Often, it seems as if we live in an extroverted world, especially when it comes to our jobs. When we think about CEOs, managers and business leaders, we think of charismatic and energetic individuals who can strike up a conversation with everyone they meet. So when it comes to getting ahead in our careers, it can often feel like an uphill battle if we are not extroverted. That’s why I am so glad that founder of Boldly Quiet Consulting, Lorraine McCamley, came on this week’s episode of The Stress Less Show to help all of the introverts out there get ahead in their professional lives.
As an introvert herself, Lorraine’s journey in helping introverts succeed in their careers began when she felt insecure in her own career. After finding out that she was not viewed as being a good fit to move to the next level in her company, Lorraine began to feel pressured to be more extroverted in order to keep her job.
“It became very stressful every day just to walk into the building knowing that in order to be successful, I had to pretend to be someone I inherently was not.”
Realizing that her story was far from unique, she eventually started Boldly Quiet Consulting to help fellow introverts succeed in their careers. Now, she has shared a few tips with us to get ahead in our professional lives and reject the pressure of an extroverted world.
Tip #1: Embrace Who You Are
Lorraine’s first tip for introverts trying to succeed at work is to start embracing all of what makes us who we are rather than trying to fight it or hide it. Introversion is one part of who we are, but a key in embracing our introverted selves is to focus on all of the other parts of us that have allowed us to succeed in our careers.
“If you're an introvert, chances are your whole life you've been told to speak up. You're not this you're not that... Instead, take some time and focus on what is right with you.”
Lorraine suggests we start by identifying our strengths so we can nurture them. If you are having trouble identifying those strengths Lorraine recommends the book, Strength Finder 2.0, as a great place to start. No matter how we identify them, focusing on exercising our strengths rather than hiding our introversion will allow us to create a more positive and successful mindset in all of the work we do.
Tip #2: Don’t Believe Other People’s Perceptions
People often have a pretty clear picture in mind when the word Introvert comes up. We envision the stereotypical introvert hiding out in a corner reading a book, refusing to look at or speak to anyone else. While there’s nothing wrong with curling up with a good book (sounds like my kind of morning!), Lorraine stresses that when we are thinking about our introversion, we don’t get too caught up in the stereotypes and perceptions of others.
These stereotypes and perceptions of others often limit us and don’t show the full picture of who we are, when the reality is that we are more than a stereotype. A great way to think about introversion and extroversion, Lorraine notes, is the way we look at left handed-ness versus right handed-ness.
“You're born with a natural inclination one way or the other. I'm right-handed, but can I do things with my left hand? Yeah I can, but... it takes more effort where it's much more natural and comfortable with my right hand.”
By looking at introversion as more of a natural tendency, we can focus on our skills and how to use our introversion to support those skills to move forward in our careers.
Tip #3: Intentionally Set Your Mindset
When we are constantly surrounded by reminders of how we’re not the extroverted leaders that often lead our companies and teams at work, it can easy to worry and feel discouraged as we go to meetings or collaborate on projects. Starting our day in this headspace can make an already nerve-wracking work event or project even more stressful. Lorraine recommends that we really focus on setting ourselves up for success by shifting our mindset to a more positive note and planning ahead for the challenges.
“How can I be heard? How can I be visible? You're not starting each day as a victim or as somebody that has a problem. You're starting each day in control of who you are in your mindset so that you can move forward.”
If you are an introvert and need support excelling at work, learn more about Boldly Quiet and Lorraine’s work by visiting her website here.