I am an introvert, and for years I struggled with the prospect that many extroverts were achieving the fame, accolades and recognition I deeply desired. Yet I felt I did not have the enormous energy for people and self-promotion that extroverts naturally possessed, and was too sensitive a person to achieve this. The rift in my identity that this began to create in me engendered a passion to discover and address the question of how to get what I truly desired in life- those lofty ambitions that kept me up at night.

I am not alone. The truth is that Western society favours extroversion. We are generally taught that introverts are people who prefer to work and stay in the background. However, a major concern for many introverts is achieving a life worthy of recognition while being authentic and true to oneself in an extroverted world. Many worry that they don’t have the energy to do all that the extrovert does, but yet they deeply desire to be just as accomplished, recognised and celebrated. Indeed, both groups are equally endowed with the capacity for great achievement.

This describes what I like to call the dilemma of the ambitious introvert. In a sense it’s not a dilemma at all if we understand introversion and extroversion as sitting on the opposite ends of the same continuum. When we take this perspective the two concepts become more fluid and allow for varying degrees of introversion among the body of introverts and the same for extroverts. This perspective also allows that we stand at a fixed point in relation to each other on the continuum. This means the “ambitious introvert” is really one who is closer to extroversion on the continuum than others.

The use of the word ambitious does not imply that because I may dream of receiving Damehood from the Queen of England that another who desires to see all her kindergarten students grow up to be healthy and productive citizens is not ambitious. We are both ambitious. The word here is simply to describe those persons who presume to want to achieve anything in life.

Another point to consider is that, if we live long enough to grow old, as we get older, we will become less self-focused and more interested in others and contributing to society and the world. We develop into more well-rounded individuals, and the lines of introversion and extroversion are blurred to the onlooker who holds these concepts too rigidly. Our greater orientation to being other-centered may make the introvert appear more extroverted, and the growing need for introspection makes the extrovert appear more introverted, and I’d like to believe we meet each other at the idyllic middle.

If you really think about it, can you tell whether your 63 year old grandfather is an introvert or an extrovert? All you know and care is that he is a person. It may well be then that the contention of introversion and extroversion is a preoccupation of Gen-Yers, and Millennials, or the young.

So how can you mitigate the chasm between who you are and what you want to achieve? How can you get what you truly desire in life?

1. Know who you are

Introversion is the preference for introspection, and internal processing of information as a way of life. Introverts do their best thinking alone, and gain the most energy from quiet time with self, reflecting, processing, planning, and doing. Introverts think before they speak and do not readily share their values and beliefs unless prompted to do so. While extroverts gain energy from interacting with many people, introverts do not. Therefore the crux of the matter for introverts is their energy and how they manage it.

Complementary to this is to get a good sense of your personality type and how you function best, what motivates you and what your definition of success is. Doing a personality test with a tool like the Carl Jung’s 16 Personality types or the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator is an excellent place to start. From a place of knowledge you will be equipped to grow your vision.

2. Think like an extrovert 

If you want to achieve like an extrovert, you must think like one. Ask yourself what would the extrovert do, and do the same. I do not recommend that you attempt to try to become an extrovert but rather take patterns from them. Without trying to show-up like one, you can adopt positive key lessons from observing them. They are not afraid to tell others about their skills, and abilities, and you shouldn’t be either. After all, you will not be recognised for work the world does not know that you do. So show up and introduce yourself.

3. Be strategic – cut to the chase

If you desire to be visible, strategy becomes key in making connections, networking, and visiblity. One of the ways we are taught to be visible is to be active on all social media platforms, show up in facebook groups constantly posting, commenting, and engaging to build momentum and visibility, in other words constant talking.

While extroverts excel at this and may relish it, most introverts find this an unappealing prospect – impractical, inefficient, and downright draining. Instead of doing this, I recommend that you shoot straight for what you desire. Only reach out to key persons, building rapport, informing them of the purpose for reaching out, seek to cultivate a relationship, and demonstrate how you see your contribution can add further value to what they are creating.

4. Create your own path

I believe the best way to achieve what you desire is to create it for yourself. Do not solely rely on more extroverted persons to facilitate you. Do not wait for people to book you, I recommend that you create your own opportunities, and establish yourself as the expert. This will give you a great sense of satisfaction, and a new level of self-respect.

Besides, people will still need a frame of reference for what you say you can do. Therefore there must be ready social evidence to support what you say about yourself. Go ahead and create your life.

