Do you ever feel like you are constantly comparing yourself to extroverts and their greater career success? The first move you must make is to stop comparing yourself to others. That just makes you feel smaller by contrast because extroverted personalities seem larger than life.
Introverts like us have our own treasure chest of unique gifts, talents, passions, and attributes. Once you get REALLY clear about your trademark purpose and one-of-a-kind value you’ll never play small again. You’ll realize that while time was passing you by you were too preoccupied with judging yourself by some other person’s yardstick.
Don’t compare apples to oranges. Extroverts don’t have the same skills and values that we introverts do. So bring your talent to the surface. Play your game on your own terms and you can play as big as you want to!
Are you asking yourself, “Can I become that dynamic leader? Can I really play a bigger game with my career?”
That line of questioning is all about doubt. That’s why I want you to step into your authentic self, beyond your imagined, preconceived limitations. Stop worrying about how you stack up against others. Start knowing who YOU are, and who you are not.
Here are my three steps for liberating your introverted personality to be the leader you are meant to be:
1. Constantly Exit Your Comfort Zone
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”
Nobody gets broad vision while looking down a narrow tunnel. If you keep plodding along, staying stuck in a familiar rut, you won’t gain clarity. You need to see yourself from above, in a new light, where the sky is the limit.
I’ve worked with thousands of people as a consultant, executive coach, and corporate trainer. I’ve also worked on the toughest client I’ve ever had, namely Sarah Hathorn, my own introverted self!
What have I learned from all that great experience? The ones who discover their turbocharged personal brands (especially the introverts) find them while living outside their comfort zones. Do we sometimes get scared? You bet we do. But after a while those fears start to feel like excitement. We know when that feeling comes that we are on the verge of a fantastic new opportunity. A door is about to blow wide open. We’re going to push past the fear into exponentially greater success!
Those of us who are introverts need introspective time and solitude so we can explore deep inside ourselves. Go deeper. Ask yourself “What do I really want? How can I take a step forward to achieve it, even if that means going outside the cozy cocoon of my unsatisfying status quo?
Leaders who live fulfilled lives have one thing in common. Being uncomfortable becomes their new normal. But it empowers them to lead in unstoppable ways that are anything but normal!
2. Dig Deep to Mine for Gold
The easiest thing in the world is to neglect your inner work. But self-discovery and self-awareness are the keys to the kingdom. As a personal brand strategist I’ve helped many introverts discover their true talents and trademark gifts. You have untapped resources and life experiences that set you apart in a wonderful way. But to leverage those as fuel for your career you have to get down to the real you. That’s when you will begin to live – and to lead – with a new sense of purpose!
3. Step Up & Step Out
How much energy do you burn comparing yourself to people who are more successful than you? Does that result in the inevitable self-blame game? You know what I mean, when the voices of your “Evil Twin Within” start harping on how you are not good enough. They tell you that you aren’t worthy or that you’ll never get promoted in the current economy.
Believe me, I know, because that is what held me back, too. But once I stopped putting energy into that kind of negativity, guess what? I had a huge storehouse of fresh new energy at my disposal to propel my career. Stop telling yourself it’s never going to happen because that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you quit sabotaging your own success you’ll realize that you’re actually in control of your career destiny.
We all need to whine and let off steam. But don’t make the mistake of reinforcing those naysayer ideas by sharing them with colleagues and friends. Save that for the confidential sessions with your career coach. I want you to shift gears from invisible to visible, with your unique brand message differentiating you above the crowd. That’s how you’ll market yourself upward and onward!
The difference between ordinary careers and extraordinary ones usually comes down to the small details. The ones who go big step up their careers by a few more notches. They hold themselves to a higher standard of accountability. They tiptoe a bit further out each day into the great unknown of their discomfort zone. Then they discovery what’s been waiting for them there all this time!
So if you’re an introvert like me seeking to become a dynamic leader, embrace who you are. Then unleash your gifts and power, starting today. Every minute and hour you procrastinate is one more day you’re playing too small. Step up into the spotlight! Claim your Predictable Promotion™!
Take Away Exercise
Here’s a great Predictable Promotion™ exercise that will have you apply these ideas right away!
Understanding what makes you different from your competition is important. But we don’t do that by comparing ourselves to others. Instead you get there by uncovering your hidden value-add.
- Make a list of those qualities that introverts have. Don’t think about you, just think of introverts in general.
- When I did this exercise I came up with things like introspection, a keen ability to listen and observe, and the ability to get rejuvenated by being alone.
- Next I want you to figure out ways that those qualities can translate into the attributes of a great leader.
- Iconic leaders, for example, don’t feel isolated and scared when they are “lonely at the top.” They get energy from that aloneness and solitude.
- Great leaders (and hardcore introverts!) spend most of their time observing and listening, not talking.
You get the idea. Do this exercise and see how it reveals some of your natural leadership gifts that you may have previously misinterpreted as shortcomings!
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
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