Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning...

As my life is changing with my new adventure, I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and what I want to do with it.  I started this blog just a little over 15 months ago.  I’ve learned a lot about why and how I blog.  And, honestly, I want to start doing it a little better.  Time for a little spring cleaning!

New Name – I’m changing the name of the blog; I like The Confident Introvert, but it kind of implies there’s only one.  The new name (which I’m keeping a secret for now!) will be much more inclusive and have a bit more sizzle.

I’ll be moving this entire blog to a new domain (most likely over this coming weekend).  I’m pretty sure RSS feeds should be updated as well, so you shouldn’t have to do anything if that’s how you’re reading the blog.  If you’re just going directly to this site to read updates, there will be a permanent redirect to the new domain.

New Look – I’m a sucker for a new WordPress theme.  The new look is another great option from StudioPress.  I like it because I think the look and feel of this new theme really matches the vibe of the blog itself.

New Focus (sort of) – I don’t think the content of posts will change all that much.  I may spend a bit more time on two subjects that really fascinate me: (1) energy/productivity and (2) social media.  And the plan is to blog more regularly!

One issue I’ve been struggling with is a bit of a disconnect between what I do (for a living) and this blog.  My job is about helping others, mostly nonprofits, with their online presence and digital marketing.  And I started thinking about the similarities between nonprofits and introverts: they are both more quiet than their counterparts (for profits and extroverts); they both get less attention; but they have the same needs to communicate themselves and their missions.  Which leads me to …

New Service – I am going to start coaching individuals on their online presence.  I’m thinking most of the people who take me up on my offer will be introverts, but I’m not prejudiced – I’ll take extroverts too!  Whether you want to get better about promoting your self  or your blog or your one-man business, I can help.  (I’m hoping at some point I may even be able to combine this new site and my business site and just have one single presence online.)

New Product – I’m also taking a slight detour on my planned ebook on energy.  I’m not giving up on it.  But it’s turning into a bigger project that I originally anticipated.  I’m thinking I might actually want to turn it into a real book, not just an ebook.  Kind of pie in the sky, right now, but it’s good to have a stretch goal, right?  In the meantime, I’ve already started an ebook about introverts and social media.  It will cover common fears and best practices and will include tips for how to get started using social media or using it more effectively.  With some hard work, I hope to have that done by the end of the month.

New Enewsletter – And because I think I’m finally ready, I’ll also be starting a weekly enewsletter.  And it will have different content than what’s on the blog.  I hope you’ll sign up when the new site goes live.

We’ve built a small but mighty community here, and I’d like to see it grow.  Thanks to Susan Cain and her new book, the world is looking at introverts now.  Let’s show them what we can do.

(Flickr photo from Artamir)





Taking the Leap

So I’ve done something either very foolish or very smart.  I’ve mentioned many times that I’ve been searching for a new job for most of the last year.  My hours were cut to 30/week in February and the job has no benefits.  Not only was it no longer financially feasible to stay, but in many ways I had grown out of the job.

So just before Thanksgiving, I gave my notice.  My job ends as of March 1, 2012.

And I don’t have another job lined up. See? Either very foolish or very smart.

I’m an ISTJ.  We are not known for relying on our intuition, preferring facts and logic above all else.  And fact would tell me that even a low-paying job with no benefits is better than no job at all. But something about leaving now just felt right.  It was difficult for me to believe in that feeling, but I finally took the leap.

I know what I want to do: provide consultation to small and mid-sized museums on their online strategies — web sites, social media, e-newsletters, etc. (Know one? Send them to my  business web site!)  It’s risky, to be sure.  I don’t have any clients at the moment.  And small museums are usually short on money and may not be able to pay me for what I can do.  But I have great contacts, a good reputation and a lot of skill; and what I don’t know I learn quickly.

In the past, I would have kept this dream of mine secret, too afraid to say it loud and definitely too afraid to share it with anyone; too afraid of being judged not capable of running my own business or for choosing an industry that isn’t exactly overflowing with money.

Right now, I’m telling everyone I know what I want to do (hello, Internet!).  And every time I tell someone, I feel just a bit stronger, just a bit more confident.  I’m throwing my dream out into the universe to see what comes back.

Who knows what will happen?  It’s easy to think it will end poorly.  And it takes a bit of work to think it will end well.  I’m choosing the latter.

What Does Risk Mean To You?

gamble everything for love

What does risk mean to you?  Is it skydiving? Gambling? It may even be something more personal, like trusting someone who has consistently let you down.

Risk is relative.  What scares you doesn’t necessarily scare me.  Risk is personal and subjective.  I can’t judge your level of risk, and  you can’t judge mine.

Except we do it all the time.  “Don’t try out for the team.  If you don’t get it, you’ll be disappointed.  It’s too much of a risk.”  It’s all done under the guise of being well-meaning and protective.  But is it really?

I’ve taken risks with my career.  More than once, I have left well-paying or comfortable jobs.  I left because I was unhappy or frustrated or bored.  As a multipotentialite, I have moved from industry to industry, without even really thinking that the move was a risk.  I looked at the moves as an opportunity to find something more fulfilling.

But I know others have thought I was crazy.  Or foolish.  Or both.  Just as I can’t let extroverts define me as shy and anti-social, I can’t let those who take the safe road define me as irresponsible or nutty.

Be confident in your risk.  Embrace it, cherish it, protect it.  It has great meaning for you.  And possibly, just possibly, great reward as well.


