How to Get Ahead in Your Career As An Introvert [The Stress Less Show - Episode 34]

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>> Carlee: Are you an introvert trying to succeed in an extroverted world? You'll find out how to thrive as an introvert at work in this episode of The Stress Less Show. Hi I'm Carlee Myers. A stress management expert. One thing I hear day in and day out is that we feel like we've tried everything when it comes to stress management. We may have tried the mainstream approaches to managing our stress but have we really tried to get to the root of the issue. Each episode, I bring on experts and leaders not just put a Band-Aid on your stress but to actually get to the root. This month we're talking about job security and specifically this episode we're talking about how to get ahead in your career as an introvert. I brought on an amazing guest, Lorraine, who helps quiet leaders who are tired of pretending to be extroverts lean into their strengths so that they can authentically and effectively navigate complex and often very stressful business environments. So Lorraine, I'm so excited to have you on the show. Welcome.

>> Lorraine: Thank you.

>> Carlee: So I'm curious how did you get into this line of work?

>> Lorraine: So when I switched to being a coach, I asked myself who was I 10 years ago? And about 10 years ago, I was an extra or an introvert pretending to be an extrovert as a business professional and I was actually you know high performing and I had been identified to perhaps go to the next level and went through all this testing and was given the news that I was not the type of leader that my company values. It was there was soul crushing, it was the esteem crushing. I didn't even know... How do I go from being this high performer to now, all of a sudden, I didn't even know if I still had a job. And you know, how could I face my boss my peers knowing that they had discussed how I fell short of the company's defined leadership competencies. So as I struggled to get my career moving again, I I really felt my talents strengths weren't good enough. I began to have the mindset of I'm an introverted woman so I can't be successful without pretending to be someone else. And it continued to to color my thinking, behavior, and ultimately my results. And it became very stressful every day just to walk in to the building knowing that in order to be successful I'd be... I had to pretend to be someone I inherently was not. And I left at the end of each day discouraged and exhausted you know feeling stuck and undervalued. It really was was horrible. And so my story is not unique. So I really wanted to reach out to people, to introverts, who have attained some level of expertise in their organization and and are feeling stuck and stressed. And so that's how I got into this line of work.

>> Carlee: One of the things that really stands out for me when you tell that story is how exhausting it must be. I mean I know just pretending to try to like or trying to fit into certain crowds when I was younger like how exhausting it is to pretend to be someone that you're not.

>> Lorraine: Yeah I have a client who the first time I talked to him he said, "You know, I park as far away from the entrance to the building as I can because I know it's going to take me that long to get psyched up enough to go in the building." That's what it can be like

>> Carlee: Yeah wow. And I can't even imagine that it's like almost like a countdown. So like that yeah I'm like at a loss for words really imagining having to do that. You know I've I've had to do that a few times in my life and having to do that every single day. So what do you recommend? Like what are the steps that you recommend to your clients, to your readers, to take if we're an introvert in an extroverted world?

>> Lorraine: So first of all I say embrace who you are. This is a topic that I have a book coming out in a month or two that that's all about defining the mindset, developing the mindset of a success leader as an introvert. Embrace who you are. So invest in exploring and leveraging what is right with you. If you're an introvert, chances are your whole life you've you've been told to speak up. You're not this you're not that. Development plans at work are all about what you're not. And instead take some time and focus on what is right with you, what you are. I like to use Clifton's strengths for that. If you're interested in that, it's Strengths Finder 2.0 is a good book for that. But really take take out of the negative and look at your core. What are you good at? What's right with you? What do you bring to the table that's unique and special? Second I talk about in my book and it's something that I I have to refer to a lot myself. Don't get sucked into believing other people's perceptions of you because that's really just a stereotype. People think that introverts are shy wallflowers, need to be invited to speak up, need you know handholding at a at a social event. That's just not true. You know, if you're at this point in your career you have the courage to do and the skills to do what you need to do. So don't believe what others think.

>> Carlee: Would you do you have a definition that you would use for introvert? Or is this something that each. Each person has to kind of define for themselves?

>> Lorraine: So I use a very simple definition and in the easiest way to explain it is right handed and left handed. So 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's more awkward it's it takes more effort where it's much more natural and comfortable with my right hand. That's how I like to look at it. Unfortunately just like with you know years ago when left handed people you know got smacked on the wrists that they have the right with their right hand. That's sort of what's happened to introverts where it's it's not good enough to be an introvert or something that you need to compensate or overcome. But I like to keep it very very simple. What's your natural inclination as you navigate through the world?

>> Carlee: So if we if our natural inclination is to go on the introverted side, it sounds like we have because we're getting that slap on the wrist very often to be more extroverted. It sounds like there's some mindset where that... work that needs to happen to undo some of the things that we've been taught.

>> Lorraine: Absolutely. And I I really believe in at the start of each day just recalibrate and look at your day. What do you have going on? What are your challenges that you know you're going to have? You know try to plan for the unforeseen and... For example, one of the my nightmares is to be told you know 30 seconds before a meeting starts that I have to run the meeting. So what can I do to prepare for that just in case it happens? You know so and I really believe you need to start each day on the plus side which means being intentional and strategic about your day. Look at the meetings you have. Look at the activities you have. Who you're gonna who you're going to be interacting with and really get yourself ready and plan it. What. How can I show up differently at a meeting? How can I be heard? How can I be visible. You're not starting each day as a victim or as as somebody that has a problem. You're starting each day in control of you are in your mindset so that you can move forward.

>> Carlee: So it's really like wiping clean. Like cleaning, cleansing yourself of all that negativity that maybe isn't even yours to begin with at the beginning of every day. Showing up whole so that you can navigate the workplace as the strongest version of yourself and the most genius version of yourself and the best version.

>> Lorraine: Absolutely yeah.

>> Carlee: Oh my goodness so this has been incredibly insightful I know for me and I know that it will be for so many of my listeners, Lorraine. So if I'm an introvert at home, I feel like I'm more... I was gonna say right-handed versus left-handed, but more of an introvert and I want more information. Where can I find you on social media?

>> Lorraine: So I live on LinkedIn and so if you can search for Lorraine McCamley M C C A M L E Y or or Boldly Quiet. My company has a presence there as well and I post things about usually about weekly.

>> Carlee: Great. Great. Well thank you again so much for coming on the show.

>> Lorraine: Thank you I appreciate it.

>> Carlee: So this episode was sponsored by Boldly Quiet Consulting located physically in the greater Philadelphia area but available remotely anywhere. Boldly Quiet helps quiet professionals celebrate and optimize their leadership talents. To learn more, please visit Boldly Quiet dot com. This concludes this episode of The Stress Less Show and we'll see you next week.