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You don't need to be extroverted to be successful or happier

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Articles and opinions telling me how I should be more extroverted to be successful in business frustrate me.

There are so many and even the ones that are supposed to be championing us introverts are still using the same old descriptors, shy, quiet, anti social……for the love of god please hear me when I say - Introverts are phenomenal, can be loud, ambitious, strong and love meeting people. Ok so we might have to hibernate for a day or two after doing all that but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to! I am not quiet but I LOVE quiet.

Introverts are amazing business owners and amazing people!

Research seems to be finally figuring it out that we don’t have to be more extroverted to be happier - come on, you really think that’s news to us? Why would we to change who we are. Of course we want to learn new ways of doing things, but that doesn’t mean we want to be more extroverted. We like being who we are. I love that I can spend time alone and come up wth ideas and the answers to things I have been overthinking for days. I love that feeling after I have actually been to a networking event when I get home and kick off my shoes, put my pjs on and feel proud to have met some new interesting people and told them about what I am up to. I love challenging myself to do the things I think I can’t only to realise I can actually do them and if I can do this then nothing is out of my reach.

Please don’t let your introversion stop you doing anything if you want it that much. If you don’t and you are happy to chill out at home and stay in your comfort zone then that’s fine too. It’s all about what YOU want that matters and that might mean stepping up and out of that comfort zone!

Asking or expecting somebody to change what is fundamental about them like their personality, is never going to make anyone happier.

Now I am the biggest believe in change. I was a Probation officer for years and also worked with some very vulnerable and challenging young people so I know that believing in change is part of who I am. It is possible for everyone. But this is about change that is welcomed or craved. Saying things like ‘introverts will be more happier if they are more extroverted’ is like the craziest thing I have heard. I am happiest to be me. Yes I am happy to push and challenge myself because that’s part of my personality too! It has nothing to do with me being an introvert. Introversion is about energy and I get my energy from being alone it’s as simple as that.

There is a massive difference between changing WHO you are and challenging yourself to do things you THINK you can't. The things you actually WANT to do.

Introverts are great leaders.

Now someone recently said to me “No we are looking for strong dynamic and entrepreneurial types - not introverts!”. Oh really. Well check out some of the great leaders in the world to realise that this belief is just nonsense and so outdated. I consider myself to be all of these things and I bet you do too.

Working for yourself, building your own business and being ambitious will mean (regardless of personality) that you will have to push yourself to do things you haven't done before. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. But not everyone will or can be a leader and that is something you have to decide for yourself - are you ready to lead or follow?

It's not easy but it can be so worthwhile and not just have a massive impact on your business, but also massively boost your own confidence too. For instance I have supported women to step up and tell more people about how great they are at what they do and what they stand for, despite them feeling 'cringey', because we worked together to find a way that felt GOOD to them. You don’t have to do it the way ‘extroverts’ have done business over the years.

You have the chance to carve out your own path. Do that.

**Gemma Stow works with female leaders who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find what is getting in the way of putting themselves forward and creates a space for them to explore who they really are and who they want to become.  As well as high level private coaching, she runs Introverts Talk Biz events where women come together to share ideas, struggles and make plans. More info on the next one HERE. Or book in a chat with Gemma if you are looking to increase your confidence so that you can do the things you keep telling yourself you can’t do **

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Am I an introvert and why it matters in business?

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So many people say to me “ you don’t need to label people we are all different”. Of course I know this already. Having worked in the public sector in probation, and with young people with different challenging behaviour there can be nothing worse than being labelled and being put into a box that is a one size fits all scenario!

But labelling can also have it’s benefits.

For years I used to think that I didn’t measure up. Questioning myself why couldn’t I be more like ‘her’, love public speaking, oozing confidence, full of charisma, the life and soul of the party?

It’s really important in business that you figure out who you are and get really clear on what you can do, what you think you can’t do and what you really want to do.

People often tell me that people that there is no need for labelling and who cares if you’re introvert or extrovert personality, but of course it does matter as it’s all about who you are and what you like to do and enjoy to do, rather than having to always feel like you’re not good enough because you don’t do things in a certain way and that is often the case for introverts.

Business is about telling others about what you do.

You know business is about the selling, marketing, visibility, putting yourself out there and at the same time all those things can scare the hell out of introverts because it’s doesn’t always appeal to us. However the only reason it scares us is because we associate all these things with being big, loud and in your face. When they really don’t need to be.

I know a lot of introverts that are amazing at selling because they do it in a way that feels good to them. They make real connections with people, build relationships get to know their customers. You just have to find the way that works for you not against you. I’m all about you finding out what your superpowers are and using them to your advantage in your business.


Am I an introvert?

So the traditional way to decide about your personality is to do the old school personality tests. I’m sure you’ve heard of Myers Briggs and other kind of personality questionnaires that you can spend time filling in your preferences and then it will come back and tell you what kind of personality you’ve got and what your strengths and your weaknesses are and all that kind of stuff.

If you’re interested here a few links to some of the personality test that you can take to see what you’re kind of personality is and they can be quite enlightening actually and when you read things about yourself like that makes sense under things start to fall into place for you. Check out Susan Cain’s or Sixteen personalities to start with.

It might also make you realise you know where some areas in your business needs some work. You know you are the expert at what you do for work, however there are always things in business that we avoid because they just don’t feel good are they not aligned with our personality.

So I am an introvert, what now?

