Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln walk into a bar…sounds like the beginning of a cheesy joke and in reality, there’s no way it would have happened. Not because they’d be lacking for conversation, but because one thing these men had in common (besides their countless contributions to the world) is that they were all introverts. Yes, these noble, immensely intelligent men were among those often described by society as shy or quiet–not the types of people you’d typically find in a bar. It seems like an oxymoron when considering who these men were; how could an introvert become President? But if you take a closer look, you will see that although they don’t naturally gravitate toward the limelight, many introverts hold powerful roles just as successfully as their counterparts.
The accomplishments of the above-mentioned men can’t be denied and there’s currently no shortage of successful introverts with Tom Hanks, Bill Gates and J. K. Rowling joining the ranks. But with roughly ⅓ of people possessing this inward personality trait, it begs the question: How do introverts succeed in the modern-day, extroverted workplace? The road to success may vary from person to person, but these three habits can help lay a solid foundation:
They Pick the Right Job
One way an introvert puts a good professional foot forward is by choosing the right job. It sounds simple, but many people make the mistake of choosing a career based solely on income opportunity, giving little consideration to whether the job is a good match to their personality. For an introvert, making a conscious decision pretty much eliminates a career in anything along the lines of talk show host or telemarketer. But just because they aren’t inclined to conversing in front of a camera or talking on the phone a lot, doesn’t mean they can only function in a career that allows them to work alone. Introverts bring a lot to the table for any company and although they might not be the ones shouting out ideas during meetings, they usually contribute to the group in other valuable ways like researching and strategic planning, which makes them successful:
- Financial Advisors
- Graphic Designers
- Computer Programmers
- Animal Care Workers
The list goes on and on. Given that they are creative, independent, self-motivated and uber-productive, introverts are commonly the best asset a company can have and more than thrive in consciously-chosen careers.
They Tell People What to Expect
We all know communication is key in the professional world, but it becomes especially important when dealing with differing personalities. Two of the biggest mistakes people make are assuming others understand their needs and, likewise, assuming they understand another person’s. Assumptions are made when information is lacking, which translates to a failure to communicate. For example, someone that does better brainstorming with minimal noise might decide to close their office door to gain peace, but if they haven’t told their coworkers their reasoning, they run the risk of being mistaken as unapproachable or standoffish.
Although it’s a giant step outside their comfort zone, a successful introvert avoids potential misunderstanding by telling people what to expect from them. A simple conversation with their superiors or coworkers puts everyone on the same page and helps to avoid any potentially negative situations.
They Take Time to Recharge
There’s a good chance any self-proclaimed introvert has a space in their home that is their sanctuary; a place they can go to be alone with their thoughts. Maybe it’s an arts and crafts room, a whirlpool bathtub or a man cave–whatever it is, this place gives them the alone time needed to recharge their energy. For an introvert, social interaction can be draining, so being able to refuel throughout the day is crucial.
In a perfect world, every introvert would have their own office, but if that isn’t an option, a quiet space where they can go is the next best thing. Headphones anyone? A conference room, break room or even a bathroom stall can be a lifesaver on a particularly stressful day. Even better, heading outside for some fresh air or a little walk can give them the energy needed to power through the rest of the day.
It’s clear introverts have always been able to succeed in the professional world. Taking the time to choose the right career is a great start, but the work doesn’t stop there. Communicating with coworkers and getting necessary refueling time help an introvert balance their natural needs with the modern-day workplace environment.
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