5. Delegate to Extroverts

Even though you are great at planning, structuring, and organising behind the scenes, if achieving your dreams requires mining a Facebook group 20 hours a day in order to promote and sell your products and services, I recommend delegating all marketing and promotion activity like these to the experts (aka the extroverts). This frees you up to spend energy on the things you do best.

6. Go ahead and promote yourself

Promoting yourself, making connections, pitching how great you are at what you do is not sleazy or inauthentic, but quite practical and sensible. Not achieving your dreams can be woefully unsatisfying, and not an option for ambitious introverts.

So…go ahead and promote yourself. Tell the people with whom you desire to connect (and the world) how great you are at what you do, because you are highly introspective, thorough, caring, and precise, and that’s why you will add tremendous value to their lives.

7. Take consistent, methodical steps

Introverts are kings and queens of the methodical; we are great planners and can structure our lives very well. Therefore instead of trying to mimic the spontaneity of many extroverts, you should do what you do best, plan and construct. I recommend these four steps.

First, envision what you desire clearly. Then determine what it takes to get there, without making a judgment about how simple or difficult it is. Next, create a list of clear and simple action steps to match, and finally, methodically work your plan to achieve your dream.

8. Stay focused

As you observe your extroverted colleagues take action toward their goals, ever so often you may be tempted to act out like an extrovert, or may doubt that the path you are taking will get you to where you desire to be. But it’s important to stay focused and not be deterred from your path.


If you follow the above steps, then you will accomplish what you desire. Be authentic, be yourself, and do not force your energy beyond its limit. Be methodical and you will achieve what you truly desire.

 

Lleuella Morris is a Personal Development Consultant based in Trinidad & Tobago. She creates tools, techniques, systems, and frameworks to grow and develop people, bringing them a greater understanding of themselves, develop their capacity, and help them solve difficult ‘thorn-in-the-flesh’ existential life issues. She specialises in Personality and Personal Growth and enjoys bringing new knowledge and perspective on old issues to change outdated thinking and promote emotional and cognitive well-being. You’ll find Lleuella at AMZ Consulting Company Limited.


Take any major company you know, and you’re bound to discover that it has a mission statement. A mission statement, in its most basic form, is nothing more than a summary of an organisation’s goals and values.

Google, for example, operates under a very simple premise: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This informs everything that Google creates and provides to its consumers. Sir Richard Brandon’s company Virgin Airlines also boasts a very simple mission statement: “to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.” Toward this end, everything they do is meant to “make flying good again.”

With the dawn of a new year now upon us, many companies will perhaps be reevaluating their mission statements to determine if they still are relevant to the company’s present goals, aims, and directions. If not, then it will be time to return to the drawing board and design a new mission statement that is more compatible with the way the company has since evolved.

If your team finds itself in such a camp, not to worry. Below are 4 questions to ask yourself during this process that will make developing a new mission statement an easier task.

1) What is your why?

Simon Sinek’s popular book Start with Why, he discusses how movements become contagious not necessarily because of their leaders but because of what those leaders represent: their purpose, their cause, their belief. Understanding this is essential to creating a mission statement that your employees and consumers can enthusiastically get behind.

Let’s take the example once more of Virgin Airlines. Despite being new on the scene within the airline industry, Virgin Airlines had already flown 1 million passengers in less than a decade of being in service. They were also the first airline to offer individual TVs to their business class passengers. Their why of “making flying good again” rallied a dedicated fan base, and it wasn’t long before they became famous for the world-class service they offer to all their passengers (from first-class to coach).

So, what is your company’s ‘why’? What pains do you seek to remedy? What problems do you seek to solve? And why is that important? How does it improve life for your clients and/or consumers?

2) What does success look like?

Clarity is fundamental when it comes to laying down the foundations for your company’s growth. Your mission statement serves the purpose of giving your company a goal. Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, Inc., offers these words to potential new employees: “Apple has always been different…It’s a special place where we have the opportunity to create the best products on earth – products that change lives and help shape the future…”

It’s no surprise then that Apple has come to be a company that is known for constantly focusing on innovating. Some of the greatest advances in technology have come out of Apple, and few would argue that they’re a leader in consumer technology. This can certainly be a way for Apple to measure their success.

How will your company measures its own success? Is it when you’re the leader in your own industry? Is it when you’ve reached a certain milestone in sales or customer acquisitions? Knowing this now will help you work harder and in a more focused way toward reaching your company goals.

3) What resources do you need to make it happen?

Sir Richard Branson needed licenses, aircrafts, and staff members in order to get his airline off the ground. Steve Jobs needed the partnership of engineer Steve Wozniak (and his parents’ garage) to found Apple, Inc.

