Introvert? Learn How to Manage Your Energy Here

by yiye

introvert business

Interview with Tanja Gardner from Conscious Introvert Success. Tanja is a friend and colleauge whose work I really adore and admire. We “met” through Leonie Dawson’s ABAL Academy almost two years ago. We’ve enjoyed discussion and interaction ever since. She is always so generous and honest when it comes to sharing her wisdom with her personal experience. This interview is no exception!

[Entering Q & A with Tanja]

1. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. And what inspired you to start ConsciousIntrovertSuccess.com?

Hi, I’m Tanja Gardner, and I’m the person behind Conscious Introvert Success.  I’m a Kiwi, which means I live in the future (about 11 hours ahead of you in London) in “Middle Earth”, AKA New Zealand.

I’ve been an introvert pretty much all my life – certainly since well before I knew what the term meant.  Discovering this fact explained a huge amount that had confused me about myself.  For example: why did I love spending time with friends, but then get “peopled out” and need so much time to myself?  Why could I happily stand on a stage and speak to a few hundred people, but freaked out about having to interact with one of them afterwards?

The answer to both of these questions is that, as an introvert, spending time interacting with other people – no matter how much I enjoy it – drains me.  Spending time alone, however, recharges my energy levels.

Once I understood this, I realised why I ended up exhausted so often in my life and business.  Learning how to manage my energy levels as an introvert has probably been the thing that’s made the single biggest difference for me.

That’s why I want to help other conscious business owners who are fellow introverts.  I really believe the world needs what they have to offer – and they can’t share it if they’re burning themselves out!

 

2. I like your tagline: “Honour your introversion. Build Your business. Do it your way.” Especially the “honour” aspect. Can you talk a little bit more around this? For example, in what ways do introverts hold back from honouring this nature, and how can they transform the shadow into light?

Let’s start by acknowledging that this Western world we live in is highly extroverted.  Those who are “people people” tend to get ahead in the average workplace.  Parents worry if their children “don’t have enough friends”.

So most of us have grown up understanding on some level that there’s a stigma attached to being introverted.  Some introverts avoid this stigma by doing their best to act extroverted and ignoring their authentic needs (usually at a fairly major energy cost). Others take the alone-time they need, but accept that this will sometimes get them labeled “anti-social”, “shy” “selfish”, or “not dedicated enough”.

In the world of business coaching, we see the same thing cropping up. There seems to be a common assumption that everyone wants to build their business as big as possible as quickly as possible.  That we all want 5-figure Facebook networks and 6-figure incomes. That we all want to sign up as many clients as we have hours in the day to serve.  And that we should all automatically somehow have the energy to make all of that happen.

Accepting those assumptions without questioning them can lead introverts to use marketing and business-building techniques that exhaust them and feel inauthentic.  But there are a host of business-building activities that are either inherently introvert-friendly, or can easily be adapted to be.

Once you understand what they are, you can figure out the ones that will work best for you.  Combine that with basic energy management techniques, and you have a way to grow your business that genuinely honours your introversion.

 

3. What does being an “Introvert” actually mean to you? Can being an introvert make starting/growing your divine business easier in any ways?

I’ve mentioned above that introversion isn’t about shyness or disliking people.  Instead, it’s about the way your energy levels respond to interacting with other people.

So for me, being an introvert means primarily that I need a lot of alone-time.  If I don’t get enough of that time to myself, I get tired, irritable, cynical… and start feeling as though everything is just too hard.  That’s not a state in which I can effectively run a conscious business… Plus, it makes me miserable.  So I want to avoid it as much as possible!

If I get the time to myself I need though?  I can genuinely enjoy being around other people afterwards. I can bring my best self to my friends, my family, and my clients.  I can make the difference I long to make in the world.  Which is a pretty strong motivator, when it comes down to it.

