In a world that encourages boldness and sociability, the quieter ones may find themselves on the back-foot. Here is how to negotiate through your shyness!
Shy, weird, nerdy, lonely —
Introverts can be labelled with many unkind adjectives. If you are an introvert, you are most likely overlooked or ignored at your workplace. In a world that keeps emphasis on a person’s ability to network/promote; the inability to highlight your achievements may leave you in the lower rungs of corporate ladder.
Our schools, workplaces and other institutions are designed for extroverts. We like to think that we value individuality and feel comfortable with people who are bold & gregarious.
2 core reasons
A person’s introversion stems from 2 underlying reasons.
You don’t want to be the centre of attention and prefer to be in the mode of relaxation that simply involves spending time with yourself and those very close to you. Or,
You suffer from social anxiety.
The former one is completely okay since it’s a lifestyle choice but the latter basically means that you need to boost your self-confidence.
Suffering from Social Anxiety?
The fear of interacting with other people. At work, this translates to:
Hesitation to speak up during meetings
Fear of your ideas being rejected and
Lack of volunteering for things.
There are innumerable examples of people suffering from social anxiety and being innately introvert who have had successful careers.
Knowing that Deepika Padukone, Mahatma Gandhi and J K Rowling were all introverts at the centre of public attention suffering from social anxiety should lead you into a direction at this point.
Choose your career
Let’s be candid. You can’t be a sales person if you are an introvert. You need to choose a career that allows you time to work on your own and come up with ideas individually. While collaboration is important in most types of jobs, some roles demand less team-work and collective brainstorming as well.
Creative or analytical roles are ideal fields of choice for introverts. Look for positions in the world of art & design, writing, computer science, mathematics, etc.
It’s important to look at introversion as simply a way of life and not a shameful secret. Sometimes introversion can feel uncomfortable because instead of being who you are, you are trying to become a highly-visible, high-energy extrovert. It’s also important to remember that introverts account for a full third or may be even half of the population!
Leverage your skills
The fact that introverts speak less, by-default makes sure that they listen more. This allows them to learn of multiple perspectives and attack a problem with several viable and competitive solutions. These qualities make you ideal for leadership roles.
Introverts know what to speak and when to speak. Extroverts tend to go with the flow of the conversation while introverts have an easier time being focused.
Research has shown that introvert leaders have consistently outperformed extrovert counterparts. This is because more often than not, they are managing pro-active employees and can easily let their ideas bubble up to the surface and be implemented.
Last piece of advice
Always maintain transparency with your seniors in your workplace. Keep them informed of the tasks that you are performing and they will automatically stay updated about your achievements. If doing this on a daily basis seems non-productive to you, send out emails or use a project tracking tool like this one to keep them well informed. It’s also a good idea to put everything in writing. Leave a trail so no-one can take advantage of your silence.
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Cheers & hope these hacks will help,