How to Find Confidence in a Community (as an introvert)
You’re part of a lot of communities, both business and personal. Mommy groups, your circle of friends, networking groups, the PTA, masterminds and more. But it can be easy to feel lost in the crowd when you’re part of a community--especially when you’re an introvert.
Introverts aren’t necessarily shy, but they don’t typically gather energy from being in a crowded room. They can stand up and speak to an audience, but starting those smaller conversations are tough. Introverts are repelled by small talk and want to get to the heart of the matter. We also tend to panic when walking into a room of people.
Who do I talk to? Everyone already knows one another. I’m all alone. I have nothing to contribute to the conversation.
And so we tend to either not show up as ourselves, or just not show up at all.
That’s not going to help you grow your business. Instead, take these action steps to move the needle--quickly.
Know your safe space
Not every community is a safe space. Sadly, I know you know this by now. I honestly believe that it falls on the group owner or facilitator to take responsibility for this. It’s the owner who leads the way and community members tend to fall in line with her. When she’s not fully present and vulnerable, other group members follow suit. Sometimes this means finding a paid group or membership with a leader you follow closely; other times this means creating your own circle of biz besties you nurture and grow yourself.
Identify guidelines that you’re willing and able to uphold. Most communities today, especially those that live on Facebook, have guidelines that help give members direction and keep spammy posts to a minimum. Find communities that have the right vibe and feel to them so
Make sure the group leader is actively involved. The more active the community leader is, the more likely community members will adhere to the guidelines and the more invested she will be in the success of the members.
Find a group where the facilitator openly shares her story and challenges. No one is immune to struggles, especially not someone who has seen growth and success in business. Anyone who doesn’t share challenges is hiding something. Do you want to learn from someone who isn’t completely transparent?
Be visible in the group
People need to know who you are so they will interact with you, and if you’re hiding behind the computer screen that’s not going to happen. You must be active and visible. This can help boost your confidence and build another tier of support around you and your business.
Be active on others’ posts. People post in groups because they need accountability and support--just like you. When someone posts a question you can answer, answer it! When someone is looking for expertise you don’t have, refer them (or tag) someone who does have that expertise.
Ask for support and guidance. That’s why you joined the group in the first place, right? There’s no shame in asking for help; it shows you’re vulnerable and human, just like everyone else. You don’t need to divulge your whole life’s story, but it’s okay to show you need help.
Be supportive of others. Even if you can’t answer someone’s question, you can still offer support. Cheer others on, send virtual hugs and acknowledge someone else’s goals. The best way to be part of the community is to be someone others can lean on.
Take imperfect action
Confidence comes from doing the thing, and doing it imperfectly. It’s scary and unnerving, but you have to find the courage to put yourself out there so you can get feedback. When you’re in a community or small group, it’s easier. And when your group leader has also put herself out there and shown her own vulnerability, it may feel easier.
Perfection is actually procrastination in disguise. I know you want that blog post, video, sales page, whatever to be perfect. But what you’re really doing is living in fear as a way to not take action.
Nothing is ever perfect, and that’s part of the joy of imperfect action. We learn from mistakes and missteps. Me? I’ve learned a lot over the years. But I wouldn’t have learned anything if I hadn’t posted that first video or blog post or sent that first email.
Practice and repeat
A community is the perfect place to practice your pitches, talks and posts and to ask questions so you can get feedback and then take the next step. Plus, putting yourself out there will get easier the more you do it. Trust me. (And it’s okay if it’s imperfect!)
Ask for feedback from others. Then listen to it and take action. I’m not afraid to ask my team or even my members to tell me my baby is ugly. As a business owner, I’m often too close to my own projects to see the mistakes and missteps.
Keep posting and putting yourself out there. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it will get. Plus, you’ll continue getting more feedback that allows you to perfect your videos, podcasts, social posts--whatever it is you’re putting out there.
This is a tough concept to grasp when you’re trying to make a bigger impact than you have before. If you’re introverted or don’t like putting yourself out there, this may be even more difficult.
Don’t try to be someone else. This should go without saying. We all have other business owners we admire, but what makes them special is not what makes us special. Maybe they love to do Facebook Lives (if the group allows) but you’re not ready for video. Instead, keep connecting with others in the group on the posts and eventually move those conversations to virtual coffee chats. Trying to be someone you’re not will just feel icky and make you come off as fake.
Capitalize on your unique personality. You should be sharing your story with others on social media--where your business started, what challenges you have, how your personal life fits into your professional life (and vice versa), what you do when you’re not working or parenting. These things are what make you, you and what makes you unique. Talk about it in your safe spaces. It’s a great way to connect with others, making those communities even more valuable.
Slowly step outside your comfort zone
Eventually, take action outside your comfort zone. That means putting yourself out there outside of the small, safe community you’ve found and taking a leap into something scary. This is what business is all about! You’ve developed relationships, practiced your content, gotten the help and support you needed and honed your messaging. Now you get to put those ideas and thoughts out there to the world--and I’ll bet that you have your own audience of cheerleaders that will cheer you on along the way.
If you haven’t been able to find a safe space to call your own yet, you’re invited to join my free Facebook group, Strategy By Design. I’m in there regularly, cheering members on and facilitating conversations to help you take the next big step in your business. It’s the perfect place to find your confidence so you can soar!