“And don’t EVEN suggest that introverts aren’t passionate. The greatest paintings, revelations, & scientific literature were likely born in a quiet room. Introverts are full of passion; it just tends to seethe within.” ~Sophia Dembling, The Introvert’s Way
One of the things I love about having an online business are the interactions with my readers, social media followers, and subscribers alike.
When I get emails asking me for something specific or replying to my follow-up touch point after signing up for my twice-a-month updates, I’m always amazed at the grace, integrity, and heart the women (and men) have who come into this space. (And yes, some men visit and write on occasion and we love them too!)
They’re even members of our online community: The Introvert Effect on G+ (Google Plus)
[Note – you need a Google Plus account to click that link and see a “request to join” button. If you don’t have one, go here to set one up and get into the group.]
Something I’ve been asked for as of late is to help provide concrete examples of a few core things:
- How to be more visible in life or work, whether online or otherwise, through the different modes of expression
- How to apply your most dominant forms of self-expression concretely or practically in your life and work
All very valid questions and points of seeking.
My goal for this post (and the one to follow in Part 2) is to succinctly answer both of those needs simultaneously, hence the title for this post.
The real fact is this…
The core of our conversation here has to be able to be applied – I don’t just want to provide content and strategies that you can’t actually use in your day-to-day lifestyle or work, and you’ll hear me say that often.
In this post, we’ll dig a bit deeper toward practical experience to find what some real situations are and how to use these forms of expression in those situations (or what opportunities are you may have not thought of).
These are just ideas to get you started, so they aren’t exhaustive. Depending on the feedback received, I could possibly also share more ideas in a future series.
Let’s look at the 14 most dominant forms of self-expression and my ideas for you when it comes to practical application and increased visibility within each one:
If you missed this post on 5 types of assertiveness no one ever thinks about, it’s a great read. Make sure you check that one out.
Assertiveness is too large a topic to delve into here in this one paragraph, but when it comes to this being a dominant form of self-expression, I would say that being more visible means you don’t shy away from the issues when you would rather do so.
If you’re an assertive introvert, it becomes about saying what you know needs to be said, even if it’s uncomfortable. Many introverts who are assertive struggle with timing, picking their right battles, and delivery.
For the assertive introvert, it becomes about balance, experience, and wisdom more than it does about actually being assertive – you’ve got that part down.
Honestly, the word design can be applied to many things, but I had these in mind when I formulated the boards on Pinterest and the board names:
- Web Design
- Graphic Design
- Home Interior Design
- Fashion Design
Those are just a few industries who contain qualified experts or creative vision we often label as “designers.”
There are loads more.
Let’s say you’re a graphic designer who’s looking for a way to get yourself more out there online. Visibly, this means at some point, you need to put your work online. If you don’t, no one will see it. This may somewhat petrify you, so my suggestion is always to start small. Watch other online designers across different industries – how are they inserting their designs into their content? How are they presenting it? Set up a private blog and invite only a select few people to view the content until you get more comfortable with your designs, yourself, and the online world. I believe you can do this through blogger.com.
Music flows through my veins. As a former music pastor [yes, I’m serious], I have led countless worship services at churches across the entire world, including Brazil in 2002 on a missions trip.
I haven’t actually sang on a stage since 2009, but I started singing when I was just 3 years old. I started singing on stages around 6 or 7, so I have ample experience when it comes to knowing about being seen or looked at by thousands and thousands of people while you sing (even in their native language). What many people don’t know is I was always uncomfortable on stage. I was always nervous and always paranoid. I’m an introvert, so I never got comfortable with expressing myself that way in front of people – speaking might turn out to be different for me.
With this form of expression however, there are multiple ways to be seen more that are practical. It could be playing in a band you’ve always wanted to play for, making mix CD’s for people (I do this often), writing music (if you’re lucky enough to know how), or learning to play an instrument if you sing, so you can write & produce your own songs.
