Shhh …. How the Quiet Revolution is Growing

I learned I was more introverted when I was about 40 years old. I completed the MBTI during a management retreat, and it rated me as an INTJ. My Italian family didn’t believe me although no one likely knew what introverted meant. Family and friends assumed I was a shy but often brassy Italian girl from Long Island.

“Oh dear, this means my sales career is over,” was my first thought.

Seriously, I was close to the top of my game being just promoted to sales manager. I had no idea this was a career path not to be traveled by introverts let alone to be successful in it. Guess those executive recruiters didn’t know much about this at that time?

Discovering my quieter nature explained so much to me. I had a flashback to my Italian family traditions. “That’s it. They were always my encouragers to speak up.” That would likely make for another interesting post about growing up as an Italian, who’s more of an introvert.

Maybe knowing there is still so much confusion about what introversion means and doesn’t mean is why I accepted the recent invitation to be a Quiet Ambassador for Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution

Shhh: How the Quiet Revolution is growing

Here’s some of my story about discovering my quiet nature.

Discovering quietnessintrovert-quiet

Many managers I would talk with loved getting out in their respective communities to “grip and grin” with their local business leaders. Most enjoyed networking so much it was invigorating for them. I hesitated to tell them I usually found them almost a “make me puke” event and, for the most part, ended up exhausted when they dragged on. I scheduled my days so I could attend events with my energy showing up in me.

When the role I was assigned grew to overwhelm, I was able to influence my managers to reshape our organization to help people and profits. Quietly I observed what was working, what wasn’t and then researched some different kind of organizational structure. I met with the general manager, more of an extrovert privately before calling a management meeting to be sure I had most concerns covered.

Just seven years being a sales manager did me in: “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” One of my friends was famous for saying this all the time about work in general and I stole this line. My then circle of friends were amazed because they thought I was aloof to so much of their chit chat, how on earth did I pick that to quote?

Discovering listening helps

My next career path took me out of corporate work and on the professional speaker and trainer direction. For a short time until sales started to duplicate themselves, I hired a woman to do the cold calling for me. Even though somewhere along my sales career I earned a title of “cold call champion” as you might imagine it’s energy draining for almost any personality preference.

Today, as social media is useful a first contact, cold calling is somewhat warmed up. And it certainly helps to be listening from the beginning.

As INTJs feel we’re smart enough to listen without judgment, ask questions and then find a system to sell to the buyers style, not the way we want to sell.

This and a little bit of learned schmoozing and a sales path is possible with success.

Discovering the way to creative solutionslight-bulb-moment

While there are many kinds of introverts, we all have a little of both an introvert and extrovert in our daily lives. One of the best things about being more introverted is leaning toward liking small groups instead of inviting in some of the negative feelings we can get in a larger group. We can manage our communication and our energy better with two to five people.

When asked to be a VP of Membership of a local woman’s group of about 90 members, I asked questions, lots of them, of the extrovert leaving office. Their system of communicating was antiquated and manual; to be fair that was 2004. The committee was almost non-existent, maybe 2 or 3 people – hooray! There was opportunity to forge a new way, grow the membership and with a new small group.

All of a sudden a few more women wanted to join the committee, but it was manageable. The possibilities to grow were at stake. Seeing the big picture, having more minds to problem solve, and then to be able to quietly creating a new system came together for the success of all. The membership grew somewhere between 25% to 30% that year.

In leaving that position at the annual meeting that year, to move the spotlight, I chose to recognize the entire committee one by one. People told me it was brilliant.

Not every introvert is an INTJ type so if as you read you think, “Oh that isn’t me,” then likely it’s because you are another type.

If you can relate to needing to recharge as a business or social situation continues, it’s likely you are more introverted because it’s that at the center of what makes us more introverted. The older I get the more extroverts, even ambiverts like me, tell me “I need some downtime.” Indeed.

Now I’ve joined in and hope to be asked to contribute more to the online community, Quiet Revolution,  created to connect and empower introverts around the world. It’s a free community so check it out. Also get a free copy of The Power of Introverts: 9 Best-Love Stories  by Susan Cain while you’re there.

Susan Cain, the author of the best-selling book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” co-founded the Quiet Revolution Their goal: to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of all.

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  1. Hi Patricia,

    What a fascinating article! I love personality types and studying them. I took the Myers Briggs years ago and came out as a ESTJ.

    It was so funny because as I read the profile it was me to a tee. LOL…

    I’m an extrovert and a bit impulsive and opinionated sometimes for sure, but I have been tempered over the years.

    The one thing I’ve come to appreciate are introverts. Those who are quite and reserved tend to be more thoughtful and observant. Those are qualities I know I need around me. I’ve had to learn over the years how to be gentle, understanding and listen first and ask questions when appropriate.

    I so appreciate your article and your perspective! It’s a great reminder for me.

    Have a wonderful weekend Patricia!

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted…Marketing without Vision Sucks and Why It’s Obvious You Don’t Have OneMy Profile

  2. I love this quote: “Discovering my quieter nature explained so much to me.” I often wonder what we’ve missed out on in life because we don’t really start to understand ourselves till our 40’s or beyond? I believe I am a quiet extrovert, possibly the opposite of what you are describing, and I love the idea of the Quiet Revolution!

