Where are you being like an extrovert that you can and will let go of in 2010? Let’s agree to stop trying to be an extrovert; it’s just another preference after all. We can tap into our introvert preference for solitude and our skill strengths and make 2010 a stellar year in whatever area we want, and that will help many others in the process. It’s time to stop wishing and hoping to be an extrovert. It’s time to step up to accentuate your introvert strengths. In marketing, in leadership roles and in business, in life generally, many traits we have are what is needed in this rapid pace of change. We always want to leverage what we already are that makes us unique. Here are some key areas for consideration, with a focus on business:
Hustle, bustle, hurry. Life is hectic – get over it. It comes with the territory. As societies advance in technology and information, we often find ourselves in overwhelm. Sometimes you may feel like you are in a zoo and the cages are left open. As introverts we must create our own structure so that we can find a cage rest and recover for a brief escape. How do you do this? Be yourself. Use your strengths. With networking as an example, if you find yourself going to an event, you can either scout a quiet place out on premises upon arriving or plan your day with more solitary activities before and after the event. Since you aren’t life’s zoo keeper, just take care of your own cage, I mean space of course!
Hang around the edges. I say hang around the edges of whatever the situation or event, until you are darn good and ready to move into the action. As you hang around the edge of the crowd, savor your energy and get comfortable with putting your plan into action. No don’t let the edges get frayed but instead, use that savored energy to move you forward. Currently, social online networking is all the rage. As we come to the end of the year, if you have been on websites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, stop, pause and evaluate, how effective were these networking venues in meeting your intentions? By now there are likely thousands more so, be yourself. Take time to look back, evaluate and then plan better for 2010.
Avoiding self-promotion: Self-promotion can make you feel like you are a shark circling it’s dinner. The truth is, that style is quite long ago unappreciated. It is surprising though how many people still go in circles with this. Self-promotion is not about being verbally diarrhea-like all over someone. Think of it as tooting your own horn in harmony. If you toot your own horn then first, you tune into yourself; find that place where you connect with yourself inside and feel that confidence soar. Then, focus on your intention: if you want to find a prospect, what’s important to them? If you are applying for a job, what do they need and then – you toot in harmony with them. For the introvert or shy: let your listening, your natural curiosity and your planning strengths work in your favor. You’ll find you attract more people who want to meet with you, if that is what you want.
Networking is all wrong. In a recent article, Introverts at Work, Jennifer Kahnweiler was quoted from her book, “The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Own Quiet Strength” as saying that 80 percent of introverts struggle with networking. If this is true for you, how do you release yourself from this straight jacket? After all networking is said to put us just 2 or 3 people from whatever it is that we want: a client, tickets to a theater show, a referral to possible employment. One reason introverts often have a problem with networking is because we approach it like an extrovert: attend all events we can, meet as many people as we can and collect all the business cards that are flying in our faces. How disillusioning; introverts and extroverts are as different as a candle is to a halogen light. Decide which events serve your purpose best. Plan around your different energy needs: consider meeting a number of people you want to meet or decide how long you will stay at any particular event. The key to comfort in this personally engaging process is to pay attention to being you. Be yourself.
We can dramatically shift our results our introverts if we look at our strengths instead of envying the extrovert preference. Not being recognized, not having sales success, not feeling confidence, doesn’t need to be your reality. I’m an introvert too. It may take time for some to be happy with that and to claim it as a distinct advantage. Once you realize you are perfect as you are, and it’s time to claim that, 2010 can be your year.
What do you think will be your piece to claim in 2010 as an introvert? Where are you being like an extrovert that you can and will let go of in 2010?