A fruitful, busy career may demand back-to-back meetings with clients, group projects requiring constant communication, and/or public speaking in front of an audience of dozens. As a result, embarking on a typical path to success is not ideal for the archetypal introvert who generally prefers to work alone, needs to recharge after a flurry of draining activity and finds comfort in silence rather than a continual hubbub. But despite these less-than-ideal situations that are common when developing a career, introverts can still be just as ambitious and efficacious as the more outspoken and outgoing extroverts.
Here are seven tips to show how an introverted career woman can overcome her fears and achieve her goals:
Bookend your days with self-care: To follow this, simply making it a point to wake up earlier than usual. To have some alone time can make all the difference. Your entire day will feel more like you are giving and less like someone is taking.
Avoid small talk: Small talk is painful for introverts, and a meeting can be a breeding ground for small talk. As a result, meetings can actually be the least productive part of the workday.
To fix this, avoid this never-ending time for small talk by sending an agenda. Whether checking in with your business partner, your co-worker or your boss, encourage everyone to think through what they would like to discuss before they come in for a meeting.
Stay prepared for all environments: Ideally, one would like to work from home — alone. Or, maybe in an office where there are a few co-workers. But, realistically, that is not always the case. Sometimes you land your dream job but it is an open-office plan. So use the opportunity intentionally because connecting is a crucial part of career development.
Know what drains you: Identify what is exhausting, and adjust your work schedule to better navigate this stress. If Sunday looks like you will be engaged with people from 9 to 5, then perhaps booking something in your social/personal calendar is not the best. Avoid putting strain on the work/life balance and, in turn, avoid any type of resentment that could later come of it.
Stay involved, just in a different capacity: A successful career usually requires more than heading to the office in the morning and leaving in the late afternoon. There are professional social obligations: employee retreats, large-scale conferences, trade workshops, office parties and more. Rather than approaching each obligation with dread, volunteer the next time an event is announced. It will allow you to engage and still remain in control of where you are.
Networking virtually: Thanks to the magic of the Internet, networking does not need to take place in person. Social media has the power of connecting like-minded individuals with the click of a mouse or the tap of a ‘Follow’ — all without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Pause: Know your threshold and practice self-care by pausing. For example, make it a point to stop and assess your agenda before committing to anything, such as when a client asks to send something by the next day, yet you have also been invited to an event. Offer a follow-up within 24 to 48 hours when someone asks something of you. That slight pause will prevent you from overbooking or extending yourself.