We’ve been sold a lie – a lie that values and celebrates some, but dismisses and belittles others.

A misconception that is assumed to be true for everyone, but is undeniably wrong for many.

The lie is this: Being quiet is a weakness.

It means you are shy, lack the more desirable skills of charisma, quick wit, and likability, and don’t have the ability to succeed in business or to be a leader.

This massive cultural misunderstanding of what it means to be an introvert leaves many of us confused about who we are, what we want, and how to get it.

We’re left to wonder: Where do I fit in? Do I have what it takes to be successful… or, since success is defined by extroverts, is that even what I want?

It’s easy to have these doubts and uncertainties given the lie we’ve been told.

Please hear me when I say this: It’s not your fault.

Most likely, you grew up without much understanding or guidance on what it means to be an introvert. Perhaps you’ve been described by others as weird, antisocial, boring, shy, awkward, rude, or cold.

Maybe you’ve compared yourself to your siblings, peers, friends, or co-workers and fear you don’t measure up. But the truth is, you already have everything you need to create the life you want. You just need to overcome these three little things…

You’re In A Passionless Pit

Being an introvert can be tough. We’re constantly evaluating ourselves, who we are and what we want. And, more often than not, we’re focusing on our weaknesses.

This generally leads to us settling for a “just now” job until the magical day when we figure out what we really want to do – a day that never seems to come.

Or we accept our perceived limitations and take the safe, practical route and get stuck in a job where we feel like we just have to make do.

If this is you, please let these next words sink in – it doesn’t need to be this way.

Don’t get stuck in your head with all the things you “can’t” do – especially without validating that you can’t in fact do them.

Don’t trade in the life you were meant to live for the practical. Introverts can do anything they want – even something that seems more extroverted – but only if it’s aligned with their passion.

Crystal’s story 

Crystal knew she wanted to help people, but wasn’t exactly sure how she wanted to do that. Needing to make the most of her human services degree and to start making money,

Crystal had accepted a professional services job. However, she quickly discovered that the job responsibilities and demanding environment were not in alignment with her passion.

For example, Crystal had to attend weekly group meetings, where employees were expected to spontaneously share their thoughts and opinions, even interjecting over others.

Crystal’s workspace was shared with another co-worker, who did not understand Crystal’s desire to be left alone for the majority of the day to focus on her work.

These experiences and expectations left Crystal feeling deflated and completely disconnected from her original passion of helping others.

Crystal felt trapped on a hamster wheel of disappointment and exhaustion – not knowing how to get off or where she should focus her attention.

We considered Crystal’s likes, dislikes, and interests. Crystal realized that she wanted more meaningful work – to know she was making a difference for a group of people she felt connected to.

She also realized how important it was for her to create her own schedule and to be more in charge of the time, money, and resources that were invested in her career.

Within a few sessions, Crystal discovered her real passion for helping others lie specifically in working with trauma survivors to process, heal, and reorient their lives to a healthier and happier place.

As a survivor of early trauma herself, Crystal connected with this group on a deep level and was able to use her experiences to help others.

Armed with a fresh sense of certainty and drive, Crystal pursued a counseling degree and now works as a psychologist in private practice specializing in treating trauma survivors.

Crystal is living her passion on a daily basis. More than that, she now walks away from her time with people recharged, as opposed to depleted – all because she is doing the exact thing she knows she is on this earth to do.

Passion is essential to a fulfilled life.

Without discovering our true purpose, we find ourselves running in circles day after day, month after month, year after year, searching for contentment and meaning.

That’s why you need to find your passion and to make it a priority in your life, instead of that thing you hope just comes to you. If you dedicate specific effort to discovering your passion, you will find it – just like Crystal.

You Underestimate Your Strengths

Have you ever been accused of being “too serious” or been told to “lighten up”? This is a common way in which introverts are misunderstood.

Since we prefer depth over breadth and often feel as though we need to know ‘everything’ about a topic before we can speak on it, we tend to be critical of not only ourselves, but also our ability to achieve something.

Couple our underestimation of our unique strengths with being consistently misunderstood by others and we’re left with the mistaken belief that we’re not as quick as others, can’t communicate as effectively as others, or lack the skills or natural abilities needed to create the life we truly want.

Just like extroverts (and everyone else on the planet), we have weaknesses and strengths.

The problem for introverts is that we focus too heavily on what we consider the gaps between who we are and who we think we should be.

In fact, what you may currently believe is a weakness could actually be one of your greatest strengths.

Consider this: Introverts are reflective, observant, and contemplative.

This is a weakness in an improv class; yet, Tom Hanks is one of the best actors in the world.

It’s a weakness in off-the-cuff sales; yet Zig Ziglar is one of the best salespeople/trainers in the world.

Our self-awareness and ‘overthinking’ is an advantage if it’s controlled and put in the right perspective.

Michelle’s Story

Michelle, a thirty-four-year-old recently divorced woman, came to me with doubts and insecurities that developed in her childhood and were reinforced through negative feedback from others about her quiet nature.

Michelle felt overlooked and unappreciated in her current job and often compared herself to others in a way that focused on their strengths and her weaknesses (or, as Michelle soon discovered, her perceived weaknesses).

Michelle had accepted what others had said about her – like how she was too quiet, needed to speak up more, and wouldn’t be well-suited for a leadership position – as truth.

This created lots of self-doubt and uncertainty as to what Michelle’s unique strengths and abilities were.

I mean, how can you decide what you can do or what you love doing while you’re focusing on what you can’t?

If a camel looked at a monkey and thought, “Well, I can’t climb trees – I must not be able to do much,” we would think, “How can you compare a camel and a monkey?” It’s the exact same thing for us when we compare ourselves to extroverts – absurd and unhelpful.

