This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sarah Herron on Episode 116 of the podcast to talk all about her story of being born with a physical disability, and how that shaped her into becoming the champion of self-acceptance that she is today by spreading messages of body positivity through her experience of leading a life full of adventure and authenticity.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the episode yet, please do! Because here today, I want to talk about something that quite a few of you have asked me about, and that is how to shine at work when you’re not quite as extroverted as the rest of the members on your team.
For many of us, being less outspoken than our peers can seem like a debilitating factor when it comes to progressing in our careers… but I’m here to tell you today that it definitely doesn’t have to be!
When the rest of the world seems like it just can’t stop talking or sit still long enough to get things done, those of us that border on the more introverted side of life have a ton of great opportunities to take the reins and rise to the top… because guess what? Just like our extroverted friends, introverts have a lot of great ideas and skills to bring to the table–they just do it in a different way!
But because I understand that “taking the reins” in the workplace can seem like a daunting thing to do (no matter how outspoken you are!) I want to help trim some of the stress away from that idea by outlining some ways that I believe being an introvert can truly help you succeed in the workplace. The more you’re able to celebrate what makes you you, the easier it becomes to let yourself shine.
Let’s get started!
As an introvert, you might find yourself sitting quietly during meetings so that you can consider different points of view and truly listen to your boss and your peers before forming your own opinions… And while this may not seem like a strength, it is!
Instead of jumping blindly into a conversation, introverts are able to slow down and form thoughtful comments that lend themselves to a balanced perspective of any situation. So in that light, if you find yourself more introverted than your coworkers, embrace your thoughtful side and follow your tendency to truly think before speaking.
If you have something to contribute to the conversation, own your thoughtfulness and speak up… because in a meeting marked by chit-chat and bouncing ideas around, one single insightful comment can make a HUGE impact.
Maybe you’re not a natural conversationalist, but if you’re like most introverts out there in the workforce, then chances are you enjoy writing and you’re able to articulate your thoughts through the written word better than most.
So in that regard, I want to encourage you to seriously play to your “quiet” strengths. If speaking isn’t your thing, let your expertise and enthusiasm for your career shine through your writing!
Social media is a great way to build your network and your reputation as a serious competitor in your field… but if that isn’t your thing, then blogging also offers some great opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and let your personality shine.
In a world that is constantly moving, the ability to remain calm and steady during a stressful situation is an incredible advantage… which is where introverts come in!
Introverts tend to exhibit a reserved, calm and steady presence by nature, and this can be a huge asset, especially if you’re an introvert working in an incredibly fast-paced and demanding field.
So when the going gets a bit rough, remember that having the ability to maintain your composure is something that will allow you to stand out in any company. The calmer you are able to act under pressure, the more trust and reassurance your boss and coworkers will have in you that you’ll be able to handle any challenge thrown your way with admirable ease.
If you tend to dread big events and the idea of networking, then you’re certainly not alone! This is something that tends to be true for most introverts and even some extroverts alike…
But here’s the thing: Networking and attending big events is often imperative when it comes to climbing the career ladder.
As an introvert, you can take some of the pressure of networking off of yourself by not comparing yourself to your more extroverted colleagues. Instead, play to your strengths as an introvert who (probably) hates chit-chat and meaningless connections!
Instead of trying to flit around the room during a big event so that you can hand out as many business cards as possible, focus on making just a few deep connections with those that you resonate with on a more meaningful level… and remember: It’s not quantity that matters, but quality instead.
One of the biggest reasons that I find introverts tend to be marked as “shy” or more reserved than extroverts is because they absolutely detest small talk… And to be completely honest, this is actually a really refreshing quality to have!
So in that light, I want to encourage you to take some time to identify your work-related passions. What aspects of your job, your company, or your field do you find most interesting? What gets you most excited when you think about your job and your career plans? Keep those in mind and use them as springboards to make connections with those that you hold mutual interests with.
A few ways that you could make connections is by emailing new contacts about news that is relevant to their work (and that you find interesting), engage your boss in a conversation about a new or recent trend in your field, or tell a new client a little bit about your story and why you decided to start your own business!
The point is that whenever you’re genuinely excited and feel passionately about something, people take notice. So say goodbye to the “small talk” that you hate for good and let your passions speak for you.
Do you consider yourself to be a little more introverted than your colleagues? Share some of the ways that you allow yourself to shine in the workplace in the comments below… And be sure to check out Episode 116 of Productivity Paradox so that you can learn some of the ways that you can embrace your perfectly imperfect self, no matter what!