I’m Manuela Ribeiro, an introvert living in Portugal. I was raised in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). I went to school there, and I had an English education. After my dad’s death, I found myself flying into Portugal at the age of 12. Many things have happened in my life, and what amazes me is that all this time I thought I was different, and now I realize I was right.

As a young girl, I felt ashamed of being quiet. My mother was always comparing me to other noisy kids and wishing that I could be like them once in awhile. Books were my best friends, and all I wanted to do was to stay in the library and read, read, read. I liked music and dancing, and I could be funny and playful, but only in very small groups.

Despite all odds, I always lived according to my values, and I felt this invisible strength inside me. There was this courage, this inner silent power that kept me going. When I focused on something, I didn’t stop till I achieved it. Many times I was misunderstood: people picked on me and called me a snob (among other names). Although it hurt, I knew I had the power to carry on, and I did. Two years ago, I decided to become a Certified Coach, which I did. And right after that, I wrote my first book, Desistir Não É Opção (Giving Up Isn’t an Option), which was self-published.

Now, here is the thing: People who truly know me know I’m an introvert. But I can tell you that people I meet can’t tell the difference unless I’m in a very big group or at a party. That’s when others might be able to see my more introverted side kick in. I like observing, asking questions, and going outside a party now and then to restore my level of energy.

I believe one day, I will be on a stage speaking to lots of people about my book, and I’m taking the necessary steps for that to happen. So, you see, introverts are resilient people always full of surprises—never to be underestimated.

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