This is a guest post, by the beautiful Tanja Gardner. She lives in New Zealand, although she spells like she’s British, and she’s an amazing writer who’s taking a powerful stand for introverts stepping regally into the full expression of their purpose in business.
I’ve already written several posts about my history with introversion
I’ve mentioned that, up until a year or so ago, I really didn’t know what being introverted meant. It wasn’t until I discovered that I fit the textbook description of an introvert that I stopped wondering if something was fundamentally wrong with me.
But even once I’d figured that out, it took me a while to realise that there are plenty of massively successful introverts out there. And that being introverted really doesn’t have to mean business failure.
All of those realisations are important… but they’re also not enough. It’s one thing to know that being an introvert doesn’t have to get in the way of my business success. It’s another thing entirely to figure out how to make my introversion work for me.
Things started to change when I realised that being introverted can help me serve my clients better
There’s no denying that being a natural extrovert can be a strength in business. But there are several aspects of client service in which we introverts tend to excel too.
Let me use myself as an example. I’m great at working through things on my own — a typical introvert strength. I’m pretty good at listening attentively when I remember that’s what I’m meant to be doing too. And of course, as copywriter, you’d expect that writing would be a forte for me, right?
Can you see how all of those things might help me serve my clients better? How my being able to get on with the job on my own once I’m clear on the parameters would be great for my clients? How asking the right questions and listening attentively could help the people I work with to get clear on what they need? And how writing clear, compelling copy could really help them get their message out to the world?
Even knowing my strengths, however, I still need to remember a few things if I want to run my business without exhausting my inner introvert…
Three recommendations for building a successful business as an introvert
The reality is that owning your own business can be exhausting, regardless of how introverted or extroverted you are. Because extroversion is the norm in our culture, however, we’re often taught to develop our skills, market ourselves, and make connections in ways that work for extroverts. Let’s face it: high-interaction group programmes, networking and cold calling are all pretty extroverted techniques!
There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those techniques… but they can compound the energy drain for introverts by an order of magnitude. So as you go about building your business and serving your clients, I recommend keeping the following three tips in mind.
Understand how introversion works… for you
The first thing to remember is that there’s no one right way to do anything… and that includes being an introvert. It’s great to know you’re introverted: but it’s important to remember that introversion is a tendency, not an absolute.
It’s also important to realise that introversion isn’t the only factor that makes up your personality.
The reality is that every introvert is different. Some folks can deal with small, quiet groups, but not loud, raucous ones. Others are fine one-to-one, but wilt in groups of any size. And yet others get a little drained by any kind of interaction (that’s me, by the way).
That’s why it’s so important to understand what being an introvert means for you. What kinds of situations and interactions drain you, and to what extent? And how can you rearrange the way you run your business to lower the day-to-day energy cost?
Understanding how introversion works for you is not about simply figuring out what drains you and then never doing it. Let’s face it, life would be pretty boring and colourless if we tried to avoid spending energy on anything.
That’s why, instead of just minimising your energy drain, it’s essential to know what resets the dial on your “energy tank” back to full. That way, you get to spend energy on the things that are most important to you, confident that you can always “charge up” again afterwards.
Some of the most common recharging techniques for introverts include meditating, reading, journaling, going for a walk, creating art, or listening to music. You might well have other activities that you love to do, knowing that they’ll replenish whatever the day has taken out of you. Again, there’s no one right way here either!
Of course, once you’ve identified your “recharger” activities, you also need to make sure you actually do them regularly. Otherwise, you end up not only burnt out, but also guilty and frustrated that you’re not looking after yourself!
Learn more about introversion and get support from other introverts
I’ve noticed that even though I know all this stuff about introversion, I still sometimes beat myself up for not being more like the extroverts I know. That’s especially true when I’m already low on energy. Sometimes, I don’t even notice I’m doing it.
When I realise what I’m doing, I find it REALLY helps to connect with other introverts and get their support. I may experience that support personally, i.e. through one-to-one conversations or discussions within introvert-focussed communities. But I also feel supported when I explore introvert-related resources: books about introversion, or training courses designed by introverts for introverts.
The key is to remind myself that while there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being extroverted, it’s not the only way to be. There are plenty of other introverts out there who know exactly what I’m dealing with… some of whom may even have a helpful suggestion or three for dealing with whatever’s exhausting me.
And that’s as true in my business as it is in the rest of my life.
Hi, I’m Tanja: a professional copywriter and word weaver over at Crystal Clarity Copywriting. I help introverted difference-makers like you figure out how to promote your offerings naturally, authentically and effectively. That means you get to make more sales, more clients, and more of your difference in the world.
Alternatively, if you’d like to know when I discover new introvert-related resources or post new articles on introversion, just sign up to my introvert’s announcement list.