As an entrepreneur, you typically start out on your own. Maybe you have an idea or a grand vision, and are fine-tuning exactly what the mission of your company is, how to communicate it your target market and how to bring it all to life. In essence, being an entrepreneur all starts in your head. A company starts out as nothing but a thought. Introverts tend to spend a bit more time in their heads than the average extrovert or ambivert.
People oftentimes confuse introversion with shyness. Introversion is nothing more than where you get your energy from. Carl Jung coined this term in 1921, and states that an introvert gets his or her energy from solitary activities. Maybe it’s reading, writing, going on a job, creating music. The key here is creation. While any personality type is capable of exercising their creativity, introverts are especially prone to creativity. The time the average extrovert takes to hang out with friends or other high-sensory, stimulating activities, the introvert is just as actively recharging or engaging with their imagination.
There’s a yin and yang like quality to introverts and extroverts. Introverts create and extroverts market and sell what’s created. It’s not to say that an introvert can’t be an amazing salesperson, or a fantastic networker. It’s just that they’ll have to spend more time recharging between in person meetings. Introverts can be confident, and portray genuine excitement about a project or person they’re passionate about. Introverts can rock a keynote address, sales funnel and entrepreneurial venture.
I got to chat with Stephanie Thoma, networking strategy coach, and founder of The Confident Introvert to ask her how introverted entrepreneurs can lean in to their natural tendencies. From 2016-2019 Thoma attended and hosted over 650 networking events and knows first hand what it’s like to become desensitized to social anxiety and get to a place where she now feels like she can speak to anyone. Here are Thoma’s reasons for loving your introverted entrepreneurial self.
Make Time To Recharge
Some introverts are commonly mistaken for an extroverts because they can adapt and become comfortable on stage and striking up conversations with strangers. What people don’t see is the time these introverts spend alone recharging. Thoma’s forthcoming book (available in June 2020) will delve into the topic of balancing time spent socializing and in solitude further.
Introverts Handle Rejection Well
Entrepreneurs often face a lot of rejection. Rejection and people not ‘getting it’ comes with the territory of bringing something new into the business world, whether it be a disruptive new technology or an upgraded iteration on an outdated appliance. Luckily, introverts often have their sense of confidence coming from within, intimately knowing their perceived strengths and weaknesses for themselves. This makes many introverts resilient to rejection, and it’s not uncommon for an introvert to be relatively unmoved by harsh criticism or immense praise.
Introverts Can Become Human Connection Experts
Introverts can overcome and manage social anxiety by making networking and meeting new people a common practice, ensuring they take the time they need to recharge. Thoma believes that being an introvert prepares one to become a human connection experts. Why? “Because we’re hardwired to observe, introspect, and deeply know ourselves. Knowing yourself is the basis to truly knowing others.” says Thoma. Like with love, relationship experts will tell you that if you don’t have self-love, you can’t possibly love another person. You cannot give someone what you don’t already have.
Introverts Tend To Be More Self-Knowing
Self-knowing is a similar gift that we use as the starting point to being able to not just have small talk and be cordial with the people we meet, although that isn’t entirely outside of our wheelhouse, introverts thrive on the types of connections that dig below the surface. Instead of asking what somebody does, they’ll inquire about why they do it. What inspired them to take that path? What was the one main catalyst to the professional life they lead today? This allows an introverted person to quickly connect with another.
Introverts Foster Deep Connections
How we can ensure you’re relating well with others is to be aware of their comfort level with the level of depth you’re seeking to go into. We can do this with a simple “hello,” and starting on a more surface level, gradually deepening the conversation, being aware of nonverbal and verbal indicators of comfort. If someone looks away or gives one-word responses, they may not want to engage in the way you’re engaging with them. Alternatively, if their eyes widen with a smile and they lean in and tell you a story, there you have it, you’re sparking a deeper connection. Keep going! Remain adaptable and observant. Deep connections with high quality versus quantity are the most memorable, and valuable.
Then remember to take time alone to recharge those batteries before getting back out there!