Being an introvert is tough. We’re made fun of. We’re misunderstood. We’re judged unfairly. We aren’t invited to parties. The list could go on and on. It is a rough life as an introvert…ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Maybe I’m over-reacting and over-generalizing.
Although all of the criticism we introverts receive is unfair and often unwarranted, I do believe that there are things that we should do to help ourselves be successful…especially in the workplace. It is not enough, I believe, to accept the label of introvert and then begin to use it as an excuse to not excel in our work. The world needs us!
So, here are 5 ways that introverts can use to succeed at work (as difficult as they may be for us):
1. Speak Up. Introverts far too often (me included) wait or don’t speak up at all. When we’re in group settings, it’s easy for us to fall into the shadows and begin to over-analyze everything that happening and everything that’s being said. I want to encourage you to speak up. Talk first. When the question is asked, be the first to give a response. In fact, give the first response that pops into your head – before you can over-analyze it. You might be surprised how good your gut reaction to issues actually is!
2. Join In. Are you the one who stays behind when other go out for lunch because you want/need to be alone for that hour? Stop it! Ok, fine. You can stay behind. But, also join in! Be with the team. You’ll quickly see how your presence will help you feel like a bigger part of the team and will solidify your position within the team. Joining in is a great way to get your voice heard in different settings, which is a good by-product as well.
3. Take Risks. I’ve written about leaders and the risks we need to take before. But, what I mean here is that you should take the risk to put yourself out there. Take personal risks that you may not feel naturally inclined to do. Tell a joke. Plan an event. Attend a party. Pick up the phone and call someone. Be yourself. I find that I am so averse to risk that I become fearful of letting people on the inside of my life and just…being myself. Taking personal risks in this way will make you more personable to those around you and that will only benefit you and the success you experience.
4. Make Friends. Introverts are notorious for having only a small circle of friends that others are brought into only once every 20-25 years. I think I may be exaggerating again. But, making new friends can be tough for introverts. Make it your goal to make a new friend. Put yourself out there and invite them to have coffee or lunch sometime. You should be the initiator to make the friendship happen. But, don’t go crazy and make like 2 or 3 friends. One should be plenty for the next decade. Friends make us all better and they hold the place in an introvert’s life as being someone that brings many good things.
5. Stand Out. I left this one for last because it may be the most difficult. But, I want to challenge you to stand out. Be different. Don’t blend in. Don’t fly under the radar. Do something that draws attention to you and the work that you do. I believe that if you do the first four here, you’ll be well on your way to standing out. But, commit to do one thing next week to stand out…you’ll be glad you did!
Which of these is the toughest for you? Will you take my challenge? Comment below and let me know…