When you hear the word "confident," what kind of person do you envision? "Charismatic" and "leader" don't count – those descriptors are just as vague.
What does that person look like? Sound like? Talk like?
How do they carry themselves? Behave? Navigate a room?
If you're like me, you might picture this person making sweeping gestures, taking up a lot of space, and projecting their voice. I imagine them flitting around circles of strangers like a hummingbird in search of nectar. The proverbial spotlight is fixated on the proverbial hummingbird.
This does describe one flavor of confidence, but it is definitely not the only one. Have you ever been drawn to someone who was quiet, yet exuded mystery and power? Or when talking to a stranger, you found yourself at ease and contributing to a flowing conversation?
Confidence is a trait many introverts share but it does manifest differently than in extroverts. Here are some tips for introverts on how to cultivate confidence so that you can strengthen your connections:
1. Silence is your superpower. Confidence doesn't require you to be loud, arrogant or flashy. A confident introvert is that self-assured person at a party who smiles and nods from a quiet corner of couches. People gravitate toward the confident introvert because they exude an aura of intrigue that is inviting yet mysterious. There's no need to be the loudest person in the room – that aura can do all the talking for you.
2. Trust your intuition. One of introverts' greatest strengths is the process of reflecting and looking inward. You've had years of honing this skill of tuning into your internal state – trust it! Confidence is often coupled with self-image, but in my opinion confidence has less to do with how you view yourself and more with how you view your decisions. If you trust your introversion-powered intuition and stand by your choices, the confidence will shine through much more effectively than if you stepped in front of a microphone and exclaimed, "I'm amazing!!!" Show, don't tell. And if you truly believe in your decisions, it will show.
3. Just be yourself. It's true that we live in a society that was built by extroverts to benefit extroverts. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking something is wrong with you; don't fight the introversion! I proudly announce when I'm going home because I'm feeling overstimulated and need to process. Learning to love this part of yourself that contributes infinite gifts will translate directly into more confidence. If someone is being a hater, stay proud, fellow introvert!
Yum: Not memorizing directions and maps; Minutecast telling me the rain ends in 7 minutes; creative emoticons. Yuck: Phones sitting on the dinner table; multiple pages of apps; replacing meaningful communication with emojis.
Yum: We don’t have giant mortgages. Yuck: Because how in the world can we afford giant mortgages?!
Yum: We were the best age group to experience Harry Potter and Barack Obama. Yuck: Because of this, we were the worst age group to experience Twilight and Donald Trump.
Yum: We are building the gig economy which means we can invent super weird jobs. Yuck: That’s really hard and mostly reserved for the privileged.
Yum: We are all special snowflakes. Yuck: This is misunderstood by some people to be a bad thing and slung as an insult.
Yum: We had Facebook in high school/college, so we are more in touch with our peers than older generations and know what they’re up to. Yuck: We had Facebook in high school/college, so we are haunted by moments that we once swore were “totally awesome! hahaha!” Also, wedding FOMO for people we barely know.
Yum: We are getting married later and opting out of raising children. Yuck: …. Oh… uh, my personal life choices are showing.
Yum: We are all idealistic even when we are grounded in realism. Yuck: This does not help progress advance quicker.
Yum: Urban Dictionary gave us the sex talk we didn’t know we needed. Yuck: Uncleared Internet history.