I’ve noticed a lot of people leaning into their introversion lately. I wanted to lend my own introverted voice to the bigger conversation that I believe is also happening. (Fellow introverts will understand just how hard this really is!)
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that introversion means you focus on the inner world and get energy through reflecting on information, ideas, and/or concepts. You actually prefer being alone and are comfortable with your own thoughts & ideas. Extroverts, on the other hand, focus on the outside world to get energy through interacting with people and/or doing things. They actually get energized from being surrounded by people. I know, I know. To the introvert, being surrounded by people sounds like torture!
I had my MTBI done last year by a MTBI Certified Practitioner and I found out I’m an INFJ. I’m happily a pretty strong “I” too. Have a peek at my results below:
Through coaching my own clients and building websites for many introverts I’ve had time to reflect on what I see as the top 3 mistakes that creative entrepreneurs make when they think that marketing is too hard because they don’t like to talk about themselves.
Mistake #1 – using your introversion as a reason to not share your awesome
Yes it’s uncomfortable to talk about yourself when you’re an introvert. It can feel exhausting after putting yourself out there even on social media. I think the opportunity here is to offer up your awesome and not be responsible for doing it yourself.
What if you changed your perspective and instead engaged your loyal tribe? By asking favourite clients to tell you the biggest impact you had for them, you can collect & publish testimonials that garner you more likes and comments than anything you might have come up with yourself! There is nothing your friends and followers like more than celebrating a win with you.
The truth is that there is someone out there waiting to hear your voice rise among the others in your field.
How long are you going to keep them waiting?
Mistake #2 – using your introversion as a crutch
Introverts often think they feel ick around talking about their work and sharing their expertise. It’s been my experience that more often than not the ick is actually tied to a value instead of a preference for being introverted. You see, I can happily sit in front of my computer and code all day long. I can pop into social media as needed to become part of a bigger conversation. When I first started engaging my audience as I was building my business six years ago, I found it exhausting. I thought it was because I was an introvert.
I began to use the “I’m an introvert so I can’t talk about myself” all too frequently.
In the end, I discovered that for me it wasn’t about being an introvert at all. It was that the examples I was seeing online and in person involved creative entrepreneurs being boastful and overly expressive about sharing their expertise. The old compare and despair came knocking. I saw what was getting other people attention and assumed I had to measure up to that.
When I dug deep to find out why this felt wrong to me, it was really more about my value of integrity being fully honoured. You see, I’m a let-my-work-speak-for-itself kind of girl. Being full of integrity in my eyes means not being boastful or ‘in your face’ about my results. Once I realized that I could share pieces of my personal story and work that were full of integrity and in bite size portions that I felt comfortable with, being able to talk about my expertise became easy.
Maybe it’s time to test the waters and see if you’re using your introversion to avoid something else. How could you shift your perspective and think about sharing your work in way that feels genuine? What feels more important for you to teach and share with your audience than staying silent?
Mistake #3 – thinking that being an introvert means you can’t connect to people at networking events
Well. Did I use to tell myself this story. It came in the form of many sentiments. “I’m not good at small talk.” “No one would care what I have to say.” “Why do I even think about going because I know no one will talk to me.” “I’m just going to look like an idiot hiding in the corner so why bother going anyway?”
The truth? Being an introvert means I need to protect my energy.
And even though I’m a pretty strong introvert (remember my score from above?), I’ve found that I can actually plan to show up to a networking or in-person experience and truly enjoy it. The secret is in intentionally planning the lead up and post experience to be full of nurturing, solo time. As soon as I started to intentionally schedule in extroverted time (and at first they were small increments!), I found that it became SO much easier. It even made writing blog posts easier because I was able to talk to and engage my audience to find out what they wanted to learn from me. Bonus!
I ran my first solo business retreat in January of this year and lead the entire thing by myself (my next one is coming up in May — you interested?). How did I manage to lead a retreat and hold the space (AND energy) for 12 amazing women on my own? I protected my energy by scheduling LOTS of solo time pre and post retreat. The evenings were sacred time too. But I’m proud to say that I totally got my extrovert on and enjoyed every single second.
Honouring my value of being a leader became way more important than hiding out.
The question you need to ask yourself is how can you create some space in your own schedule to engage in more extroverted experiences and making some great new connections while protecting your own energy? How could it be EASY? Where could you start?
They say that learning starts at the edge of your comfort zone.
I say it’s time to start testing those limits.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t market yourself. It just means you need to get creative and find a way to share parts of your story that feel good. Take small steps. Protect your energy. Recognize that putting yourself out there takes time.
You’ve got this.