There’s an analogy floating around that compares extroverts to people who can eat whatever they want and not get fat, while introverts have to ‘scrimp and save’ their energy when out in the world.
This is a big misconception: it’s communicating the message that introverts have it tough and will always struggle, while extroverts can have their cake and eat it too but the reality is, introverts and extroverts simply have different ways of gaining and using their energy.
The more extroverted you are, the more you gain your energy from time spent in groups or through external means. The more introverted you are, the more you need to bring that down to a slower, quieter place where you likely need (and enjoy) lots of alone time to feel your best.
In business, this might look like your extroverted friends and colleagues out and about, coming up with ideas, launching, tweaking, and launching again. They seem like they’re always on the go, in a way that makes you dizzy just watching it. But, introverts tend to move slower, be more introspective, and spend more time planning and thinking things through before launching them into the world. What’s important is that you find ways to play to your strengths in your business (and in life), instead of putting pressure on yourself to behave a certain way.
You may have spent a lot of your life wishing you were more outgoing or extraverted (based mostly on social beliefs), you might wish that you could create and launch products or services as quickly as your extraverted business buddies, but doing it in your own way and really honouring your introverted energy is so important. Focus on being in action every day by taking smaller steps and knowing that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
CREATE A BUSINESS THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Instead of following all the business ‘gurus’ out there, look at your strengths and put that quiet power to work. How can you create a business that embraces and highlights your introverted energy, and infuse that into the work you do and how you connect with people?
BE MINDFUL OF WHAT ENERGISES AND DRAINS YOU
This is as simple as paying attention to how you feel when you spend time with certain people, doing certain activities, going to certain events or places, and actively looking for more opportunities to do the things that make you feel good, whilst reducing those that drain you (or, at least, trying to balance them out where you can).
SCHEDULE IN DOWNTIME
If you’re on the go, running from meetings to clients to networking events, your energy will get completely zapped. Everyone has different points where they start to feel it (depending on how introverted you are) and balancing out all your high energy activities with some quiet downtime to re-energise is the best way to stay on top of your game.
GROW YOUR OWN WAY
You might see that huge followings and working with big groups of people at a time is best to scale your business and maximise your earning potential but maybe just the idea of trying to reach 100,000 people drains your energy. Instead, focus on your ability to deeply connect with people one on one and grow a solid and engaged community in your own way.
Katherine Mackenzie-Smith is a life and business coach helping introverts understand themselves, create businesses that light them up, and cut through the noise to connect with the people who need to hear what they have to say. Connect with her at katherinemackenziesmith.com