Dear Introverted Entrepreneurs, You're Not Alone... (even if you wish you were).
The age-old question, "where do you see yourself in five years?" asked by potential employers and distant family members, was never one I knew the answer to. However, it seemed I was always the one person at family gatherings who didn't want a business of my own.
The main motivator for writing off entrepreneurship was that I've always known myself as the most introverted person in my (not-so) "social" circle.
Like many of my colleagues in the creative writing industry, I prefer to tell my stories through prose and poetry, rather than hours spent talking. In fact, by doing the opposite and being the best listener in the room, I accessed the unlimited inspiration I needed to create intricate, deeply motivated characters and pass my advanced college fiction courses with flying colors.
All the entrepreneurs I knew would captivate every room they'd enter by being outspoken and undeniably confident in not only their ideas but themselves. And as much as I enjoyed listening to them explain how it's possible to juggle 3 businesses while still having time for cocktail hour, I knew I could never have that type of energy.
But then, something miraculous happened...
The introverted writer did something she never thought she could and transformed into a still introverted entrepreneur.
3 Healthy Habits for the Highly Introspective
There is power in the quiet, uncertainty of a thinker at work.
I'm proud of my introversion. It adds to the uniqueness of an overall understanding of my "self," whereas some experiences with introverted people can lead to a wide assumption that we are all too quiet or shy.
I believe the contrary to be true. So not just to the introverted women out there, but to all the "I'd rather be at home on a Friday night" kind of people, assume this...
"A quiet woman is at peace and about to change everything"
Also, I have 3 healthy habits for you to adopt during business hours, to fight off energy lows and a fleeting hustle mentality.
1. Honor your working hours
For many, introversion comes with those energy lows I mentioned. However, you can stave off those feelings by understanding what time of day you do your best work, and honoring those hours.
Let's take an average day in my work week as an example. I'm the most creative on Thursday's and Friday's, and I chalk this up to weekend excitement. This means that I can take the majority of my client meetings during the beginning of the week, and dedicate the later days to making big dents in my projects.
Also, I don't work a full 8-hour day. This is a luxury that many freelancers likely experience too, but I find that this is imperative in honoring my base ability to work well.
After my morning coffee and a flood of energy surging through me, I work for a few hours. Then, I stop for breakfast and maybe a long dog walk and pick back up when I feel the onset of motivation. This cycle of start, stop, start, stop has improved my productivity by tenfold.
If you're in the business of creativity, your time spent revitalizing your mind and spirit is just as important as hours spent clocked in.
2. When in doubt... hit a good power pose
The first time I had ever heard of "power posing" was in my "Introduction to College" course. We flicked through a PowerPoint of businesspeople holding over-the-top stances, and I thought there was no way I'd use this or it would even work.
This is one of those times where my younger self had no idea what I was missing out on. Especially during the years I spent tormented by performance anxiety and grade depending speeches.
Power posing gives me a last-minute confidence boost for everything I do with my business. New client calls, zoom meetings, uncertainty about deadlines... it's a miracle how one stance before my mirror can give me an entirely new perspective of myself and my skill set.
If you've ever smiled when upset, did it help you feel better? The same principle applies to power posing. Although this is not a solution for crippling anxiety and a fear of public speaking, it helps to practice when you're an entrepreneur who needs to exude confidence to gain more clients and sales.
So, next time you're looking for self-assurance in a pinch, stand up tall with your hands-on-hips, look up, and know that you own your success.
3. Practice pitching your business and yourself to friends and family
Unfortunately for the less outspoken, the competition amongst entrepreneurs is at an all-time high. Us introverts are competing with business owners who could take a microphone and captivate an entire audience, all while convincing them to spend their money.
However, this is no reason to be discouraged.
You may have all the words in your arsenal to write a speech that would out-sell and captivate more people than the entrepreneur on center stage, but the ability to communicate this, face-to-face, is the tricky bit.
Friends and family who are willing to challenge your growth and give you continued support are a great resource to lean on for practice.
Eventually, true performance confidence will arise and these 3 habits may be put in the past.