And I’m wondering… have you been hiding in there, too?
I have been running my own business for over 12 years now, as a certified NLP Trainer, a Meditation Teacher, a published Author and a senior management Mentor.
And my clients love how I can help them almost as much as I love being able to serve.
My inner Leo LOVES getting up on stage and helping people create transformation in their lives.
And I LOVE being on video, creating podcasts and writing articles – and meeting people both face-to-face and online.
But here’s my confession – and it’s something that most people don’t know about me:
I run a really strong ‘introvert’ pattern.
What does that mean?
Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that I’m shy or lacking in social skills (I hope!). But it DOES mean that I have a huge need to recharge my inner batteries in a quiet, solitary environment. So late-night networking parties where people have to yell over the background music or super-sociable mid-seminar lunches are my personal idea of business hell 😉
It also means that most of what works for other business owners and senior managers will NEVER work for me.
And I know I’m far from being alone.
Most of us are running a limiting belief that you have to be a super-high-octane extrovert to be successful in business. But – thank goodness – that’s simply not true.
What IS true, however, is that you have to use different strategies to succeed, if you’re running an introverted pattern.
It impacts how you relate with your co-workers, with your customers and even with your family.
When you’re running a strong ‘introversion’ preference, it can make it hard to spend your day surrounded by people. You need to preciously guard your ‘me-time’, to recharge your batteries and avoid burn-out – or yelling at a colleague or customer!
It can be hard to find ways to do this, when you’re a business manager with deadlines and responsibilities, so I thought you might find it useful if I shared four different ways I handle this, and yet still run a successful business – and do my best to be a good mum!
I hope these mini case studies inspire you – and I’d LOVE to hear your stories and suggestions, via the comments box.
1. How do I handle being a seminar leader and business trainer, with an introvert preference?!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE standing in front of a group of people and inspiring them to change their lives – and the world. But I also desperately need to recharge my batteries during the breaks in a training course.
It’s something I had already been doing for YEARS, even before I certified as an NLP Trainer over a decade ago. My Inner Leo loves being on the stage. 🙂
This means that having students milling around in the training room during breaks, rather than drinking their coffee in the break-out area, acts like a short-circuit on my batteries. Add in socialising during the lunch break and perhaps doing informal mini-mentoring during the afternoon breaks and I’m scarcely fit to drive home by the end of the day.
So, over the years, I have had to learn to pace myself, to set firm but compassionate boundaries and to be as flexible as possible with the rhythm of a course. Nowadays I’m up front with my students. I tell them before the break that I’ll be chucking them out of the room so I can have some quiet time to prepare and deliver my best efforts for them in the next session.
As with so many things in life, if you give someone a ‘why’, it’s amazing how happily they’ll help you to meet your needs.
And chances are that some of your students will be breathing a sigh of relief, as they realise that it’s ok for them to have ‘quiet-time’ needs, too.
2. And what about students on my courses who need quiet time?
And as for handling students on my courses with introversion preferences! Well, if they have hit their ‘people-limit’ for the day, then I need to keep an eye on that and, instead of doing big group exercises, I give them the chance to work in pairs or even rejig things to give the group some quiet thinking and processing time. It’s a juggling act, but there’s no point in trying to force someone who desperately needs some ‘me-time’ to keep being part of a group process that they don’t have enough energy for.
And I always run my courses in venues with some great outdoors space, so that I can chuck students outside to recharge their batteries (one of the six essential end-of-week battery rechargers for introverted entrepreneurs and business managers).
Flexibility is the key!
3. What about friends and colleagues who are running ‘extroversion’ preferences?
Another example is a gorgeous friend of mine who, like me, is a reformed engineer and business trainer, though in a different field. She runs a super-high extroversion preference. So she recharges her batteries through high-contact socialising.
For the first year of our friendship we did a yo-yo between me feeling overwhelmed and her feeling rejected, whenever we tried to find times to meet up. Then, one day, we had the ‘Duh! Moment’. We realised that she recharges her batteries by being surrounded by lots of people, whereas I need the quiet time. So if I turned down an invitation, it didn’t mean that I didn’t love her. It meant that I needed to love me.
Now we ‘get’ our differences, we can always find solutions that work for us both.
4. And what about being a mum?
And finally… My kids… This is going to sound realy stupid, but it took me about five years to work out that one of my boys is like me – running an introversion preference, whereas my other two boys run a STRONG extroversion preference.
It means that my eldest son comes home from school and runs upstairs to read a book for 1/4 hour before coming back down to play, whereas my younger sons immediately bounce outdoors for more, more and even more playing. Give my middle son a morning playing at Kindergarten, followed by an afternoon playdate with friends, followed by more playing with his brothers and he’ll get to bedtime wailing that “I haven’t had enough play time yet today!”
The side effect of all of this was that spending time with my eldest – the introvert – recharged my batteries. But spending time with the other two drained them faster than a fire hose on a garden water butt.
I did this for YEARS without realising what was going on. But now I have strategies that keep me going – and allow them to be who they really are. In fact, simply realising our different needs – and finding ways to talk to the boys so we could all be aware of our needs – made a massive difference. Though it’s still a constant learning curve!
The biggest piece of advice I would give you is to consciously become aware of what works for you and what doesn’t. Keep a diary for a week and spot what drains your batteries and what recharges them. Then take inspired action. And don’t be afraid to tell people that you need to go and recharge your batteries!
So there you are, four examples of how I have found creative solutions to needing that rare-as-hens-teeth down-time, whilst being a busy mum and running a business that’s all about spending time with people!
I would LOVE to hear how you handle this, via the comments.
And I’m curious – are you an Introverted Entrepreneur?
You are not alone! And that is why I have created the Introverted Entrepreneurs’ Club. Join us today and you’ll get our fabulous fortnightly newsletter – full of insider secrets that you can apply while the kettle boils – as well as membership of our private Facebook group.
Membership normally costs £17 per month, but I’m feeling super-generous while we’re in the pre-launch phase (the bells and whistles arrive in Autumn 2014), so if you register today, it’s yours as my gift – for as long as you’re a member.
And there’s more!
If you’re like me and on your knees by the end of the week, then you’ll love my video series “Six Essential End-Of-Week Battery-Rechargers For Introverted Entrepreneurs!” It’s out next week and it’s yours free (instead of the usual $47), as an early birthday present, if you register today.
I’m so excited to have the chance to share this journey with you.
With love, Namaste,