out of myself. Of course, the intense pressure I put on myself ensured that I often would.
Because I spent so much time alone, I hadn’t developed my social skills to an age-appropriate level. I didn’t understand when to make eye contact and when to look away. I was confused how to greet people and how to say goodbye. Casual chitchat was painful for me, as I was equally uncomfortable with rough and tumble guy talk as I was with the more teasing playful style best suited for women.
Stressful and unrewarding as socializing was for me, I kept avoiding it, which prevented any real improvement in that department.
I had a few friends I’d hang out with once in a while, but I hardly ever felt part of a social group. I detested noisy bars and never cruised around town for women, the way most young guys do. I was on the outside looking in, an observer rather than a participator, though I understand now I was the one who excluded myself.
Occasionally – mostly thanks to dumb luck – I’d date a woman. But she was rarely a good match, and the few that didn’t soon dump me, I stayed with out of desperation, knowing how long it would be before I could find another.
I tried several different jobs, but none of them were right for me. Either they paid too little, didn’t make the best use of my skills, or put me under the control of a boss who didn’t know what he was doing. I felt stagnant and underappreciated.
I couldn’t shake the idea that it was all some cosmic mistake. That I was an actor who had been cast in the wrong part; instead of the role of leading man that I deserved, I was the extra without any lines.
Needless to say, none of this was a recipe for a good life. At best, I tolerated my existence. At worst, I wanted it to end.
One day I went to the hardware store and bought six feet of rope. When I got home, I made a noose and tied the other end to the rod in the closet. I slipped my head inside, and sort of just leaned against it, feeling the rope tighten around my neck.
Obviously, I didn’t end up going through with it. But for years, suicide was never far from my mind.
Then, during a period of just a few months, several bad things happened to me: I was fired from my job. I got dumped by my girlfriend. I was arrested. I suffered a painful injury. A close member of my family was diagnosed with a serious illness.
Soon, I started getting these panic attacks where it felt like my throat was closing up. The fact that these episodes usually came out of nowhere made me afraid to leave the house.
My whole life I had been treading water, maybe not getting anywhere, but at least keeping my head above the surface. For the first time, I was drowning.
The blessing in disguise was that things got so bad that I knew I couldn’t keep living this way any more. At that point, I determined I’d do everything within my power to salvage what was left of my life.
I focused on my nutrition and exercise. Started meditating. Went to therapy.
To better understand my brain, I researched things like depression, anxiety, and what it means to be an introvert.
For inspiration and direction, I consumed scores of self-development books and videos and listened to motivational speakers.
To make more sense of human interactions, I studied evolutionary and behavioral psychology, and the science of sex. I worked on my speaking skills and body language.
In the realm of dating, I took in-person boot camps and webinars with some of the nation’s leading coaches, and devoured books, articles, videos, and podcasts on the topic.
I started going out by myself regularly to bars, coffee shops, and even busy streets to strike up conversations with strangers, both women and men, though naturally women were the ones who got me out the door.
Amazingly, I found that, as challenging as it was at first, I began to enjoy socializing. The most incredible thing was that, instead of feeling drained after hours of talking to people, I felt energized!
After several months of going out alone, I organized a group on Meetup.com and found others who had similar goals of enhancing their social lives and pushing their comfort zones in pursuit of self-transformation.
Emboldened by my increasing social adeptness and budding ability to make human connections out of thin air, I started creating my own work opportunities as an independent contractor. Before long, I found began finding work that inspired and challenged me, engaged me creatively, and allowed me to make a comfortable living.
Over time, the stranglehold anxiety had on me loosened. In turn, my increased participation in the world soothed my depression.
Fast forward a few years…
These days I have abundant options with attractive women with whom I have a genuine connection.
I have a network of friends around the country who I respect and resonate with on deep levels, and who don’t feed my negativity. We have fun together, and remind me that I belong in society.
I’m doing the work that I love, engaged in several projects at a time that excite and satisfy me, and contribute to my financial security. I make my own hours and schedule, and perhaps best of all, have no boss to report to!
