If you are an introvert, thinking that you are not that successful at work, I understand you!
It may be a common thought at workplaces that introverts enjoy more significance and benefits. Still, the reason introverts tend to get more advantages at work is mainly due to their speaking abilities and confidence. While you might think that organizations rely more on extroverts, you might be surprised to know that introverts are no less than a gem.
American writer and lecturer Susan Cain says, “Everyone shines, given the right lighting.”
Being a self-described introvert, Susan adds, “It’s never a good idea to organize society in a way that depletes the energy of half the population. We discovered this with women decades ago, and now it’s time to realize it with introverts. And to our illumination, the world is considering this now.”
Employees and entrepreneurs who work hard to make things possible through their struggle and effort in the right direction can surpass those with extroverted personalities.
Numerous introverts around us have come a long way and did not let people take advantage of their introspection.
If you want success as an introvert, I strongly recommend reading the whole thing!
Let’s first tell you about an introvert who rules the world today!
What if I told you that the second-richest man is an introvert? It might come off as a surprise to you right now, but you can be there too!
Elon Musk has been crowned the wealthiest man ever, and he has never shied away from sharing his journey.
The billionaire owner of Tesla said in an interview once, “I’m basically like an introverted engineer, so it took a lot of practice and effort to be able to go up on stage and not just stammer basically… As the CEO, you have to.”
To take it from Elon, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” Succeeding at your workplace asks you to give your best, even if you think that extroverts are at an advantage.
What Stops Introverts from Performing at Work?
The only answer is, “Nothing.” Yes, nothing can stop introverts from performing exceptionally at work.
However, I cannot deny that there are times that extroverts in an organization overshadow less-spoken employees, leading to better opportunities. To find out how to be successful at work and in life as an introvert, finding out what halts the possible is important.
Here are a few things that you might need to work on to be a successful introvert at the workplace and in life.
If we talk about the most prominent differences between extroverts and introverts, confidence takes the lead.
Introverts are usually shy and are not as confident as extroverts are. While many people believe in this notion, it is not entirely true. Humans are built in different ways, and not everyone is supposed to be equally confident naturally.
People with an extrovert nature tend to present themselves better, leaving introverts feeling low about themselves.
But you need to know that introverts also can be as confident as others, just that it does not come off instantly.
As introverts, shyness is not only limited to presentations or meetings, but also conversations and brainstorming sessions.
I understand how difficult it is to find a way to avoid exhibiting your ideas in front of everyone.
Where does it get worse? When you communicate an idea to someone in solitude, they get the praises of presenting it in the meeting. Being an introvert naturally comes with being tight-lipped, keeping you away from a lot of chances that others might benefit from.
Introverts are not anti-social, but that’s how people see them. You would think that you go out with your friends and have the time of your life, how can someone call you anti-social?
But, realizing that people around you expect you to socialize beyond your friend circle makes you understand how others see it.
Being social is not entirely limited to having a set of people to hang out with, but to be sociable. Sociable is defined as “Someone who can easily socialize. He can hold long conversations with people.”
All of these attributes are natural to introverts and cannot be overlooked. Being shy, tight-lipped, or unwilling to socialize with people is a person’s personal choice and should not be imposed.
However, if you are sitting in your comfortable chair and searching for success at work and in life as an introvert, I believe you might like to change yourself a bit.
How to be Successful at Work and Life as an Introvert
Being an introvert myself, I understand that you must be wondering to yourself, “But, hey, I can’t change anything about being an introvert.”
It isn’t easy to be in a position that you do not have a say in. But when I say “apparently,” I want you people to know that you can make things easier for yourself at the workplace and social gatherings. It’s okay if you do not want to go out and greet and talk to everyone in the room.
But, there are a few easy-lemon-friendly tips that you can use to blend in with the extrovert squad at your workplace while being yourself!
Have you observed the person you most loved at work, talking to everyone with a big smile on his face?
You got it! Everyone likes him because of that smile he carries on his face.
Kenneth Branagh said, and I preach, “Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.”
Smile is the easiest way to socialize, yet the most effective one.
