As a career and business coach who specializes in helping introverts, you can imagine the trepidation I hear about all that career search stuff: networking, writing about oneself on LinkedIn, starting a new business, and feeling understood at work.
For clarity, introverts are NOT at a disadvantage when it comes to career transition or starting a business, but they might feel more stressed by it.
My primary work struggle related to introversion was in valuing and speaking up about my talents and accomplishments. With a lot of help, including communication classes and seeing a career coach, I eventually hit my stride with speaking confidently, authentically, and thoughtfully. It’s funny to look back because my communication now feels so easy now and so “me.”
It was also important to me to choose a career path that fit my nature. Sometimes it’s the workplace or the wrong type of work that is so exhausting.
I’ve gathered a few resources that might help ease the stress of the career or business transition for other introverts.
STEP 1: Learn About Introversion
When you understand it, you’ll find it’s much easier to rise above the common worries about it. Here is a good starting place:
- Being Introverted Is a GOOD Thing!
This is a blog post I wrote with an overview of introversion and the misled prejudice against it. You’ll find links to more learning resources, and an introvert quiz from there.
STEP 2: Learn About Introvert Advantages and Challenges at Work
Introverts have many advantages when it comes to the skills needed for finding and excelling at work. For instance, introverts are often naturally good at creating meaningful conversations and writing thoughtfully. Both of these are critical for networking and workplace communications.
On the flip side, introverts often struggle to speak up about their accomplishments for fear of bragging. Actually they struggle to see their accomplishments at all. (Perfectionism is common among introverts.)
Introverts also worry about having the perfect thing to say. They can get caught in analysis paralysis — because introverts love to think, think, think, …and think again.
As you can tell, the challenges are all based on worries and fears and not facts. Learning about what’s actually going on can help quiet those fears. A couple starting places:
- Why You Get Tongue-Tied When Describing Your Work
- Networking Secrets from an Ex-Wallflower (that’s me)
STEP 3: If You Don’t Know Your Right Career Path, Learn How To Choose.
I’ve created these resources for you:
- Myths and Truths About How To Find Your Right Career Path
- Career Clarity Course: Simple Steps to Uncover the Best Use of You Now
- Best Careers for Introverts, HSPs, and Other Sensitive Souls
STEP 4: Find Understanding Support
You’ve heard all the “get over it” advice and “get out there networking” tips. Ugh. Instead, find a team of authentic support, whether from understanding friends, a thoughtful support group for introverts, or a coach for introverts like me.
If you need a résumé or website copy, consider hiring a résumé writer or web copywriter who is empathetic to your challenges. You need someone who can draw out your accomplishments and nudge you a little when you claim you haven’t done that much. And someone who can stop you when you go into analysis paralysis. (Interview them to see if it feels like a fit. Don’t just hire the first one you find.)
STEP 5: Take SMALL Steps Forward, and Avoid Overwhelm
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the process, it’s time to take a break and regroup. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Something is off.
Small steps help reduce stress. Big steps increase stress, and can end up stopping you. I explain how to find the right-sized next step for you in the video found here:
What’s Your Career Transition Story?
- Where do you feel challenged in your work transition?
- How is introversion helping you in your work?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below. Or ask yourself those questions quietly at home.