Now, in addition to energy response, there are several other traits that tend to go with introversion.  (They’re not unique to introverts, and they’re not found in all introverts, but they’re more common in introverts than extroverts.)  These include things like:

  • Preferring to have a small circle of very close friends, rather than a large network
  • Knowing a lot about a few subjects, rather than a little about a wide range of topics
  • Preferring to listen and speak only after consideration, rather than talking a lot and often responding “on the fly”
  • Being detail focussed, rather than tending to take a broad view (can you tell that’s what I am from the way I’m answering these interview questions 🙂 ? )

 

4. Many heart-based entrepreneurs hold the subconscious belief that being an introvert is a barrier to growing your divine business. Can you please share some practical tips for us to release this mental block or culturally imposed belief?

The best tip I could offer is to read.  Read stories of other successful introverts. Read articles written about running and growing your business as an introvert.  Read books on introversion written by introverted or introvert-friendly authors.

Even though reading addresses the belief on a conscious level, rather than a subconscious one, I still think it’s essential. That’s because it provides practical proof that introversion does NOT have to equal business failure.

Secondly, I’d recommend doing your best to connect with other conscious introverts and sharing your concerns with them.  Sometimes that can really help to find ways around the areas where being introverted genuinely makes growing your business harder.  And on a subconscious level, it can reinforce that you’re not faulty or defective: you’re simply an introvert!

 

5. How can Conscious Introverts network effectively without draining their precious energy?

There are 3 simple things to keep in mind:

  • Mindset: don’t network from the perspective that you’re supposed to get your networking partner to buy / sign up as a client.  Instead, simply let them know who you best help and how.  That way, if they know anyone who’s a good fit for your offering, they can connect you.
  • Format: face-to-face networking is often more draining than online networking for introverts.  That’s why social media, online communities, and online networking events are often easier for us to manage than in-person networking events.
  • Structure: having a set structure for the networking conversation can help in two ways.  Firstly, many introverts find it easier to interact if there’s a known structure to the interaction. Secondly, it allows us to prepare what we want to say in advance, so we don’t need to respond “on the spot” to questions.

I have a whole section on this question in my Promotion for Introverts programme, and I’ll be offering  an hour-long class on it later this year.

For more information about introvert-friendly networking, I highly recommend Devorah Zack’s book “Networking for People who hate Networking”.

 

6. As a conscious introvert yourself, what were your biggest challenges when you started your own online business? And how have you managed to get around them?

I think my biggest challenges were managing my energy (which I talked about earlier) and listening to / accepting my inner wisdom.

I was never particularly intuitive in my early life – I tended to rely on practicality and logic.  So it was often a challenge to connect with what was genuinely true for me, rather than what I thought should be true.

A big part of dealing with that has been consciously deciding to pay attention to my inner voice. To give it space to speak through meditation, journaling and reflection. And to be willing to at least consider acting on what it says.

That’s still a work in progress, to be honest, but I’m better than I used to be.

 

7. I think good energy management requires a solid self-awareness. Can you please share your #1 tool with our readers on identifying energy leakages?

Hmmmmm… I think the #1 tool is going to depend on the person in question. I strongly believe that there’s no such thing as “one right way” for everyone.

 

About Tanja

Tanja Gardner is a deeply introverted (but not even *slightly* shy!) heart-based entrepreneur who started business life online as a tanja-gardner-4977-webcopywriter for difference-makers. 

Somewhere along the lines, she discovered she longed to help introverts like her to build their businesses while honouring their introversion.  So she started Conscious Introvert Success: a treasure-trove of introvert-friendly information and resources.

You can check out Tanja’s thoughts about everything introvert-related on her blog, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

And if you’re interested in learning how to DEAL with energy leakages once you’ve identified them, her brand new Energy Management 101 training pack

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tanja @ Conscious Introvert Success

Hi Yiye – thank you so much for inviting me to come “play in your sandbox”, and asking me such awesome questions. And thank you for your generous gift to folks who are interested in the Energy Management 101 package.

If there are any questions I can answer for your people regarding the pack – or introversion generally – I’d love to 🙂

Blessings

TANJA

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