How to Get Ahead in Your Career As An Introvert [The Stress Less Show – Episode 34]


Are you an introvert trying to
succeed in an extroverted world? You’ll find out how to
thrive as an introvert at work in this episode of The
Stress Less Show. Hi I’m Carlee Myers. A stress management expert. One thing I hear day in and day
out is that we feel like we’ve tried everything when it
comes to stress management. We may have tried the
mainstream approaches to
managing our stress but have we really tried to
get to the root of the issue. Each episode, I bring on
experts and leaders not just put a Band-Aid on your
stress but to actually get to the root. This month we’re talking about job
security and specifically this episode
we’re talking about how to get ahead in your career as an
introvert. I brought on an amazing guest,
Lorraine, who helps quiet leaders who are tired of
pretending to be extroverts lean into their
strengths so that they can
authentically and effectively navigate
complex and often very stressful business
environments. So Lorraine, I’m so excited to
have you on the show.
Welcome. Thank you. So I’m curious how did you get
into this line of work? So when I switched to being a
coach, I asked myself who was I 10
years ago? And about 10 years ago, I was an extra or an introvert
pretending to be an extrovert as a
business professional and I was actually you know
high performing and I had been identified to perhaps go
to the next level and went through all
this testing and was given the news that I
was not the type of leader that my
company values. It was there was soul crushing,
it was the esteem crushing. I didn’t even know… How do I go from being this
high performer to now, all of a
sudden, I didn’t even know if I still had a job. And you know, how could I face
my boss my peers knowing that
they had discussed how I fell short of the
company’s defined leadership competencies. So as I struggled to get my
career moving again, I I really felt my talents
strengths weren’t good enough. I began to have the mindset of
I’m an introverted woman so I can’t be successful
without pretending to be
someone else. And it continued to to color my
thinking, behavior, and ultimately my results. And it became very stressful
every day just to walk in to the building knowing
that in order to be successful I’d be… I had to pretend to be someone I
inherently was not. And I left at the end of each
day discouraged and exhausted
you know feeling stuck and
undervalued. It really was was horrible. And so my story is not unique
. So I really wanted to reach out to
people, to introverts, who have
attained some level of expertise in
their organization and and are feeling stuck and
stressed. And so that’s how I got into
this line of work. One of the things that really
stands out for me when you tell that story is
how exhausting it must be. I mean I know just pretending
to try to like or trying to fit into certain crowds
when I was younger like how exhausting it is to
pretend to be someone that
you’re not. Yeah I have a client who the first time I talked to
him he said, “You know, I park
as far away from the entrance to the
building as I can because I know it’s going to
take me that long to get psyched up enough to go in the
building.” That’s what it can be like Yeah wow. And I can’t even imagine that it’s
like almost like a countdown. So like that yeah I’m
like at a loss for words
really imagining having to do that. You know I’ve I’ve had to do
that a few times in my life
and having to do that every single day. So what do you recommend? Like
what are the steps that you recommend to your
clients, to your readers, to take if we’re an introvert in an
extroverted world? So first of all I say embrace
who you are. This is a topic that I have a
book coming out in a month or two that that’s all about defining the
mindset , developing the mindset of a
success leader as an
introvert. Embrace who you are. So invest in exploring and
leveraging what is right with
you. If you’re an introvert, chances
are your whole life you’ve you’ve been told to
speak up. You’re not this you’re not
that. Development plans at work are
all about what you’re not. And instead take some time and
focus on what is right with you, what you
are. I like to use Clifton’s strengths
for that. If you’re interested in that,
it’s Strengths Finder 2.0 is a good book for that. But really take take out of the negative and look
at your core. What are you good at? What’s right
with you? What do you bring to the
table that’s unique and special? Second I talk about in my book and
it’s something that I I have to
refer to a lot myself. Don’t get sucked into believing
other people’s perceptions of you because
that’s really just a stereotype. People think that introverts
are shy wallflowers, need to be invited to speak up
, need you know handholding at a at a social event. That’s just not true. You know, if you’re at this
point in your career you have the courage to do and the
skills to do what you need to do. So don’t believe what I think. Would you do you have a
definition that you would use for introvert? Or is this
something that each. Each person has to kind of
define for themselves? So I use a very simple
definition and in the easiest way to
explain it is right handed and left handed. So you’re born with a natural inclination one
way or the other. I’m right handed, but can I do
things with my left hand? Yeah I can, but
it’s more awkward it’s it takes more effort
where it’s much more natural and
comfortable with my right
hand. That’s how I like to look at
it. Unfortunately just like with
you know years ago when left handed
people you know got smacked on the wrists
that they have the right with
their right hand. That’s sort of what’s happened to
introverts where it’s it’s not good
enough to be an introvert or something that you need to
compensate or overcome. But I like to keep it very very
simple. What’s your natural inclination
as you navigate through the world? So if we if our natural
inclination is to go on the introverted
side, it sounds like we have because we’re getting
that slap on the wrist very often to be more
extroverted. It sounds like there’s some
mindset where that… work that needs to happen to
undo some of the things that we’ve been taught.
Absolutely. And I I really believe in at the start of each day just
recalibrate and look at your day. What do you have going on? What
are your challenges that you know you’re going to
have? You know try to plan for the
unforeseen and… For example, one of the my
nightmares is to be told you know 30
seconds before a meeting starts that I have
to run the meeting. So what can I do to prepare for
that just in case it happens ? You know so and I really
believe you need to start each
day on the plus side which means being intentional and
strategic about your day. Look at the meetings you have. Look at the activities
you have. Who you’re gonna who you’re
going to be interacting with and really get yourself ready
and plan it. What. How can I show up differently
at a meeting? How can I be heard? How can I be
visible. You’re not starting each day as
a victim or as as somebody that has a
problem. You’re starting each day in
control of you are in your mindset so that you
can move forward. So it’s really like wiping
clean. Like cleaning, cleansing
yourself of all that
negativity that maybe isn’t even yours
to begin with at the beginning
of every day. Showing up whole so that you can navigate the workplace as the strongest version of
yourself and the most genius version of
yourself and the best version. Absolutely yeah. Oh my goodness so this has been
incredibly insightful I know for me and I know that it
will be for so many of my
listeners, Lorraine. So if I’m an introvert at home,
I feel like I’m more… I was gonna say right handed
versus left handed, but more
of an introvert and I want more
information. Where can I find you on social
media? So I live on LinkedIn and so if you can search for
Lorraine McCamley M C C A M L E Y or or Boldly Quiet. My company has a presence there
as well and I post things about
usually about weekly.
Great. Great. Well thank you again so much
for coming on the show. Thank you I appreciate it. So this episode was sponsored
by Boldly Quiet consulting located physically
in the greater Philadelphia area but available remotely
anywhere. Boldly Quiet helps quiet
professionals celebrate and optimize their leadership
talents. To learn more, please visit
Boldly Quiet dot com. This concludes this episode of
The Stress Less Show and we’ll
see you next week.

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