Expo(sed): An Introvert’s Story

Jennifer sits with her back turned and is in silhouette looking over a beautiful sun setting on a lake

Jennifer Davis, Founder, Exit Matters

21 Oct 2019

Surrounded by the beautiful reds and golds on the trees as I drove home from a successful expo, I should have been feeling as vibrant as the colours I was seeing. After all, I am following my passion and slowly finding resonance with my tribe. But instead, I was thinking about all the promotional “moments” I missed and how feel like I let my business down. Why?

Part of having your own business is being your own everything – at least in the early days. Being your own department of marketing, sales, production, accounting – fill in the blanks. I feel so incredibly grateful for all the outside support and expertise of friends that I have been given at a bargain along the way to help Exit Matters take it’s current form and shape. But at the end of the day, I know it comes down to me behind the booth, sharing my love for what I do.

A close up of bright red yarn, sticks and wire that form the binding of the book

Fall Leaves

Photograph by Unsplash

As someone more on the introverted side, going to expos actually feels like I’ve “exposed” myself to others, and I’m learning that the feeling of really putting yourself (and your business) out in the world comes at a cost. To be exposed means to be not covered or hidden, to be visible. It also means (according to the dictionary) to not be protected from shelter or the weather, and of course to in a vulnerable position. Wow – how interesting. Of course the noun we are really talking about is “expo” (short for exposition) which means a display, exhibit, performance, presentation etc. So they really are two different experiences – and a different mindset.

“I’ve created board games…. They were designed to be seen and played and used, not protected and hidden away.”

Perhaps instead of feeling that I’ve exposed my business to the elements as it were, to feel not-protected -aka not safe, I can think of it differently. I have revealed my business for a display or even a performance so that it may be seen and known and now visible. I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into my work so it is a shame to keep that tucked away, perhaps “safe” but not actually utilized. I’ve created board games for goodness sake; to start conversations. And they are beautiful bright colours – golden and orange just like the leaves. They were designed to be seen and played and used, not protected and hidden away.

So how does someone like myself get used to feeling exposed?

I need to make it about the business and not myself. To make it about what is being offered, what has come through my thoughts and hands not what others will think of me. The best shelter for my business is the safety of attracting customers and compensation at these types of events – so I need to stop hiding my offerings and stand proudly seen.

Well, I’m heading to another expo this weekend – one I’m actually a part of organizing called The Life and Death Expo. So, Exit Matters will put this new philosophy in to practice, and we will see how it goes!

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