"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."
I've recently been watching The Apprentice. I'm not sure if it's on a TV near you, but it involves candidates bragging that they're going to give it “3 million, trillion % " and that the business world is about to be taken by storm with their amazingness.
Until recently, this was my view of what it took to be an entrepreneur. Loud, brash and prepared to crush any opposition in red, shiny stilettos.
But I've changed my opinion - I've had a huge mind shift about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Which is just as well really because otherwise I'd be applying for small jobs in darkened rooms with plenty of time to think.
You see, I've realised, as have many of you, that being an online entrepreneur is fantastic for us introverts. Because with this amazing tool we can reach out to our tribe in ways we could never have imagined a few years ago.
We can be ourselves. We can be authentic. And we don't have to act like idiots!
We can be successful in our biz as introverts
There have been times, I admit, when I've felt an intolerable pressure to be an extrovert.
From my mother’s admonishment, "Why can't you be less agonized, shy and awkward when you meet people?" (I've forgiven her, all bitterness was banished long ago about that!) to the pressure I've put on myself to attend parties that have only made me feel lonely,
For years I agonized about my withdrawn nature, I've seen it as a failure, a fundamental flaw in my character that I needed to work hard to overcome.
In my early twenties after graduating my first job was as a trainer in the HR department of a large insurance firm.
Getting to the stage where I could stand up and run courses in front of groups was a hard won victory (interspersed with being sick in the loos and quaking in fear behind the flipchart).
But I did it. No one laughed themselves hysterical at my attempts nor did I ever collapse in tears with “being in front of an audience” fear.
And I became skilled at making presentations. I even got to enjoy the feeling of exhilaration when a course went well.
I learnt to party with the best of them for short spurts, I became comfortable with small talk and I forced myself to confront social situations that once would have made me shudder.
Finally, it became clear that being introvert was not the same as being shy.
But now I recognise that I need periods of silence to recharge myself and that being constantly with other people can leave me frazzled, mentally and physically exhausted. And that’s totally fine. This is who I am.
I've finally accepted that this part of my nature, rather than being the hindrance to business success that I've always assumed it to be, now it can be what makes me.
Why being an online entrepreneur is so perfect for introverts
1. We're happy to spend time alone.
This is so vital because the skills of an online entrepreneur, getting to grips with the technology, digging deep to understand our strengths and experience so that we fully understand exactly how we can serve our clients, this takes quiet time, it takes thinking time.
2. We're willing to stick with it through all the setbacks and knocks.
As Einstein said,
"It's not that I'm so smart, it’s that I stay with problems longer."
Being an entrepreneur is about trial and error. Perhaps some people are brilliant enough to start a “quick off the mark” business and find their tribe instantly but for most of us, it’s hard work especially in the first stages. We have to show up consistently, we have to keep at it and resiliently tackle the setbacks, to not give up on our dreams.
3. Vast reserves of creativity.
Many introverts like to read, they love to explore new ideas and search for inspiration. They love to spend time making connections between what seem initially unrelated ideas and this makes them the inspirers and creatives of the world. Miss Creativity is very bad at turning up in loud places but prefers popping up and surprising you with a knock um down, brilliant idea in the shower, on a country walk, whilst you’re sipping a drink, gazing at the flames of an open fire.
4. Well thought out and executed
You may not get a rush job done by us, we like to take our time but what you will get is a carefully researched, thought through, meticulous product or service. Ok, so sometimes we can verge on the edge of stuckness with a tendency to procrastinate and overthink but we always strive to deliver quality.
And so all of these factors combine to the final, most important reason why we’re so brilliant at being successful online entrepreneurs. Once we build up the courage to get out of our quiet nests, to interact and stand tall and proud…..
5. We're great leaders
Throw out all your misconceptions about loud, bully leaders who motivate by fear, the ones who favour the “round everyone up and force them onwards with large cattle prods” sort of leadership. And heaven knows we’ve plenty of examples of this type of leader at the moment.
Because it’s the time of the quiet leader, the thoughtful, measured leader.
Introverts are not motivated by the need to shout the loudest, to have their say but rather are happy to listen to the needs of others, to give them the time to explore issues and problems and to discover their own solutions.
We're empathetic and give others space.
And this makes us great leaders.
It makes us great leaders because the people who can really make a positive difference to the world, the ones who can pull humanity forward to a more conscious, loving future, these are the ones who want to find their own power.
And to lead these people we need to help them discover their own internal guidance, to lead with inspiration motivation.
We need to give them empathy and space.
The world now more than ever, needs leaders to show the way by shining a light on the beauty in the world that could be possible. It’s about showing up and showing others the way forward.
But why is being a leader so important anyway?
You may have noticed that it's getting a little crowded in internet, entrepreneurial land. And if we want to stand out and create a successful biz (in our quiet, reserved way) then we need to be more robust about being willing to stand up as leaders, to be authentic and powerful.
We've got to be willing to call people to us and to show them the way through our own example by being authentic.
"Being a leader and creating a movement is not about making a buck. It's about transforming people's lives and creating a lasting and sustainable business in the process." Jenn Scalia
And as long as we can find the courage within ourselves to share our message, introverts have these qualities in bucket loads.
Our capacity for observing and listening to others means that creating a biz that serves the needs of others is easy-peasy second nature to us.
So this powerful tool, the internet that enables us to reach out is the unleashing of the introvert. It gives us the opportunity to reach out to very specific niches that are perfect for us, it provides the medium of communicating with others that is right up our street.
So I’m going to shout out (in a restrained way) that this is our time now, the time when the introvert steps into their own power.
Is it going to be yours?
I hope so because the world needs our messages and I look forward to seeing you up there as a leader, my introvert lovely.