  3. Dear Patricia:
    Oh, how misunderstood we often are…even by ourselves! I’m an INFP. I was so introverted (and shy) while growing up that I cried every day till I was 11. The world was a hard and harsh place with taunting kids mean words and the need to defend myself. I found solace in reading books in my room. I could spend hours daydreaming; living in the made-up world in my imagination. Fast forward to adulthood…

    Because someone I admired went into sales and did well, I also ended up in a sales career. I led teams as well as trained and mentored other professionals. I didn’t think I could ever be successful in sales because I thought I’d need to turn into someone else. You know, with fake enthusiasm and cheerleader-like demeanor. What I learned was that customers and colleagues appreciate people who are REAL.

    After being downsized last year, I started my own company to support people who have to sell, and are afraid to do so. We work on strengthening their messages, body language, and vocal presentation. It’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. When I speak on the stage, I also have a hard time convincing folks I’m an introvert…and as we know, it’s within where the quiet strength lies. Thank you for this forum!

  4. You will be the perfect ambassador for Quiet Revolution, Patricia!

    Can’t help thinking of my maternal grandmother who apparently always used to say: “To talk is silver, to be quite is gold”. Maybe she was introvert? Don’t know since she had passed away when I was born. But even if she was extrovert she is right. A lot of people would gain from thinking before voicing their opinion.

    As far as innovation is concerned all human beings benefit from contemplating whatever issue if it is to resullt in something new and innovative. Very few people come up with that kind of amazing ideas at the spur of the moment.
    Catarina recently posted…Are you a strategic leader?My Profile

  5. Jacqueline Gum

    What a fabulous article, Patricia. But I can also add, as usual. It took me much longer to discover the quieter me, but after I did it explained so much of my past behaviour…the need to retreat suddenly and not understanding why. It’s because of you that I took the test and tested as an INFJ. I think that means that I must cry more than you do…but always by myself:) LOL
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Thinking For Yourself… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  6. I don’t think being an introvert is a drawback in sales, as long as introverts learn to work with their strengths and find ways to cope with the schmoozing. The world needs more listeners.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Doors Open WinnipegMy Profile

  7. I am definitely introverted but can display extroverted characteristics when necessary.

    I need time to recharge on a daily basis whether at work or home. I will happily sit in another room from my family members just to hear myself think.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Five tips for working in excellence!My Profile

  8. Beth Niebuhr

    Nice article. I’m one of those people who is introverted in some situations and not in others. I like a mix of them and certainly need to rest and recharge frequently. Oh yes, small groups are oh so much more pleasant most of the time.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Why New Entrepreneurs StruggleMy Profile

  9. Thanks for sharing the online community, Quiet Revolution. I will check this out. =) Great post as always.
    Sabrina Q. recently posted…20 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself In 20 MinutesMy Profile

  10. Whether introvert or extrovert, quiet observation is something everyone should try. Some things are easier learned with your mouth closed.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Duomo di MilanoMy Profile

  11. Like Jacqueline, I too am an INFJ. I discovered that after she posted the about it on her blog. What struck me about that type is the judgmental streak associated with that classification which I feel is very accurate. It’s great that the world in general is starting to realize how many of us benefit from downtime and quietness. I hate how the tendency used to be moreso that introverts are somehow deficient. My niece is going through realizing she is an introvert and it’s caused some growing pains for her, but my sister pointed out that it’s just one way of being and of course I get used as the example…
    Jeri recently posted…#AuthorInterview: Kristin D. Van RisseghemMy Profile

  12. Jeri how wonderful YOU are the example for your sister. Truly inspirational to know that the quiet in us, through you to your sister, is going to be appreciated
    Patricia Weber recently posted…5 Top Weekly Blog posts, week 10, from #Introvert InspirerMy Profile

  13. Great point about being successful in sales because you didn’t know that introverts were not supposed to. Just goes to show that we categorize and assign parameters to too many things way to easily and then make them rigid. Sometimes it’s better not to know. There is definitely something in the saying “ignorance is bliss” 🙂
    Tim recently posted…Soweto’s Stark ContrastMy Profile

  14. I agree what you don’t know won’t hurt you. If somebody has told you that you were an introvert early on and introverts couldn’t sell you most likely would have failed. I’m all for self awareness but sometimes we then get categorized into what we can and cannot do. And you’re a perfect example of why that is malarkey. I think we change as we get older too. I know I’ve become more introverted.

  15. I recently had my MBTI done again – I’m an INFJ with slight variation from INF but definitely a predominant “J.”

    I also consider myself as an Introvert but with much intention to draw my inner dragon so I can fully portray my role as a thriving Entrepreneur and a change maker. I really think it’s a revolution!
    Mahal Hudson recently posted…Dare to talk about the “Itch”My Profile

  16. Pamela Chollet

    I want to see the post on growing up as an introvert in an Italian family. I laughed when I read that because I also grew up 100% Italian. Typically, we’re not known for being. “reserved”, especially around one another. Although, there are cultural social interaction qualities I treasure about my Italian clan. One of them was “They got you”. My family would sense and accept your mood,especially if it wasn’t typical. Perhaps it was a form of protection. If someone started prodding, “why are you so quiet/”, a member of the family would instantly reply, “Leave her alone she doesn’t feel like talking”! I liked that.
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…3 Reasons Why Your Performance At Work Is Not What It Should BeMy Profile

  17. Thanks so much for sharing your post in the Quiet Ambassadors group. It is nice to get to know you a little through your post Patricia. Warm wishes, Jane
    Jane Taylor recently posted…20 Top Introvert QuotesMy Profile

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