I’m nowhere near done with my journey of expansion and self-discovery. Whenever I feel frustrated – which still happens from time to time – all I have to do feel better is look back to where I started and remember how far I’ve come.
Over the last few years, I’ve made a point of sharing what I’ve learned with friends and acquaintances at different stages in their personal journeys.
It never occurred to me to coach guys officially, I just enjoyed sharing information I had gathered with people, especially as it helped solidify the knowledge in my own head.
But then a friend who shared my passion for self-development asked me if I had considered formally coaching guys. I was resistant at first, as sharing what I had learned had always just been something I did as a hobby.
But over time, I started thinking about how, if I got serious with this I could really help people. I realized that the lessons I learned the hard way over nearly a decade of seeking out, filtering, and absorbing information could be taught to someone in a fraction of the time it took me to figure it out on my own. I came to accept that it was my duty to allow others to benefit from the secrets I had discovered.
That I could be the guide I always wished I had when I was stumbling alone through the wilderness.
That’s when I founded Introvert Unbound.
I’ve already teamed up with several guys and walked beside them a bit on their journey. You can read their testimonials here.
If you think I can maybe help you too, check out Introvert Unbound’s services. If you’re interested, contact me for a free ½ hour consultation to see if we’d make a good team.
Regina Hopkins, Coach
Hi, I’m Regina Hopkins. Originally from Lakewood, Colorado, and having lived here for over 30 years now, I understand the Denver dating scene very well. I obtained my Master’s in Counseling from Colorado State University and currently practice as a licensed professional counselor as well. While my educational background has certainly helped me learn how to more effectively relate to a wide variety of people at an interpersonal level, I also have personal experiences with knowing just how challenging dating in Denver (nicknamed, “Men-ver” can be), especially for guys!
And introverted men have their own unique set of challenges, separate from their more typically talkative and conversationally-practiced extroverted friends. I understand the introvert’s challenge quite well as I grew up introverted myself. From a young age, I dealt with my own social anxiety around talking to new people and being around others. I know firsthand how overwhelming it can feel for some people, and how “scary” other people can seem sometimes.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I realized that I was letting what could be some of the most fun and social years of my life, pass me by! I decided I wanted to be different. I wanted to get better at talking to others and feel less “bound” and constricted by my introverted ways, which also blended into my social anxiety. I wanted to become better at communicating and not be afraid around people anymore. I set out on a mission to become more “extroverted” and see if I could come to embrace this other “more uninhibited” side that I saw some others had – a side that I wanted for myself!
Through my own trial and error, I learned many tools and tricks along the way to help me overcome my struggles with social anxiety and the isolation that came with it. After lots and lots of practice in conversing with others, I slowly got better and better. Over time, I learned to actually enjoy talking with others and starting up conversations. I began enjoying being around people. The words began to flow more naturally for me, and I didn’t have to “think so hard” about what I wanted to say before I said it.
And while I do strongly believe that we all have both introverted parts and extroverted parts in us, sometimes if we are strongly one way or the other, it can actually be a hindrance to us achieving our goals in some circumstances.
I also believe that there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. I’m not here to try to turn you into a raging extrovert (might I add – nor do you have to do so to meet quality women who will actually like you back). However, there are certain things that introverted men typically struggle with on the whole, that can hinder their success with dating and their social life. I understand these struggles first hand, and with over 20 years of experience in deeply understanding both introversion and extroversion, I’m ready to help support you in your journey to also become “unbound” from the parts that might be holding you back from living to your fullest potential and having the life you really want.
In working with me, it is my hope that you will feel as though you have unlimited opportunities to meet available, quality women and have the kinds of relationships (dating, friends and professional) that you really want. I can help you come to understand your introverted strengths and gifts, while helping you authentically grow into a man who feels that he has all the same opportunities as his more extroverted counterparts. If you are feeling as though your introversion may be holding you back, I don’t want you to feel “bound” by your introversion any longer.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free 30 minute initial consultation to see if our services will be a fit for your needs.
Wishing you all the best!