Let me just start off this post by sharing something that most people don't know about me until you become real life, in-person friends with me: I'm an introvert. A *huge* introvert. That usually comes as a surprise to most people. You all see me doing Facebook Live videos, essential oil classes, or keynote presentations. Public speaking usually doesn't phase me. While I have no problem acting like an extrovert, I'm far from it.
For the longest time I never saw myself as an introvert. I thought introverts were just overly shy, and most people think the same thing. That's why no one thinks I'm an introvert when they meet me. When I'm out in public, I know how to be "on". I'm high energy, talking a ton, bopping from person to person.
And then I get home and crash. Sometimes I crash hard, like now. I'm writing this after spending the last 3 weeks pretty much feeling like I had a cold off and on, until an actual cold hit me on Thursday and has yet to release me from it's viral-filled tentacles 4 days later.
You see, I've spent the last 2 months talking and being around a lot of people. There are seasons in my business that call for it, and it's the end of that season. There's been flying to a convention and being surrounded by 30,000 people for 4 straight days (and let me tell you, flying triggers panic in me all by itself), followed by launching a new website, going on trips with my extroverted husband for his birthday (which means running around a new city from morning until late at night), going to an all-day TEDx talk, meeting new people at business summits, teaching more frequent than average oils classes, and mentoring my ever-growing essential oils team.
All of this while my husband travelled to 4 different cities over 4 different weeks on multi-day trips for his business in the last 2 months, leaving me to solo parent our 4-year-old son whom I adore but he's super high energy and needs attention, which can be exhausting.
It's all a bit too much for this introvert. For the past month or so my inspiration and drive has been non-existent. It's like I'm creatively impotent. I've been wondering if something is wrong with me, if I'm depressed (I really don't think I am!), or if I've killed my adrenals again (probably).
It's really easy to catch, too, since it seems our world is run by extroverts. Seems is they key word in that sentence, since even I seem to be an extrovert on social media when I'm not.
P.S. is it just me, or if you repeat the word "seem" a few times out loud does it start to annoy the crap out of you?
I know it's not just me having this conversation. Just today I commented on a Facebook post thread from a group on this very topic. The post said:
Introverted female entrepreneurs! I'm creating something BIG just for you! (my input: uh, yeah, who isn't!?!)
Can you tell me what your pain points are in running your own business as an introvert? What do you struggle with most?
At the time that I'm writing this, there are over 120 comments from "introverted female entrepreneurs" about their biz pain points, like:
- "Promotion. I'm terrible at getting my name out there."
- "Networking with others"
- "Having the energy to drive a team- do a lot of talking, answer questions all day, but still need quiet time! I feel so drained after a day at the office..."
- "Networking in person. Doing anything in person, really 😕"
- "Networking... on my god, networking. lol"
- "N*E*T*W*O*R*K*I*N*G....and basically anything involving small talk. 🙂"
- "When someone wants to "hop on a quick phone call."
I think we can all agree that as introverts, networking is the worst. And I happen to run a network marketing business. Oy vey. But you know what? I don't think that I'm a masochist. I believe that I was put into my business to develop myself to my fullest and to learn to accept myself, perceived flaws and all.
All of our businesses can be like that. In fact, until I was involved in network marketing, I didn't work on self development at all. I didn't think I had mindset issues, which is laughable now because I have all. the. mindset. problems.
Your business success is 90% dependent on your mindset, learning about your strengths and weaknesses, and developing yourself, and 10% consistent hard work and figuring out all the other stuff that most of us think a successful business is made of.
You are absolutely NOT screwed in your business if you're an introvert, you just have to make modifications to ensure that you're filling your energy cup as much as it tends to get drained.
For me, this means:
- devoting a 3-4 hour block of time each week to a creative project that may or may not make me money in my business
- taking a nap in the late afternoon 2 days each week (that's the adrenal fatigue talking)
- starting my work day reading a self development book for at least 15 minutes
- feeling completely unrushed while cooking dinner at least a few nights a week (cooking is my creative meditation time, I love to nourish other people and myself with food)
- having 30 minutes of uninterrupted time each morning to shower, put on my makeup, and blow-dry my hair
And something else that you probably wish you could have as an introvert running a business? Actual time off.
I didn't take any time off for about 5 years. I worked a full time "regular" job, and ran my practice on the side. Then I had a baby, and that meant no time off for another really long time.
My body was broken, and at one point, so was my mind. My anxiety took over, panic attacks were everyday occurrences, and I couldn't get off the couch. Truly, I needed some major rest.
It came to me one day that my business income goals were based on a 4-week month, but that leaves an extra 4 weeks each year that could either be spent working more (and theoretically making more money) .... or it could be spent resting. Turning off Facebook. No answering emails. Doing anything else in my life that didn't involve my business.
I committed to taking 4 weeks off this year. And then I filled it up with more work. Seriously, I have issues.
So when, after working for pretty much an entire year straight with no vacations, could I really be surprised when my body couldn't keep up with me? Having a few forced weeks off probably isn't the worst thing to happen.
The thing that I'm most thankful for is that my income for the month of November was 100% passive income. I only wrote one blog post the entire month, and not even for this website. I made the same monthly income as my husband when he worked a 6-figure corporate job ... all while working as much or as little as I wanted to, looking after our sick son, and nursing myself as well.
Of course, I can't just sit around every month, lounging on the couch and eating homemade, raw bonbons. There are seasons of busyness and seasons of rest, and my body was telling me to rest. So I did.
There's not really any point to this article other than me sharing that you can run a successful business as an introvert, you just have to have impeccable self-care at the same time. You HAVE to fill yourself back up or you'll have nothing to pour into others. I hate that cliché, but it's true.
It's OK to be an introvert. It's OK to hate networking. It's OK to only want to do group programs, or online programs, or any sort of program. Figure out what works for you, and then, this is the key, do it. It's still going to take hard work, but it doesn't have to kill you in the process.
This is your business, and you can run it however you want. You'll know you're going in the right direction when you're able to pay your monthly bills AND you feel good doing it. You're not going to enjoy the money you have if your body is broken and you hate your business.
I wanna know: are you an introvert? Have you struggled in your business? Comment below so we can unite!