Fake It Til You Make It: Tips on Self Confidence

Sometimes you need that confidence, you want that confidence — but you just don’t have it.  What to do?  Fake it ‘til you make it.

This is just a short-term solution.  You do want to get to the point where you are what you feel, and you feel what you are.  But, until then, there are a few steps you can take to give the illusion of confidence.

Channel your your inner Meryl Streep — Act the part.  You may be shaking inside, you may be scared as hell.  But no one has to know that.  Shake hands firmly, smile, don’t fidget.  It’s not always easy; but as others recognize your confidence, they will show you respect, which will give you strength.

(This is going to be an awesome movie!)

Dress the part — We all know to dress properly for an interview.  It tells your prospective employer that you are serious and respectful.  And again — it invites respect.  I have a very clear memory of the first time I traveled alone as an adult.  I dressed casually on the trip out — and was kind of ignored by flight attendants, taxi drivers, etc.  On the way back home, I dressed up.  Big difference.

Use your quiet — Extroverts often feel compelled to fill the silence.  I wouldn’t suggest trying that tactic.  Face it, it’s not an area in which introverts excel.  But you can smile and nod appreciatively.  It takes confidence to be comfortable with silence — and your words, when you do speak them, will have a much greater impact.

Ever tried fake it ‘til you make it?  Share your stories in the comments!

Laying It On The Line

I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life.  This year has been a bit rough; my hours were reduced in February to 30 hours a week and I’ve been looking for a full-time job.  I’ve been applying but haven’t found quite the right fit.

But I think I’ve stumbled onto something.  Something I enjoy and do well.  And I’m putting the pieces into place for this new journey.

The first piece is my Twitter profile.  You’re limited to 160 characters so you must choose wisely.  Here’s my new bio:

Social media amateur looking to turn pro. Will work for books, Starbucks Grande Mochas or new technology. Lifelong learner and museum geek. Quiet and confident.

Yep — I’m telling the word I’m quiet.  And I chose the word quite consciously.  It’s simply part of who I am.  I’m not ashamed of it and I’m not embarrassed by it.  Actually, I think it’s one of my greatest strengths.  If people want to read weakness or anything else into that word, that’s their issue — not mine.

I wear my quiet label proudly.


Yes, It’s Okay to Brag

When I was growing up, I remember my mother saying — frequently —  “If you don’t toot your own horn, nobody will.”  Great advice! But moving from advice to acting on it is tougher.  Especially when it concerns yourself.

In junior high school, you were labeled “stuck up” or “conceited” if you talked about yourself too much.  And I do think it’s tougher for women in general.  Despite all the progress we’ve made, women are expected to be demure and quiet.  The aggressive man is successful; the aggressive woman is a bitch.

And for all my talk about self-confidence, having it is not the same as actually using it.  And there are things I want to do with my life that will require me to talk about myself in the best possible way.  (I’ve talked about my difficulties with self promotion before.) So I picked up a great book at Amazon: Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It. (I figured the fact that it used the same phrase my mother used was a good sign.)

I’m not even halfway through it and there have already been so many light bulb moments.  The author makes a great case for preparing yourself (great for introverts!) for those opportunities to discuss yourself and your talents in the best possible way.  Several of those opportunities occur in informal ways — bumping into your boss in the elevator, attending a networking event, etc.  Those kinds of situations where “small talk” is involved — and that’s something introverts are really bad at.  We don’t like to talk just for the sake of talking because it just doesn’t seem to have any point.

But having self-confidence and being able to talk about it are invaluable skills to have — actually, necessary in this day and age.  The author has some great tools for how to do that — tools introverts will love.  I’ll have more once I’ve finished the book.

Public Speaking for Introverts — With Video!

One of my favorite blogs to read is Susan Cain’s The Power of Introverts.  And she’s starting a great project you should know about.

Since it’s about public speaking, I thought I would do a video post instead of just writing something.  Now, I don’t have video editing software, so I had to do this all in one take.  Sound quality isn’t great, so you may need to turn up the volume.

And yes, I know I need to smile a bit more!

My Three Words for 2011

Apparently, it’s Chris Brogan week here at The Confident Introvert.  Honestly, the last post was happenstance.  This post I’ve been thinking about for awhile.

Each year, Chris chooses three words to live by instead of making resolutions.  I really like that idea, and I’ve been thinking about my three words for 2011 for a few months now.  The three words are backed up with a plan that has SMART goals; SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

I haven’t quite got to the plan part yet, but I have chosen my three words for 2011.

Mindful – Or maybe intentional is a better word.  I just feel that many of my actions over the last few years have been kind of random, not really building toward anything in particular.  And that’s starting to bother me.  I want to be more mindful of all the decisions I make.  What I eat, how I spend my time, what goals I’m working toward.

Forward – No more maintaining the status quo; no more doing things just because I’ve done them before and they are comfortable.  The actions I take in 2011 will all be focused on specific goals that get me the things I want.

Bold –  There’s a quote I heard several years ago that still inspires me:  Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.  (Source)

This will be the toughest one for me, and I’m not quite sure yet how it’s going to manifest itself.  Yes, I am a confident introvert, but there are still plenty of things that make me feel uncomfortable.  And no one in my life has ever called me or anything I’ve done bold.  But it’s always good to have to stretch for something.  I’m going to stretch for being bold.

Now, I need to work on my plan, keeping these three words in mind.

What are your three words for 2011?