This week, I had a great coaching session. It was nice to be the client and experience the benefits of coaching for myself. I talked a lot about the challenges of building a business. Anyone who has ever been involved in starting or growing a business will know what I mean. There is uncertainty, a huge amount of effort and resources invested, with no guarantee of immediate return.
As an introverted and highly sensitive business owner I feel these challenges really deeply. I find social media to be a busy and noisy environment. I don’t do videos even though I know I probably should. I don’t want to be on the radio even though I have been told I should. I get embarrassed if written about in the paper. I don’t talk about my business on my Facebook page because that is for friends and family. This begs the question, how will potential clients find me and if they don’t, can I even have a business?
During my session we identified that for me to communicate my message in supporting introverts in the workplace I need to speak from the heart. I speak from my experience of being an introverted leader and small business owner for ten years and now as an introverted entrepreneur building a second business.
One of my takeaways is that I need to trust myself, my story and my experiences. They are true and valid and I know from my clients that I am not alone. Confidence is a feeling of self-belief that you can handle it. This comes from valuing and trusting yourself. A powerful question to ask yourself is how much do you value yourself? Someone with high self-esteem might rate themselves an 8 or even a 9/10, for those of us with lower self-worth we might struggle with a high rating.
Trusting myself means owning my story and my feelings. The core message of my business is that you can find your unique and authentic path as an introvert. This means leaning into and appreciating your quieter qualities of listening, empathy, deep thinking, and reflection. If you are an introvert in the workplace you might need a gentler approach to career or business development.
What does a gentler approach look like for you? For me, it is writing blogs like this which allows me to showcase my strength in love of learning. It is in connecting one to one with people I meet through networking. It is investing in online networking which tends to be smaller groups facilitated by breakouts (I hope they continue post pandemic), it is in reconnecting with weaker ties within my network to keep connections alive. Most of all, it is about speaking from the heart on my journey as an introvert in business.
If you work in an organisation as you navigate your career, can you identify your gentler tactics? Perhaps you will proactively build relationships with people in other departments so you hear about opportunities. Or take on an organising role for an event which promotes your visibility, or perhaps sharing your expertise on a non-work related topic, which might be of benefit to your colleagues.
We have to be visible for people to know we are there but there is a gentler more authentic route you can take. Identify your strengths, do what you love, value your contributions and most of all trust you can do it.
Aoife Lenox is an Introvert Coach, Trainer and Consultant who speaks to organisations on her introvert experience of being in business. She runs her quiet series of workshops along with one to one career and business coaching.