What additional resources might your company need in order to get to the next level in the New Year? These additional resources can take the form of new employees, new management, new projects, new consultants, new contracts, and so on. Think outside the box and consider ways that your company might be stagnant in its growth at present. What can push it to a new stage of evolution? What will it need to grow in a new direction?

4) Who does the mission statement affect?

One of the most important aspects of architecting a mission statement, and the one aspect that’s unfortunately most overlooked, is to consider who your mission statement will ultimately affect. One of Steve Jobs’ rookie mistakes during Apple’s initial growth was designing a computer for the every-day person (the famous Macintosh)…but then sticking a price tag on it ($2,495 back in the eighties) that the average consumer could in no way afford.

But knowing who your mission statement affects goes beyond the client and/or consumer. It’s also equally important to consider your company’s employees. They will be brand ambassadors for your company, after all, and so they need to believe that the work they do somehow contributes to the overall big picture. That said, where possible, involve your teams in the creation of the company’s mission statement. Get their input and their involvement. When you do this, staff members begin to take ownership of the mission statement and feel as if it’s their own, which means they’re more apt to go the extra mile in helping the company reach its accomplishments.


Developing mission statements can be a challenging business, but with the guidance of the 4 questions above, you’ll gain the clarity and knowledge you need to press forward with confidence and ease. As a result, you’ll design a fitting mission statement that will help your company evolve in the New Year and achieve its goals like never before.


One sad, sorry Wednesday morning, whilst lying in bed scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed and ignoring the many alarms emanating from my clock radio, I came across a particular meme that stopped me in my tracks.  It was an image of popstar Beyonce Knowles on stage, in costume, mid-dance move.  Arms high above her head.  The caption read, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce”.

I’m not encouraging everyone to become Beyonce, but social media was right.  Beyonce DOES have the same 24 hours in a day as us mere plebs, and while I certainly don’t aim to be a pop culture phenomenon (or suggest that her lifestyle and music is for everyone), I do know that I certainly have 24 hours in my day to achieve amazing things.  Just like you. Just like Australian pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons.  Just like my hairdresser Sarah.  Just like my good mate Jen.

So what does it take to achieve amazing feats of excellence in the same 24 hour period as everyone else?  What sets those that do apart from those that don’t? How do they motivate themselves through rough patches, how do they remain humble whilst still reaching for more?  Five of Australia’s top athletes, Jessica Fox, Sally Fitzgibbons, Jordan Mercer, Ellyse Perry and Anna Flanagan, give us their inside scoop into their passions, inspirations and motivations behind who they are and what they’ve achieved.

1. They were all influenced and inspired by other people

Greatness doesn’t exist in a bubble. Sure, it ultimately comes from within, but without great role models or personal cheer squads in our corner, clamouring for our success, it can be a long and lonely road to where we want to be.  Sally Fitzgibbons says top athletes serve as her inspiration, particularly Australian former Olympic track athlete John Landy.  “He exemplified the meaning of hard work, determination and wore his heart on his sleeve”, Sally says.  For Australian world champion slalom canoeist Jessica Fox, people who overcame obstacles to reach their goals serve as her inspiration.  She cites Olympic Gold Medallist, Australian track cyclist Anna Meares as someone with tenacity and mental strength.  “She overcame so many setbacks in her career to come back and perform in those major competitions like the Olympics”.

But it doesn’t always have to be people in your industry that influence and inspire you. Ironwoman Jordan Mercer draws inspiration from kids with special needs, thanks to her charity work with the likes of Noosa Seahorse Nippers, Surfers Healing and Paddle4Autism.  She also draws inspiration from family, like her Aunty Jen.

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Australian Women's Hockeyroo Anna Flanagan

Australian Women’s Hockeyroo Anna Flanagan

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Australian Women's Cricketer and Footballer Ellyse Perry

Australian Women’s Cricketer and Footballer Ellyse Perry

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2. They maintain a life that doesn’t always revolve around chasing their goals

Being goal-orientated is a great thing, in fact, it’s essential to achievement.  But being a well-rounded individual is also important.  It keeps you grounded, it keeps you sane.  If you’re constantly chasing your goals without taking a step back and experiencing the joys the rest of your life can offer you, then what is the point of all this goal-chasing?

Top athletes are the same.  All-rounder Ellyse Perry, who represents Australia in both cricket and football, maintains hobbies and goals separate from her competitive sporting life.  “I study part time at uni, spend a lot of time at cafes, and love seeing family and friends”, she explains.  Australian field hockey player and Hockeyroo Anna Flanagan is much the same.  “I love blogging and writing”, she says, “But otherwise skateboarding and hanging out at the beach are where you will generally find me in my free time”.