We started by considering the basic strengths of the introverted personality type. This was a revelation for Michelle, as she had consistently received the message that being quiet, reflective, and observant was wrong, weak, or detrimental to succeeding in life and in her career.

We also dove a little deeper into Michelle’s past experiences, identifying those negative relationships and interactions that had cultivated her sense of self-doubt in the first place.

After only a couple of sessions, Michelle stood taller, spoke more clearly, and presented herself more confidently. Michelle now was able to not only identify her strengths, but also use them to her advantage.

Although Michelle loved parts of her job, there were certain responsibilities and expectations that didn’t align with her introverted nature.

We discussed the exact role Michelle would like to have at work, as well as how to overcome her negative mindset and how to navigate the ‘office politics’ to make that role possible.

Equipped with this new found confidence and support, Michelle began using her creativity, intuition, and thoughtfulness to set herself apart from her peers at work.

As a result of her self-advocacy and confident presence, within three months the company Michelle worked for created a brand-new introvert-friendly position just for her.

Confidence looks different for introverts.

It’s not about talking the most, or being able to express your ideas the fastest, or being a social butterfly. It’s about listening, reflecting, creating, imagining, and discovering.

We have strengths that allow us to build lives filled with time for imagination, exploration, and inspiration.

Be sure of this: Introverts’ qualities are needed, valuable, and essential to a well-balanced, thoughtful world. You just have to know how to use your strengths in a way that works for you, instead of against you.

You Have A Self-Limiting Mindset

Creating a passionate and purposeful life takes more than just knowing your passion and being confident. You also have to know how to become a person who is capable of achieving the success you want.

Because of our tendency to overthink, to replay awkward interactions, and to reach for perfection, introverts are susceptible to developing negative self-talk that keeps us stuck.

Consistent bouts of negative self-talk create limiting beliefs, which stifle who we are and what we can accomplish. Left unchecked, these ideas squash our dreams and restrict our potential.

My previous client, Michelle, also struggled with a self-limiting mindset. As soon as she started to progress toward her goals, negative self-talk would slam on the brakes and throw her off course.

For example, before we worked together, Michelle had thoughts like, “I’m not a quick thinker – what if my supervisors ask me something and I freeze?” or “I can’t ask for a new position. I should just make the most of where I’m at.”

After identifying this negative self-talk, we created a plan for how to change her negative mindset and to replace it with a success mindset.

Now, Michelle has several pre-planned statements for difficult conversations and can confidently express her opinions and desires because she knows how to change the tape of negative self-talk to be more productive and positive.

Michelle realized that she was blocking herself from seeing all the possibilities of how she could achieve her goals and dreams because of her consistent negative self-talk and limiting beliefs around why she couldn’t succeed.

Within a couple of sessions, Michelle had the strategies and insights to create a positive and healthy mindset. Empowered and motivated by her success mindset and previous win with her new work role, Michelle allowed herself to dream even bigger.

Michelle had always wanted to start her own business, but could never overcome those limiting beliefs that kept her at a 9 to 5 job.

After working together on defeating negative self-talk and cultivating a success mindset, Michelle launched her own business within six months.

She quit her 9 to 5 job and is now successfully and happily running her own company, making an additional $1500/month.

That’s an extra $18,000 a year and by the time she retires, she’ll have made an additional $275,000 that she wouldn’t have earned without going through this process.

I can’t stress the importance of conquering self-limiting beliefs. Lucky for us, introspection and contemplation are two introvert superpowers.

This shift from a negative to a positive mindset could very well be the last thing holding you back from the lifestyle you want.

To say it succinctly, I’ll share with you one of my favorite quotes from well-known entrepreneur, Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you can’t – you’re right.”

You Can Have the Life You Want – Without Changing Who You Are! 

We only have a short time on this earth. We all want to know that we made a difference in this world – that we achieved our goals, that our dreams will be more than just wishes of what could be.

You don’t have to be what others have said about you. You don’t have to constantly question yourself, your strengths, or your abilities.

You don’t have to feel like life is a mundane routine, settling for fleeting moments of happiness.

You can feel passionate and purposeful; you can feel confident and self-assured; you can have a positive mindset that catapults you into success and happiness – exactly as you define it.

Having been there myself, I know the pain of not being sure of your passion, of not believing in yourself or your strengths, and of allowing a limiting mindset to stifle your dreams.

But I don’t want that for you – I want you to know that you can be, do, and have anything you set your mind to.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, would you mind sharing it with a friend? I appreciate your support in empowering introverts to live a passionate and purposeful life!

As always, please feel free to leave me a comment or question below and I’d be happy to connect with you!

If you’re looking to heal from narcissistic abuse or relationship trauma, I can help! I specialize in helping people heal from toxic, dysfunctional, or harmful relationships. I recommend starting here and getting my free bimonthly newsletter. Or contact me today about working together via therapy or coaching. 

About Me
Chelsey Brooke Cole is a psychotherapist, best-selling author, speaker, and coach specializing in narcissistic abuse and relational trauma. Praised as "Enlightening and Empowering" Chelsey's new book, If Only I'd Known! How to Outsmart Narcissists, Set Guilt-Free Boundaries, and Create Unshakeable Self-Worth is available wherever books are sold.
About Me
Chelsey Brooke Cole is a psychotherapist, best-selling author, speaker, and coach specializing in narcissistic abuse and relational trauma. Praised as "Enlightening and Empowering" Chelsey's new book, If Only I'd Known! How to Outsmart Narcissists, Set Guilt-Free Boundaries, and Create Unshakeable Self-Worth is available wherever books are sold.

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