What do you do when you feel passed up for opportunities, overlooked, or go unnoticed and underutilized because of your quiet nature?
How do you get through the misconceptions others have about you?
How do you put yourself “out there” without appearing fake or phony?
How do you authentically increase your influence and speak with confidence and authority as an introvert?
As an introvert coach, these are some of the questions that I often get asked by people who seek my services. I haven’t yet met an introvert who has not experienced at least some of these common challenges.
One of the things I hear a lot from introverts is that they often feel misunderstood. Some people may think of them as “too quiet”. Some may even conclude that they are anti-social, lack confidence, or perhaps even incapable of ‘getting the job done’. Of course, these things couldn’t be further from the truth, but in order to have some influence over how you are perceived, you must address how you show up.
Sure, you cannot always control other people’s perceptions and interpretations, and people can and will be wrong about you from time to time. Although it’s not your job to manage other people’s perceptions, you can do something about how you show up.
If you feel misunderstood and as though people are not getting the essence of who you really are, you need to practice showing up with presence. This does not mean making a grand entrance or being the loudest voice in the room. Presence is about being conscious about the energy you bring to the room. Presence requires self-awareness. It’s not a strategy and it’s not about drawing attention to yourself.
Being present is about being in the moment and being fully engaged in whatever it is that you’re doing, whether it’s talking to another person, connecting with them, playing with your dog, or meditating. It’s about getting out of your head, your thoughts, your opinions or worries. When you can effectively be present and in the moment, you are bringing the most authentic version of you. Just as you are. Nothing is premeditated. Nothing is up for judgement. You cannot help but be yourself. Similar to hanging out with your best friend… you can enjoy the moment without worrying about their perception of you.
Your presence reveals itself when you are giving others your full attention and can speak your truth, your sense of purpose, direction or mission, and you stand your ground without being hindered by self-doubt.
You are a reflection of your presence therefore, people get to experience it. You can come across as meek or powerful. It doesn’t mean that you are either. It just means that either can be another person’s experience of you. You can have a strong and powerful presence without saying a word. So, if you want to disrupt the common misconceptions people have about you, you must continue to develop and strengthen your presence.
Before we talk about the ‘how’, let’s talk about how you might define your own presence. What is the energy you bring to a room? What shows up when you do? Be honest with yourself.
When you enter a situation, such as an interview, a stage, or a room full of people, what do you do? How do you believe you show up? What do you want people to be thinking or saying about you long after you leave?
Surely it’s not, “She rarely spoke up”, “She’s shy… I’m not sure she’s right for the job”, “I didn’t even notice she was in the room”, “She was soft-spoken and fumbled on her words”, “She seemed nervous”, etc.
So how do we maximize our presence?
You will feel understood when you allow people to see the real you, as you are among close family and friends. If you brought your best qualities forward, those that are naturally present for you, what would others get to experience in your presence? Your leadership? Your authority on your subject? Your power? Your spirit? Your authenticity? Warmth? Heart? Integrity? Trustworthiness? Genuine sincerity and caring nature? Intelligence? Charisma? Sense of humor?
These are all parts of you that may go unnoticed or underestimated by not allowing yourself to be truly present in the moment.
The number one way we diminish our presence is through negative self-talk. If you find yourself shrinking, downplaying or holding back around others or in certain situations, you can always trace that back to your thinking. Clean that up first and foremost.
Then, after eliminating any negative self-talk, the simplest way to purposefully maximize your presence is well… by staying in the present moment. You are neither in the past or in the future. You are present to your own wholeness and uniqueness. You are grounded and aligned with who you are, what you bring, what you believe in, and how you contribute. Presence is not a skill. It’s who you are when you show up as the whole you, unencumbered by doubt or judgment.
Imagine the impact you could have in your personal and professional endeavors if you purposefully maximized your presence, power, and authority, and as a result you had more positive, focused and intentional results from your interactions with others.
I’d say that is the definition of an irresistible introvert.