Why do you think that extroverts are more approachable and welcoming? They talk to people, and when their tongues don’t, their lips do the talking. All of us love to smile, so why not use it to make yourself approachable at the workplace.
If you think that only smiling is not enough and you need to do a little more, go for it! Make your bedroom your stage and practice in front of a mirror.
You talk to any successful introvert celebrity, and you will realize that all of them had one thing in common – practice.
They practiced for hours and hours to get one scene right or to prepare for one interview. But what matters is that they got it all right in the end!
If you have a crucial meeting coming up where you are expected to put something on the table – practice! Ask yourself questions and answer them confidently.
Work on solo projects
Pablo Picasso said, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” While we don’t mean that extroverts are not great at work, introverts are excellent too! Every employee at a workplace has a different work pace and gets their job done uniquely.
Being on good terms with your boss can be extremely helpful as you can ask them to allow you individual projects.
Once you prove your credibility on one project, they won’t hesitate to assign you another without a team.
Do your best on solo projects to keep away from team meetings and brainstorming sessions with other employees. Though it is not the best approach, it can benefit you while you practice being more confident.
Speak less, speak right
A proverb says that you should speak less, but speak right. And I sometimes wonder if it was especially meant for us, introverts.
It is not the number of words you utter, but the value they add.
Some people blabber all day at work and parties, but they make no sense. Whereas some others speak just once throughout and steal the show. You can be that “some.”
A very popular Bob Newhart saying goes, “I am a minimalist. I like saying the most with the least.” And why put more effort into saying it when you can outscore everyone with the least words.
Observe & Listen
Most people think that observation is natural, but it is not really. As compared to extroverts, introverts have better observation skills, and when used in the right way, this skill can benefit you a lot.
You can observe people around me and their work relationships to analyze how you can connect to some of them with minimal interaction. Observation and listening are a deadly combination to succeed in the workplace.
“Introverts are naturally adept when it comes to actively listening,” said Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms Beth Buelow, according to TIME.
“We tend to be the friend or colleague you can call on when you’re upset, or you have good news to share.”
When you are there only to listen, colleagues come to you to share their feelings and thoughts. It allows you to connect to them without much effort.
Evaluate Your Introversion, See if it’s a Lack of Confidence
It could be that your sense of introversion is somewhat of an actual lack of confidence.
Make no mistake about it – Introversion and lack of confidence are two different psychological traits.
Lack of confidence can result from being afraid of getting in the front row, and introversion would mean you wouldn’t mind sitting in the front row as long as you are not the center of attention.
There are many reasons people feel a lack of confidence in business and the workspace. Most of the cases show it’s because of two things:
- Lack of knowledge
- Low self-esteem
The best way to build more confidence is to start working on improving your work skills. When you get better at one skill (or more than one skill, but it is usually just that ONE skill you need to master), you automatically become a little egoistic. Being egoistically and taking pride in what you can do better than others isn’t necessarily bad.
It allows you to keep your head high. But you need to train yourself to understand when having an ego is beneficial and when you should be grateful. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you can be rude and look down on others. Learn to channel this ego and get it out when you need it.
Recommended Books for Introverts
These books won’t only help you overcome introversion for good, but also help you understand it. When you don’t understand something, it tends to scare you.
So, it is best to dive deep into the rabbit hole, read the following books, and understand it.
I recommend reading all three of these books in the above order. There are gazillion different books for introverts and on communication. Still, these are my top 3 picks.
Quite is a must-read. And how to win friends and influence people is a supplement, but it’s crucial to help you get out of your comfort zone. It will prepare you to take the steps and face the challenges mentioned in Crucial Conversation and Quiet.
While being introverted is hard in an extroverted society, always remember not to become someone you are not. However, using a few tips and tricks to communicate and connect to people can be highly beneficial and help you immensely at work.
Maya Angelou said, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”
Believe in yourself and give your best. And as I’ve already mentioned, “Nothing can stop introverts from performing exceptionally at work except themselves.”
And all you need to do is believe. Best of luck!