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Seow Yan Yi
Seow Yan Yi

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Being An Introvert Is Not The Problem; Being Stuck Is

“How to grow your developer career despite being an introvert?”

This question is something I’ve come across several times in my coaching career.

The problem with this statement is that it implies being an introvert somehow hampers your career.

You might be thinking… How is it not a problem?!

I get talked over at work very often. Presentations still scare me after all these years. I have a habit of not wanting to bug people and end up never asking for help.

How do I get promoted, start a company, lead a team if I can’t do all these?

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert

Many successful people are introverts.

Elon Musk

Barack Obama

Michael Jordan

Steven Spielberg

Marissa Mayer

So what’s the difference between them and someone who feels their introversion is a disadvantage?

Being stuck is the problem

Let’s say you are an introvert who loves to create stuff, being inside your own bubble, dreaming up ideas.

But if the situation requires you to be out there, talking to people and presenting your ideas, and you are unable to do that, then that’s not workable.

What doesn’t work is if you’re perpetually stuck in a passive / internal / shy state and you can’t get out of your shell.

Whether you are a CEO who has to network or a software architect who has to present and convince stakeholders… are you capable of it?

Elon musk might love to spend time with books and rockets more than people… but hey. If he needs to get something done – no matter how many people he has to inspire, convince, or sell to – he will do it.

But… that’s who I am!

My mentor once told me this:

If you think that’s who you are, then it’s true.

If you think that isn’t who you are, it’s also true.

My gripe with most introvert blogs out there is they mostly parrot the narrative that people should “understand introverts more”.

“Why the world needs introverts”

“6 ways to make an introvert feel valued”

“Why I feel grateful to be an introvert”

I’m not against making the world a more inclusive place.

I’m against justifying behaviours so that you don’t have to grow, and hoping that the world will adapt to your preferences.

And this applies to “introvert” as much as any other personality label.

The journey is worth it

I’m still far from living at my fullest potential, yet I’ve already grown in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined before.

Being able to express myself genuinely without fear, finding work that fulfils me and having loving relationships with people who matter.

Ultimately it boils down to what kind of life you want to live. A life full of possibilities, or a life constrained?

PS: If you liked this article, do subscribe to my blog for more!

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