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.
Suffering from depression and social anxiety, I went back and forth between two states of mind: sadness and anger. Needless to say, both felt pretty lousy.
Depression sapped my energy, making it a chore to do even the most basic task. 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 kicking doors. 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 occasions when life was going okay, I’d start looking for signs that it was starting to fall apart again—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 stood in my way.
I was nervous around most people, whether in large gatherings, small groups, or even one on one encounters. For whatever reason, I was terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing, or making a fool out of myself. Of course, the 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, whether with guys I was hanging out with or women I wanted to date.
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 disliked noisy bars and parties, so I never practiced talking to women the way most young guys do.
I was on the outside looking in, observing instead of participating, though I understand now that I was the one who excluded myself.
Once in a while—mostly thanks to dumb luck—I’d date a woman. But she was rarely a good match, and the few who didn’t soon dump me, I stayed with out of desperation, knowing how long it would be before I could find someone else.
I tried several different jobs, but none of them were a good fit. Either they paid too little, didn’t make the best use of my skills, or put me under the control of a boss whose style didn’t mesh with mine. I felt stagnant and unappreciated.
I couldn’t shake the idea that it was all some cosmic mistake. That I was an actor 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. We’re humans, we need to feel a part of something in order to thrive. At best, I tolerated my existence. At worst, I wanted it to end.
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 the woman I was dating. I was arrested. I suffered a painful injury. A close member of my family was diagnosed with a serious illness.
Soon, I started getting panic attacks where it felt like my throat was filling up with snot. The fact that these episodes usually came out of nowhere made me afraid to leave the house.
My whole life I’d 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 anymore. At that point, I promised myself I’d do everything within my power to take back my life.
I focused on my nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Started meditating. Went to therapy.
To better understand my brain, I researched things like depression, anxiety, and—most important—what it means to be an introvert.
For inspiration and direction, I consumed dozens and dozens 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.
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 on the street to strike up conversations with strangers.
Amazingly, I found that, challenging as it was at first, I began to enjoy socializing. The most incredible thing was that, instead of feeling drained after talking to people, I felt energized!
After several months of going out alone, I organized a group online and found others with 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 connections out of thin air, I started creating my own work opportunities as an independent contractor. Before long, I began finding work that inspired, challenged, and engaged me creatively.
Over time, the stranglehold anxiety had on me loosened. In turn, my increased participation in the world soothed my depression.
Fast forward over a decade later…
These days I have abundant options with women I’m attracted to, who share my core values, and with whom I can cultivate a real connection.
I have a network of friends around the country who I resonate with on many levels. We have fun together, support one another, and remind each other that we belong.
I’m doing work that I love, engaging in projects that excite and satisfy me. I make my own hours and schedule, and perhaps best of all, have no boss to report to!
I’m, of course, nowhere near done with my journey of expansion and self-discovery. Whenever I feel frustrated–which still happens plenty, believe me–all I have to do to feel better is look back on where I started and remember how far I’ve come.
Several years ago, I made a point of sharing what I’d learned with friends and acquaintances at different stages in their personal journeys.
It never occurred to me to “coach” anyone officially, I just enjoyed sharing what I’d gathered with others, especially as it helped solidify the knowledge in my own head.
But then someone asked me if I’d considered coaching as a career. I was resistant at first, as it felt more like a hobby.
But over time I started thinking about how, if I got serious with this, I could really help people the way I helped myself. 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 out on my own. I came to accept that it was my duty to let others benefit from the secrets I’d discovered.
That I could be the guide I always wished I had when I was stumbling through the wilderness alone.
So, in 2016, I founded Introvert Unbound.
I’ve already teamed up with countless introverts just like you to walk beside them a bit on their journey. You can read some of their testimonials.
So, if you’re ready to leverage your strengths, and overcome your obstacles, I can help you, too, become the Introvert Unbound!
Founder & Coach with Introvert Unbound