I learned an important lesson, for my life and my work, from seeing a pair of black swans one day.
I was looking at a pond and saw two black birds that looked like swans but… I was so struck by the unexpected color. I had never heard of a black swan until that day.
They had such an impact on me, even though they were doing nothing but sitting there quietly. (Notice quiet and big impact in the same sentence!)
I realized the black swan
has a message for us:
We need to stop trying to fit in with the white swans (which we are all doing far more than we realize and it’s exhausting). Instead we can be our unique “black swan” selves in order to have the real impact we are craving. And we don’t need to make a lot of noise to be noticed.
I was once a wallflower and an overly self-conscious “good girl,” but I also craved having a voice and having a positive impact.
I found my way out of that shell by tapping into my unique passions and my natural strengths. Not by fixing myself. I’m still an introvert and now I know how to be heard when I want to. And rest when I need to. I didn’t have to become someone else!
It might sound like a contradiction but you can be a confident introvert. Confidence isn’t just for extroverts. That’s a myth. You don’t have to be talkative to be confident, make a difference, or to live the life you want.
Take a look at the black swans in the photo. Quiet, calm, beautiful, striking. That’s you too.
Take a moment to think: where are you trying to fit in and hide parts of yourself?
→ Acting extroverted when you’re not?
→ Towing the line at work?
→ Hiding your emotions?
→ Saying “yes” when you mean “no”?
→ Not standing up for what’s right?
All that “fitting in” is probably not helping you or anyone else in the room, and it might be hurting you or others.
But wait… it’s scary to stick my neck out there!
Yes it can be very scary to take off that “fit in” mask, at first. Especially for introverts who often dread visibility. It could sound like this in your head:
→ “But they won’t think I’m nice anymore.”
→ “Yikes, exposure as a freak!” or
→ “But then I won’t make enough money.”
And what if you can’t see your unique gifts that the world needs? What if you feel like you don’t matter?? Oh, that hurts my heart because I know you matter.
I recommend getting some help to see your gifts and find out how to deal with the fear that will arise. When you’re not alone with it, it is so much easier. One of the gifts I’ve discovered in myself is that I can see the unique gifts in you, even when you can’t see it. We should talk.
In reality, bringing your unique self to the world does get easier. To get there, it often means getting help for the transition. You don’t have to walk through that dark tunnel alone. That’s too hard. It pays off — you’ll find all these treasures when you go for it:
- You can relax as you focus on your natural talents instead of some societal “shoulds.” (More YOU)
- You find the breathing room and work/life balance you’re craving. (More EASE)
- You easily find people who love what you offer and want to support it. (More IMPACT in the world. Which includes more sustainability for everyone.)
My Black Swan Formula for Impact with Ease:
More YOU > More EASE > More IMPACT
What Does This Mean for YOU?
Sounds good but…
What about this crazy world?
What about the dread of putting yourself out there?
More details in the video here.
Want to have more you, more ease, and more impact?
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A Note for Introverts
I’m not saying you have to jump into the limelight to be successful or to make a difference in the world. Remember, it was a silent swan that caught my full attention. Introverts can have impact simply by being themselves, even in a quiet way.
No need to put on an extrovert mask to fit in or be successful. Being authentically YOU is everything you need — even for networking and social events.
I’m so glad I opened up to the possibilities that were already inside of me. I didn’t have to become someone else!