Shame or Strength? Shifting Perspective To Find Your Power
I often muse that I’m the butt of a cosmic joke as an introvert in an extrovert’s world.
Usually this comment is met with a variation of <insert shocked face here> followed by some combination of “Wait... What?... No way...”
It’s true. I am an introverted marketing and communication professional. In the age of Instagram Reels, Vlogs and exhaustive public performance, I still get nervous sweats before walking into a crowded room and fall apart like a cheap watch on camera.
This secret shame haunted me for years as I clawed through my career. I loved my work and knew I had value, but there was this version in my head of how someone in my field looked - high octane, outgoing, shamelessly confident, and living to have all eyes on them.
Spoiler alert, I did not (still don’t) fit that mold. So I forced it. Fake it ‘till you make it. And, for the most part, I pulled it off - creating this character at the great expense and prolonged suffering of my poor introverted heart.
Then, it occurred to me that what I saw as a shortcoming may be a strength. Because we are never just one thing, I realized my introverted nature was a package deal that came with a fun bag of tricks including acute observation, attentive listening, profound sensitivity and, above all, empathy.
When I started to lean into all this instead of fighting it, the shift was cataclysmic.
Instead of trying to stand out among the masses at networking events, I opted for small groups or one-on-one meetings where I could be myself and genuinely connect with those around me.
Instead of vying to be the center of attention, I took a step back to watch, listen and read the room.
Instead of feeling like an imposter on the verge of being “found out”, I realized moxie is a skill that can be learned and, therefore, taught.
Instead of launching into directives and advice, when clients confessed they felt insecure or scared, I was able to say, “me too” and hold space for vulnerability, shared experiences and working towards confidence on their terms.
I found that by coming by myself honestly, I was able to be that much better as both a professional and a person.
Your turn. What are qualities or attributes you feel you need to apologize for or shy away from as an entrepreneur? Is there a way to shift your perspective to make these sources of shame into your superpowers? Say yes.
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