A Controversial Topic for Introverts
Hi! Welcome to this week’s training. I’m Sherri Wilson, an educator, strategist, and introverted entrepreneur that empowers other introverted entrepreneurs the art of persuasion and influence so you can communicate your message clearly and confidently.
Today I want to dive in to a topic that can be controversial for introverts but I want to tell it in my own journey and in some others that I’ve had the honor of helping and observing.
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT EMPOWERMENT AS AN INTROVERT. Where it can get controversial is in the how because faking it until you make it very contrary to many introverts who consider authenticity to be a core value.
Before I tell my story, I highly recommend Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence. She talks about HOW to have presence as introverts and believe it or not, one important way IS faking it because your brain eventually rewires to where what you once had to fake is now natural.
For example, as an entrepreneur, you sometimes have to fake being confident right? Because no one is going to hire someone that’s not confident. On the other side of that coin is the fact that YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE as an introvert or you can’t do it. That’s a fake you CAN’T do because it’s contrary to who you are as a person. SO YOU CAN TAP INTO THAT CONFIDENCE IN YOUR PRODUCT AND SERVICE TO INFLUENCE YOUR CONFIDENCE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR AND CREATE GENUINE CONFIDENCE OVER TIME!
So no that I’m not encouraging you to change your core essence as an introvert but I am encouraging you to do some things that might make you uncomfortable but are NECESSARY TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS AND BUILD A LIFE TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE!
As a child, I was shy, uncertain, and lacked confidence in making new friends and being part of a group. However, I was a very good student and very confident in my grades and ability to excel.
And what made things even more confusing is I can be very direct, bold, and even aggressive at times and then completely at a loss on other things like small talk and approaching strangers at social events. Later I learned that the mystery of my DUAL-VERTEDNESS (LOL) WAS THAT I’M A SOCIAL INTROVERT MEANING I NEED TIME ALONE TO RECHARGE BUT I CAN TURN ON PRESENCE WHEN NEEDED. However, I’m usually super nervous to do so but I can FAKE IT when needed. THIS COMES IN REAL HANDY WHEN SPEAKING IN FRONT OF CROWDS!
However, when it comes to my business and area of expertise, I AM TOTALLY CONFIDENT IN WHAT I DO AND TEACH. I know I’m good at it. But that doesn’t mean I never get sweaty pits and dry mouth before meeting with my new client and his staff the first time or speaking in front of strangers.
But for years since my childhood, I really suffered. I wanted to be more outgoing. I wanted to be able to chit-chat. I wanted to be that extravert that showed up and the party started! And in that process of wanting to be that person, I lost who I truly was until a few years ago. Yeah! Not that long ago at all.
In fact, it was when I created my online course that things really started falling into place. I began to understand that I was an introvert! Had no idea! I learned how to make people feel safe using my body language. I learned how to persuade by learning the different personalities and what makes them trust me. I learned that because of my willingness to observe and listen, I was able to solve my clients’ problems and give genuine solutions. And I learned I am really good at helping people.
But here’s the kicker. And this shocked me! I took a Gallup 10 Assessment to learn my strong entrepreneurial strengths and the number one strength was SALES! What?! Yeah, sales. I was stunned. I hated selling as a kid. I was so awkward and nervous that only family members bought from me because they felt bad for me!
Again, it goes down to me really believing in what I do and using my introvert strengths to do it really well. I listen more than talk. I give the needed information as I guide my clients. I empower them to make decisions. I offer choices.
But it all started with realizing that at my core I’m an introvert and that’s ok. I also accepted the fact that I’ll probably NEVER not be nervous before an event. I might always struggle with small talk. And I will ALWAYS NEED alone time and the ability to recharge. By recognizing these things I was able to design a life that allows me to be me and have in place the things I need to be happy.
And here is where it gets controversial: YOU HAVE TO DO THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO AND THAT FEEL LIKE THEY AREN’T WHO YOU ARE like:
Not stand in the corner on your phone at networking events or take your friend so you’re not alone
Learn to smile (even at strangers)
Uncross your arms and use open body language with gestures
Do things afraid
Fake it until you make it
Don’t procrastinate when you fear failure!
What Empowerment Means for Introverts
Empowerment is defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident.” The only way you become confident is doing the things needed until they are a part of you.
One of the best stories I have is of a dear family friend who is an anxious introvert. She took my quiz (which I’m not pushing stating only as fact) and memorized the tips I give in it, embraced her strengths, and realized there was NOTHING WRONG WITH HER. It’s how she’s wired.
Then she took what she learned and practiced it! Since then, I’ve watched her do things she’s not comfortable doing, enrich her relationships, and gain more confidence.
Being uncomfortable and doing it anyway isn’t being untrue to who you are. It’s wisdom and a necessity in business. Your main core values are what you must protect—accepting, being a listener, observing, integrity, peace—all of these are who you are. So embrace that as you embrace being uncomfortable in the PROCESS OF BECOMING STRONGER AND MORE CONFIDENT.