“Turns out my normal life is called “quarantine”. The only difference is I’m out of toilet paper now.”
I don't know about you, but every time I’m at a party I find myself retreating to a quiet corner, making friends with the resident animals, grabbing some of the chips and then quietly sneaking out of the door. And in the few times that I get cornered to chat with a new person it feels so awkward… like I'm trying way too hard. Don’t get me wrong because I love to party… at home, alone. So, you can imagine my elation with the stay-at-home orders at this time of the pandemic.
Back when I was a kid in school we were referred as being shy, today we’re seen more as being introverted, thanks to psychologist Carl Jung. Introverted people are self-aware and reflective – more comfortable in focusing on inner thoughts and ideas. At the same time, we embody the old adage “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”.
If you are one, it may be comforting to know that one-third of the people in the US are introverts. However, there is still a public perception about us having little chance to succeed. This could not be further from the truth. As an example, let’s take a look at a few of our well-known business leaders today who are considered introverted.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook
Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO of Amazon
Warren Buffet, President & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Elon Musk, founder & CEO of Tesla & Spacex
Steven Spielberg, movie director in Hollywood
We do have our own challenges – for the most part we are daunted by the idea of selling ourselves and our business ideas. Even so, the truth is that introverts make great business leaders and entrepreneurs.
As an introvert entrepreneur and a business coach, here’s a guide on how to succeed in business as an introvert.
Focus on your strength — we actually have a few of them that would be useful as an entrepreneur.
we choose our words carefully and skip the bulls***
because we like solitude, we have more access to our thoughts and creative ideas
we are able to process tons of information
we are good listeners
we think things carefully before acting
we are quite observant of environment and social subtleties
Get support, collaborate and delegate — there are things that you may not be comfortable doing, like in-person selling and meeting people. If these are not your strong skills, get a business partner who excel in sales. Or you may want to consider outsourcing these tasks to an independent contractor or an agency. Team up with other creatives that you feel comfortable with. Pick professionals that are able to complement your personality and skillset.
Overcome your fears — practice public speaking — get a coach if you feel you need one. It does get less frightening the more you do it. As for networking, you can choose to network 1–2–1. These make for more in-depth conversations, better relationships and can be more productive. Also, with most networking mixers now done virtually, you may find it less intimidating.
Take time to re-energize, reimagine and reinvent your business and ultimately your life. Use your alone time to assess things, to foster creativity and plan strategically.
Remember, you can be a successful business owner despite being an introvert. The important thing is to channel your personality in such a way that you achieve your business goals.