Career Ideas for Introverts and HSPs – The 2020 Update for Meaningful and Viable Work

I’m sure you’ve noticed that things got shaken up quite a bit so far in 2020. That’s an understatement.

So much shake-up that our work decisions need a fresh look. What will be in demand now and in the future will be different in some ways. Some things will remain, some things will rise strongly, and some things will drastically change or go away.

As a result, I decided it’s time to update my career and self-employment ideas for you, to account for this twist in the road.

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What If You Don’t Know What You Want?

I’m realizing how common it is for people to think there’s something wrong with them if they don’t know what they want, in their work, their business, or their life.

I often hear things like this:

  • “I don’t have a clear goal or vision for my future, so I might be a hopeless case.”
  • “Other people just know what they want, but I’m not one of those people.”
  • “I’m trying to be self-employed but really I need to figure out what I actually like.”

I feel sad when someone thinks she is “a hopeless case.” In reality, lack of clarity on what you want is super common. It’s probably the norm!

But then, what to do?

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Best Careers for Introverts, HSPs, and Other Sensitive Souls

Sensitive souls (including introverts, highly sensitive persons [HSPs], and people with big hearts) need to be careful about our work environments and career paths. As a highly sensitive introvert who got so drained by many jobs I tried, I learned the hard way.

We can really thrive and excel in the right environment, and we can wilt easily in the wrong environment.

If you have a yuck feeling about work, I bet it is because the work itself or the work culture are a bad match for you.

You have so much to offer. Yes, YOU. The world needs your gifts. I mean it. You can find a better fit. Not overnight, but a better way is possible.

There are low stress jobs for introverts, HSPs, and other sensitive souls.

No, there are no perfect stress-free professions. But lower stress is definitely a worthy goal. Yes! Stress is a natural part of life and we can be even more vulnerable to it as sensitive souls. We can do self-care, but that’s not enough if the situation continues to be draining.

So often people simply put up with far too much of a stressful situation, thinking we are the problem. Let’s rethink this.

My experience:

I’m a highly sensitive introvert with a big heart. (If you’re a Myers-Briggs Type fan, I’m an INFP which explains a whole range of sensitivity.)

I’ve tried all kinds of work environments from classrooms to cubicles, and many kinds of careers, and there were many rough patches in my work life. Now I have landed happily with being a self-employed career/ business coach.

In those various work experiences, sometimes I felt alive and energized and sometimes completely drained and MISERABLE. Oh I can feel the bad memories in my body as I write this. I want to reach out to you if you’re feeling that misery and beg you to believe it can be different.

Now I get what works:

I’ve studied what factors work for me and what works for others with a similar temperament.  Now I can fairly easily tell you what is important for us in choosing our work environments and career paths. Work can feel great, really! I’ll explain what you need to know.

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What If Your Career Ideas Feel Impossible?

You can either listen to or read this post (5 minutes):

This is a common question. My answer is that you don’t even know it’s impossible until you explore some more. I have the kind of brain that thinks there is always a way. Even if you don’t think like that, stay with me for a moment.

I’m very practical. This isn’t about blind faith or deciding things based purely on wishful thinking. 

I don’t believe in jumping off a cliff on blind faith. However, when I see a cliff, I know now that there’s always some stairs to get down. I just have to look around for the stairs or find some help with a ladder.

I hear people all the time stopping themselves from wanting what they want because they think it’s impossible or think it will be too big of a leap for them. Even before they have checked out all the possibilities. They end up stuck in a fog of the unknown.

In essence, they are thinking the devil they know is better than the one they don’t know. Think about that. The logic is flawed. It’s just that you don’t know yet.

The Devil You Know vs. the Devil You Don’t Know

That idea to stay with the “devil you know” comes from an inner fear voice that wants to stop you from trying anything new. It thinks it is keeping you safe. But it is just keeping you small… and unsatisfied.

Feeling stuck between staying or going, like the classic cat in the doorway syndrome? It doesn’t have to be so hard.

Wavering between what you want and what you’re afraid to check out is a place we could stay stuck forever if we don’t take some conscious action.

It’s like that funny thing cats do when they cry to go outside, but when you open the door to let them out, they freeze in the doorway, wondering whether to stay or go.

We laugh at them, or even get frustrated at the cat for not going ahead with what they said they wanted. But isn’t it just like us when we stop ourselves because we’re nervous to check out what’s out there?

I know I’ve done that. Yes, no, maybe, but yes, but no…. on and on. It’s classic human stuff, not just cat stuff.

How do we get out of that doorway when the unknown feels so daunting?

I’ll explain what I’ve discovered, and what many others have discovered, about how to move past the doorway, even when it feels scary.

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Self-employment Ideas for Introverts

Is this you?

  1. You’re thinking maybe you just need to find the right path that fits your introverted style (and/or high sensitivity needs).
  2. And you think self-employment might give you the freedom to create work the way you want it. (Yes!)
  3. But, you’re nervous about what self-employment avenues will work for you as an introvert. (“I don’t know which direction is right?” and “Ack, what about marketing?!”)

Sound familiar? You’re definitely not alone.

Brainstorming self-employment ideas for introverts

That self-employment excitement combined with worry is common for introverts. And yet there are plenty of introverts making self-employment work. Without wearing an extrovert mask.

Personally, I love the freedom of self-employment, and it’s working for me in my own introverted way, even during economic ups and downs.

But I was originally very nervous to take the leap because some part of me thought that was extrovert territory. Both introverts and extroverts can make self-employment work, if you find your unique path.

In this post, I’ll explain why and how self-employment can work well for introverts, including a few specific ideas for you. 

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