Show of hands, how many of us have tried to do business the old time-y salesman way, knocking on doors, cold calling, and never missing an opportunity to network? And how many of us have ended up drained, burned out, and frankly, not having a whole lot of fun?
If you are not entirely sure whether you are an introvert, an extrovert, or ambivert (who combine the best of both worlds), Susan Cain of TED Talk fame created a personality test to determine just that.
Chances are, if you felt called to click on this article, you possess at least a few traits that fall on the introvert side of the spectrum. Maybe you are sensitive to overly stimulating environments, thrive in one-on-one settings, identify as introspective, or just really enjoy solitude and prefer to recharge in isolation (or, if you’re like me, you’re all of the above).
Since you’re here, you’re probably also an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, or someone with a side hustle that requires them to – trigger warning – put themselves out there. (I know, I know.)
Old paradigm business practices preach leaning in and showing up no matter what. There is obviously nothing wrong with any of these concepts, except, when you’re of the introvert persuasion, you cannot afford to burn yourself out doing things you were never all that interested in doing in the first place.
So what, exactly, is an introvert entrepreneur to do in a professional landscape that abounds with headlines such as “The Five Things Every Successful Entrepreneur Does Before 5am” and “Secrets of The Highly Productive (Hint, They Don’t Sleep, Like Ever!).”
The good news is: It’s almost 2020 and there have never been more systems in place that enable us quiet people to be seen and heard (thanks social media). If you’re ready to go down a magical rabbit hole — I mean, you are on the fullest — look up your Human Design type here (and if you’re a projector, check out Projectors Invited). Once there, go ahead and Google your introvert heart out, because aligning your business with your design is the new paradigm — and there’s a good chance you were designed to do things differently.
One of the most liberating things you can do for yourself and your business is to acknowledge the fact that what applies to someone else might not be your thing… at all.
There is no one blueprint for success. But there is (quiet) power in giving yourself licensing to be your true self at all hours of the day, not just when you proverbially clock out in the evening and until work begins again the next morning.
The bonus piece of actionable advice that comes with better understanding yourself is to practice discernment when you determine whose advice you actually take. Traditional business wisdom or even the knowledge dispensed by a role model or business coach may not be applicable to your unique energetic makeup.
By understanding yourself better and cultivating acceptance and compassion for yourself, you will be able to better leverage the traits that might not commonly be celebrated in the business world, but have contributed to making you an effective leader, creator, or collaborator.
And if you need a little extra inspiration to get those mirror neurons firing: Here is a list of some of the most successful introverts in history.
Nadia Gabrielle is a Human Design projector and total introvert who works with clients — many of them introvert entrepreneurs — from all over the world, clearing the blocks standing between them and their best lives. She naps a lot. You can find her at nadiagabrielle.com and at @_nadiagabrielle on Instagram.