Updated: Apr 26, 2022
5 Steps to Build Your Confidence By Building Yourself
Introversion is not something to overcome or get rid of, but it is something to control so that you can extract the grand beauty of your own personality.
An introvert's life is often filled with naysayers, people who just don't understand introverts at all. You've likely heard some of the following at various times in your life...
Why are you so shy?
You are so aloof!
You are boring!
Do you not like people?
What a party-pooper!
Worse yet, you may hear a similar negative talk from yourself. Your introspective nature is one of your greatest strengths, yet it can be your downfall if it gets out of control.
I can't socialize like everyone else.
I don't have confidence in myself.
Why can't I be gregarious and fun like others?
Why don't people like me?
Why am I so exhausted after work?
This bi-directional attack on yourself, on who you are, is so destructive. Only you can turn the page and change the dialogue going on in your heads. Here's a 5-step method to take control and change your outlook:
Learn the Truth: dispel the myths of introversion in favor of the truth.
You are not alone. Introverts are half the population!
Introverts have wonderful strengths like listening and observation, planning, creativity, thoughtfulness, balanced analysis, and loyalty.
Progressive relationships and workplaces seek these very skills in developing diverse and successful teams and partners.
Empower Yourself: as you recognize your strengths, build on them, grow them, practice them, and apply them at work and socially. Does networking, social engagements, work meetings feel difficult? Don't follow the lead of others, of people with their own set of strengths that are often very different from your own. Lean on your unique talents to master these challenging areas.
Listening is Learning: you don't need to compete for airtime just because others do. Your listening and observational skills help you decipher problems and create unique solutions that others overlook.
Ready-Set-Go-Next: don't jump into meetings or socials unprepared. Utilize these 4 steps to understand what the event is and who will be there (Ready). Review any pre-read and prepare your comments for meetings or your questions and highlights for social occasions (Set). Join the event with energy and authenticity. Don't follow others but share your unique self with others (Go) and then follow up on meeting actions or social introductions to build credibility and develop relations further (Next).
Network Intimacy: large cocktails and socials are not typically an introvert's forte. Break it down and set 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 meetings or socials (meals, coffees, etc). It's much easier to develop rapport in a small setting. You can glide through chitchat and begin to share more interesting and personal information that will help develop bonds without subjecting ourselves to cocktail hour table hopping and business card-collecting.
Analyze Your Thoughts: it's natural, especially for introverts, to be reflective. No need to try to cut this thought process off. Often, new ideas and perspectives on work projects, life goals, and relationships emerge. But rather than let them rattle around and become negative distractions, get them out of your head. Write them down in a journal or even on sticky notes. Then you can ask:
Is this a positive thought (or negative)?
Can I affect or control this issue (or not)?
Is this fact-based (or emotional)?
If the answer is YES to these questions, put a plan together on how to develop the idea further, in your own time.
If the answer is NO, you have recognized them and may now find it easier to let them go so reserve your time and energy for what your can control.
Advocate for Yourself: all the above steps are important, but if you do them in a vacuum, you still feel subservient to the more extroverted culture that surrounds us. This leads to hiding, wearing a mask, and ultimately denigration of your own self-esteem. Rather than run from your true, wonderful self, embrace it. Share your introversion with your confidantes at home and at work. Proudly exclaim your strengths with co-workers, managers, and new social acquaintances. This fallacy that introverts lack confidence has been created by introverts who lack an understanding of their own strengths and further propagated by others who don't understand introversion and instead attach the wrongful myths of loner, wallflower, and anti-social. To combat this, you not only should embrace your introversion, but you should also advocate for yourself and others and set the record straight.
Play a New Tune: Introspection can often be your own worst enemy. Many repeat these voices until they become overwhelming. Instead, if you can put them in the right context and replace the self-bullying with positive, self-compassionate reminds like...
I've got this
my perspective is unique and valued
I'm not perfect but I'm impactful
I'm learning and growing and making grand efforts
Others don't set my standards for happiness and success, I do.
...then you become your best cheerleaders and can approach your dreams and ambitions with excitement and anticipation instead of fear and doubt.
Introverts naturally have to disseminate the reflections in their heads and develop the positive while relegating the negative. If you do this regularly, your strengths will shine through and your positive approach will pay off!
The great thing about this is no one else can control your thoughts. You, alone, have that power. It's time to take control of your own agenda!
Sharpen Your Social Skills Through a Hands-On Live Learning Experience
Daniel Findlay is offering an amazing course, "Advance Your Social Skills," starting April 4th. The live course includes 7 modules taken at your convenience during the 5-week period plus group discussions and 1-on-1 direct support from Daniel.