When it comes to competing for a job, we often feel we have to be something we are not. This can be especially true for introverts.
We feel compelled to enthusiastically say yes to anything and everything in the job description. We build resumes by scouring the internet for the right key words to get our resumes picked up for the right searches; and we shoehorn ourselves into what is out there only to find that when we land the job, we’ve made a mistake.
- Core genius to the rescue. Core what? Genius? Is she talking about me? Yes I am. We all have a genius at our core created with our unique combination of preferences, skill sets, talents and experiences. What I have found in my 13+ years as a career coach is that we are all perfect for something using our set of unique abilities. In fact, the world needs us to be of service in our unique way so that we can solve the problems and reach the goals only we are capable of. We are perfect the way we are and embracing our core genius gives us each a competitive edge that no one, literally no one else can match.
- Start Your Soul Search. Soul Search is the way to uncover your core genius. I divide Soul Search into 8 elements and use a workbook of thought-provoking exercises to help people uncover: their top interests, key values/motivators, skills they want to employ, ways they want to contribute/find purpose, their best qualities, their best work environment, activities they get the most enjoyment from, and salary & benefits requirements. Start uncovering your core genius by getting clear and specific about your work values – those aspects of work that would get you jumping out of bed in the morning. For some this may mean exercising competence, for others camaraderie at work and still for others having autonomy. Get a full look at my entire work values exercise. Complete it and you’ll know what uniquely motivates you. This beginning knowledge will empower you to align your daily work responsibilities what what excites you and get you started expressing your core genius.
- Embrace your introversion as genius. Introversion can be a competitive advantage. My client (we’ll call him Tim) is an introvert. He’s built a successful career in a large corporation. He recently came into a new role where the person before him had a very different extroverted style. Though he had years of success, Tim felt he needed to change his style to succeed. It didn’t feel right. He reached out to me for advice on a different approach. Could he find a way to be of service in this role as his introverted self? We talked about the benefits of Tim’s more introverted style. He preferred to ask questions first, then take time to process the information and only then come to thoughtful conclusions & recommendations. It took Tim a few months to do this in his new role. During this time he felt pressured to deliver fast but in our conversations, we determined it was best for Tim to stay the course. Now 6 months into the new role, Tim is getting great feedback from his boss that his recommendations are spot on and his boss now sees value in Tim thoughtful approach over the “shooting from the hip” of his predecessor. In his own words, here’s what Tim did….“I realized that I could not be that intense extrovert that was common with my colleagues so instead of continually trying to do that all the time I planned for when I knew I need to “turn on” my extrovert personality and when I could be more introverted. Just recognizing that alleviated a lot of the stress. I also took time to meet with my colleagues on an individual basis so I could listen to their needs and find out how I could be of service without the distraction of group meetings. This 1:1 connection gave me confidence in the work and value I provided without the need to demonstrate in an extroverted fashion. It was nice to find balance and not feel stressed that being an extrovert was the only way.”
Need more convincing?
Tim loved Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts” Ted Talk when I shared it with him and found it offered further validation to embrace introversion as part of his core genius. Tim also read and loved Susan’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in World That Can’t Stop Talking. For more books and resources to help validate your unique genius, contact me.
Being who you are is the best path forward if you want sustainable career success and happiness. If you feel like you’ve been shoehorning yourself into roles that just don’t fit, perhaps it’s time to embrace your core genius as well.