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, my life was utter shit.
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.