Well now is the exciting part you get to look at all the areas of your life and see where your strengths are and how you can play on those strengths and use them to your advantage in business. It is all about looking at the things that you’ve previously decided aren’t for you and maybe to take a new perspective on them. For example a business owner downloaded my free guide on how to network even if you are an introvert and hate talking to strangers. After that she got in touch and told me the impact that had on her networking journey. She had started to regularly attend a local event. She has now spoken at that event and won an award for her business. From telling herself that networking wasn’t her thing to actually finding the right one for her has been a massive game changer!


So why not think of three things and figure out what it is but you need to focus on more in your business to really get the results you’re after. What have you been avoiding and telling yourself it isn’t your thing? Take a new perspective on it - how can you use your strengths to make it work for you?

I couldn’t find a networking event that really worked for me - so I started my own ‘Introverts Talk Biz’ and I haven’t looked back. The feedback has been incredible. One women said it was a like ‘coming home’ and she realised she could actually enjoy networking.

Here are three things you can think about….

  1. Where do your clients come from and are you actually being visible in that area? Just because it doesn’t necessarily float your boat - it might float your clients? Can you make it work?

  2. Figure out what makes business fun for you? It’s all about enjoying what you do - so take stock of your business model - does it actually serve you?

  3. Make sure you factor time in your diary to re-energise. If you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by going to networking events, showing up online etc you need to factor in some time alone to get your energy back. If you don’t do this you and keep pushing without time for yourself you start to become exhausted and feel negative towards your work, which could reinforce that you shouldn’t be doing the things you doing, when actually a lot of good and positive things can come from it.

When people tell you that it doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert or someone in between, it actually really does matter and it really matters to your business and the success you want. Don’t hold back from trying different things - it might just be that you need to do things in your own way!

So maybe it’s about time you figured out what this means to you and how you can use it to your advantage. Figure out what your true strengths are and have some fun in business, it doesn’t have to be stressful and yes it will be hard work, but building a business is a rollercoaster so why not find the fun in everything you are doing instead of feeling scared or avoiding it.

Figuring out that you’re an introvert in business can be the best thing that ever happened. Let me know how you get on.

**Gemma Stow works with female entrepreneurs who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find their fierce and take that all important action.  As well as private coaching, she runs a membership called Club Fierce that gives that personal touch to women who are looking for support, accountability and an environment that breeds self belief and results.  More info HERE. Or book in a chat with her if you are looking to increase your confidence in different areas and find your inner fierce **

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But introverts don't do business do they?

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This was actually said to me today whilst I was chatting to somebody about being featured in the Yorkshire Post about my new face to face events for female introverts in business. 

 

"But introverts don't do business do they, aren't they too quiet?"

Wow.  I was pretty stunned as this came from a business owner I respect, but who obviously didn't have a clue about what introversion even means.  The next comment was indeed "so can men be introverted?'.  Oh dear.

 

It feels like there is a long way to go to educate people on what introversion actually is all about.  

The day before I was told that introverts are the worst listeners because they are too busy listening to themselves.  WTF.  Listening is my superpower and is what makes me a great coach to hear others on a different level, and not only hear the words, but also hear what lies beneath them as well.  It takes the concept of listening to another level.

But as I push forward on my mission to prove female introverts need to stop hiding because they have more than enough to be amazing at making real differences to others lives, I will definitely be up against more misconceptions for sure!  I mean I get told time and time again that I can't be an introvert because of my presence on social media.  Say what?

 

So I wanted to start by saying that introverts do business and do it really well. 

And if you still need convincing you only need to look at the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and what about the ladies... Rosa Parks, JK Rowling, Emma Watson and Marissa Mayer.

It is also important to understand why you should get to know your own personality traits and how empowering that can be.  Lots of people tell me not to label as they are not useful.  I have spent most of my career trying my best not to label others and put them into boxes - however something happens when your own level of self awareness increases - you get your power back.

You start to recognise your strengths and skills that you just took for granted because you've always had them, they are a part of you. 

And actually these should be explored, developed and celebrated.  

 

I am not naive to think there isn't a darker side. 

Getting to know yourself means you could fall into the trap of using your introverted personality as an excuse not to do all the things that feel uncomfortable to you or zap all of your energy.  When actually to build your business you need to consider how you will make it work for you.  After all business is about identifying the things you think you can't and doing them anyway.

I know this from first hand experience of pushing my team to do the things I didn't want to do.  Things like selling, presenting, networking, making new connections, making phone calls, pitching, promoting and all that stuff, you get the picture. 

 

But I learnt quite quickly that nobody can sell my business like I can. 

I have the passion and that can't be replicated.  And you can't be either.

For too long business has been focused on the more extrovert personalities - and we have all been led to believe that this is what makes a business successful and that we have to be more 'extroverted' to win.  So much so, that it often puts off introverts from starting a business in the first place.

 

These are outdated, misleading conclusions derived from personality tests produced decades ago. 

I have experienced that the opposite is quite often more of a truer picture.  That introverts can use their super powers to be amazing at selling, presenting and promoting themselves and their business.  To avoid the fluffy crap that is often associated with pushy or cheesy sales, or drawn out boring presentations, and actually make real business connections in networking that will go somewhere.

So the next time you hear that introverts are too quiet or shy to be good at business, or even if you are telling yourself that - please remind them (and you) that in your face, intense energy, loud voices, small talk and big ego's don't always win the race. 

You have all you need to start and that's the most important part.

 

Never underestimate the power of an introvert's silence. 

It doesn't indicate nothing is happening.  It indicates everything is happening. 

And you can't even see it, yet.

 

 

**Gemma Stow works with female entrepreneurs who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find their fierce and take that all important action.  As well as private coaching, she runs a membership called Club Fierce that gives that personal touch to women who are looking for support, accountability and an environment that breeds self belief and results.  More info HERE. **

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