About

Hi. My name is Andy.

If we’re going to get to know each other I should probably start:

  • I’m 31
  • I live in a town called Leamington Spa which is bang in the middle of the UK
  • I live with my wife, Nic and our cat Mickey…and our seemingly indestructible fish, Douglas (he once spent half a day on the carpet after jumping out the tank and has outlived 3 other resident fish – two of them, Cagney and Lacey were sent in there to investigate the suspected murder of Donald the original fish)
  • I am a songwriter and performer – I write and produce music as Atlum Schema and have released 4 albums since 2004
  • I founded The Haven, which is an online membership site for creative introverts and highly sensitive people (Gentle Rebels) who want to make a positive difference in the world
  • I produce a weekly podcast called The Gentle Rebel through which I share my thoughts on how to navigate a noisy world as an ambitious introvert/HSP
  • I enjoy pizza, coffee, and, ummm vegetable juice
  • I cut my own hair
  • I love watching sport, especially rugby and started running in 2016 when I set myself a goal to run 10km for the first time – I did it two months earlier than planned
  • Most days I seem to drive around very long expensive cars…I’m an undertaker, which has taught me a great deal about perspective and the important things in life
  • I’ve always enjoyed doing slightly weird jobs alongside my ‘real work’ (this website and songwriting)
  • I am an introverted, highly sensitive, multipotentialite, gentle rebel who carries a naive hope for a better future for all of us (most of the time at least)

Quitter, Curious, People-Pleaser

I have always felt the world pretty deeply. Sometimes my priorities seem a bit different from what they ‘should’ be according to mainstream attitudes and assumptions. I naturally question why we do things the way we do although I’m also a bit of a people-pleaser, which can be a bit of a bummer.

I’m a happy person and feel great when I’m working on projects that matter to me. I have also spent time kind of confused about what I’m doing with my life. I sometimes get paralysed by fear of my own ambition and potential success. Oh the frustration!

A bit of story…

As a kid I really enjoyed spending time with people. Especially people I knew. I had big dreams. I wanted to be a rock star, a footballer, a painter, a writer, a builder and a shop keeper. I spent a lot of time in my imagination, creating elaborate worlds in my head. As far as I was concerned, anything was possible. I wanted to do it all. Perhaps everything at once.

I was also called ‘shy’, ‘sensitive’ and ‘quiet’. Every school report provided the same feedback:

‘Andy needs to put his hand up more in lessons and contribute confidently to class discussions.’

Something began to happen as I got older…these observations began to sink in. ‘Shy’, ‘sensitive’, and ‘quiet’ were criticisms that cut deep. I developed the feeling there was something wrong with me and it needed fixing. I had to be louder, more outgoing and more ready to throw myself into new situations without thinking.

But it was difficult. I wasn’t that person and I couldn’t see how I could be. I wasn’t the person I needed to be. Other people seemed much better able to navigate the world than me. So I got my head down and processed my experiences in the only way I knew how…on my own, in my head, creatively. I would often withdraw from view by quietly fitting in or spending great amounts of time alone, which I found was the most productive way to spend my time.

Change…

Then in 2010 I stumbled on this article: 10 Myths About Introverts

Then I read The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World

All of a sudden it all made sense. There was a name for my experience of the world, and I wasn’t alone.

I started lapping up all the information I could get my hands on. Everything began to make sense.

Then I took this test by Elaine Aron and read her book, The Highly Sensitive Person discovered the missing piece. I was apparently a highly sensitive person.

What a welcome arm around my shoulder. I was finally able to see how I fitted into the world. It was great to discover that I wasn’t alone and that there are millions of us who relate to the world in similar ways.

As I began to discover new things about introversion, high sensitivity, creativity and myself, I shared my findings on my website, Sheep Dressed Like Wolves.

The more I shared the more I heard from people who resonated with what I was writing. I found myself writing more and more about introversion, high sensitivity and the impact my temperament had on my own life and creativity. And that’s how this website came to be what it is today.

I guess the vision that I carry for the work I do here is:

To encourage, inspire, and equip fellow introverted and Highly Sensitive People looking to find meaning and variety in their own lives. I seek to help so that they can live out their deep passion and purpose and make their creative and uniquely gentle impact on a noisy and overwhelming world. Specifically if you:

  • Don’t necessarily recognise yourself as ‘creative’ because you don’t feel equipped, clever enough, or part of the right crowd
  • Compare your messy insides with other peoples’ shiny outsides
  • Feel unsure and overwhelmed about who you are, what you’re doing, and how you can make a breakthrough to uncover what truly matters to you
  • Often feel like an outsider
  • Get overwhelmed and distracted by groups of people, the mood or emotion of crowds, and too much sensory input
  • Enjoy and are energised by time alone
  • Love spending time with certain people despite finding it draining
  • Desire meaning and purpose in your life
  • Are a bit of a people-pleaser
  • Want to make a positive difference but have absolutely no idea where to start
  • Are forever on the cusp of giving up
  • Would love to live a life that reflects who you are and not who you are told you should be

Through the blog, podcast and weekly email it is my mission to help encourage, equip and inspire you to strengthen and deepen your roots. We aren’t about fixing who we are, but rather we are committed to understanding and utilising our natural gifts so that we can live our best life. In particular you can expect plenty of stuff about:

Peaceableness | Gentleness | Intuition | Creativity | Sensitivity | Compassion | Reflective Action

Next thing’s next…

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