3. They know the importance of staying healthy

We all know that life gets busy sometimes, and you might be too busy to hit the gym, or make yourself a nutritious meal, or hell, even just have a proper breakfast.  But life is a marathon, not a sprint, and burning out due to stress or poor diet and inactivity is the quickest way to stop you reaching your goals.

Mercer is a big believer in food being the best source of nutrition, by fuelling your body with food that will nourish you, without potions or pills.  Fox agrees, and stresses that fad diets and supplements aren’t always the best thing for you.  “I really just believe in a balanced diet, and that you can get everything you need from a good diet. I tend to try and stay away from fads, and try and eat for my exercise”.

In fact, it’s a point echoed by Flanagan, too. “A healthy lifestyle is far more satisfying than constantly being on fad diets and yo-yoing with weight”, she says.  “Exercise makes you happy, and is so good for your body”.

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Ironwoman Jordan Mercer

Ironwoman Jordan Mercer

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Slalom Canoeist Jess Fox

Slalom Canoeist Jess Fox

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4. They are passionate about their passions

As you’d expect from top performers, their passions really are their passions.  It fuels their lifestyle, it gets them up in the morning, it pushes them to try harder.  This is how you should be with your passions, too.  Find something you know will make you happy pursuing, and gets you going.  Fitzgibbons says it’s important to see women loving what they do in life.  “I’m passionate about seeing women radiating happiness, standing up for what they believe in and living their passion with confidence and pride”.

Perry knows that her passion for sports fuels her, with or without the accolades.  “Even if I didn’t make it to the highest level, I’m sure I would still be playing sport, but from the moment I played my first game for Australia, I knew I wanted to make it my career”.

A healthy lifestyle is far more satisfying than constantly being on fad diets and yo-yoing with weight

Flanagan’s passion for field hockey grew when she represented the country at the Olympics, particularly as she was surrounded by other athletes at the top of their game.  But it’s what you put into your passions that produce what you get out of it.  “I truly believe that what you put into a career, you will get out”, she says.  “I think good things don’t come easy, and it’s reminding yourself of what you want through the hard times”.

5. They know how to motivate themselves and remind themselves of the why behind their actions

Sometimes you set yourself a goal and then work towards achieving it, but then lose your path along the way.  Maybe you needed to take a side step in order to go forward, or even pause for a while to train or retrain, or focus on your family or health.  Whatever the reason, if your motivation is strong, you will continue on your path no matter what.  “I always have my ultimate goal of becoming World Champion to motivate me and push me through those hard days when you are exhausted”, Fitzgibbons explains.  “It gets me out of bed before 5am every morning to go out and work harder than the previous day”.

Australian professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons

Australian professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons

Perry also finds that just getting up and out is a step in the right direction.  “I always find once you get going, it’s never as bad as what you thought it was going to be, and I always end up enjoying it”.  Sure, you might not be a champion athlete, but this positive attitude can be used in any situation.  Got a presentation you need to prepare for?  Need the push to finally work on your resume for career progression?  It’s the motivation to just get up and take that step that makes the difference between sitting still or moving forward, even just slightly.  Fox definitely applies this mindset to her training routine.  “The saying goes that the only session you regret is one you didn’t do”.

Remember also that your why is important. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What is it about this lifestyle that makes you so determined to strive for it?  Mercer gives herself short-term and long-term goals to remind her that the hard yards she’s working through now will all be worth it in the long run.

The only session you regret is one you didn’t do

If you want to succeed in anything, be it in your career, your health or your finances, your determination to make it through the rough times are what’s going to get you to your goals.  Fitzgibbons remembers clearly the advice given to her by tennis legend Martina Navratilova, “She told me that champions adjust. No matter what obstacles you are faced with, they find a way to be the best they can possibly be”.

All images courtesy of athlete’s promoters and used with permission. Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0

 

EricaEnriquezPhotoErica Enriquez

Erica is a Sydney-based writer and digital marketer, and can often be found pounding away on a keyboard, writing about everything from travel, lifestyle, well-being and anything in between. When she is not writing, she is STILL writing, developing copy and content for websites and marketing collateral. Erica is passionate about film, literature and culture (high brow and low brow), as well as pro-social causes supporting cultural engagement (counting travelling as one of them). In her spare time, she loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book, go for a nice dinner with friends or spend time with her partner.