Maybe it’s going to a concert where it’s totally okay to yell your stinkin’ lungs out. [insert laughs]. There’s a ton of options to think about.
I will go for a drive for 30 minutes, JUST to be in a confined space with loud music. It’s literally a hobby for me to do this! And I have no qualms about doing so.
4. Artistic Abstracts
This board is one of the biggest boards on my Pinterest page, and I guess it’s because there’s so much beautiful art being pinned! I can’t help but pin to this board constantly.
A few things I can think of here (thanks to my friend Michelle Currie for inspiring some of these ideas!):
- Get your art into some local exhibits
- List your art on your website and sell them
- Try to work with West Elm and their collaborations program
- Sell it to friends or family to get it into their homes as conversation pieces (word of mouth marketing)
- Sell it to brides-to-be for their receptions or ceremony foyers as conversation pieces to compliment their day
- Tom’s has a new collaborations program too – get it in!
So for you, it’s about being seen for the right reasons, not necessarily being more visible in the physical realm.
If you give back to other causes, showcase that. If you are in a high position of power at your company, treat people with tons more respect than even people who work alongside them. If you can help someone make a meaningful connection with another business owner, entrepreneur, or brand, make it happen – don’t wait to be asked.
Your power is about influence, so do just that if you want to be seen more.
I added entrepreneurship as a form of expression toward the end of 2013 because it was time to view it that way.
Any of us who are building ourselves (and our work) into a brand online, understand that we are fully expressing who we are through our business – if you’re not, you’re holding back from your market and the fullest expression they need.
I don’t quite agree with the notion that our business are only part of us. I do however, agree with Steven Pressfield’s definition in The War of Art, when he discusses seeing ourselves in our work, then seeing the PRO of our work. Madonna isn’t “Madonna” – Madonna employs Madonna. Beyonce employs Beyonce.
Same person – two different expressions.
Both Carrie Underwood and Beyonce have voiced in interviews I’ve seen with them that they are different people on stage as the “artist” than they are at home – completely different expressions, but the same person.
In my opinion, we’re never separate with regard to expression for how we show up in our work – we’re simply a more disciplined one.
For entrepreneurs, being more visible in a more practical way might include:
- Guest posting somewhere you wouldn’t normally guest post
- Being a part of a blog tour or interview series, much like I conduct here
- Starting discussions in forums where your voice is respected and heard
- Leaving comments on articles you read with your perspective noted
I could go on for days with this one, but the key is authenticity. Now, I know that word is grossly over-used in the online space today, but it still exists in our lexicon. Genuineness and authentic connection online as an entrepreneur matters. Authenticity with your clients at your brick and mortar store or business is what matters.
Being more visible, for you, probably means getting real comfortable with some people not liking what you do or the way you do it.
Gosh, can I just say something right here? 70-80% of the women I’ve interviewed in The Expressive Introvert interview series so far say their dominant form of self-expression (or at least one of them) is writing.
That tells me there’s a representation there of a larger demographic. Countless introverts love 2 things dearly – reading and writing. Even if you’re not good at it (whatever that means…remember this post?), you probably still love it.
Becoming more visible as a writer is very difficult to do when you struggle with it. Read this post by Sarah Selecky to get you started in the right direction. Then, sign up for everything you can with her, so she can help you through that process.
Honestly, if you want to blog online, I say just start writing about things that matter to you and things that light you up inside. Don’t try to mimic what I do here on my blog or what you see others doing. My blog has gone through years of iteration, starting in 2010. You can’t imagine what I’ve gone through since then to get to the clarity I have now – it took 3 years to cultivate. And this isn’t a diary – it’s where I hold a specific conversation for the specific reason of touching thousands of women online and moving my business forward. Yes, I share personal stories with you often, but even that is part of the expression of the business.
However, when I started writing online, it was about the visibility process – working through fear, focus, perfectionism, business, entrepreneurship, watching videos, freaking out, erasing blog after blog after blog, saying things I wish I hadn’t later, deleting more blogs, and my own creative process to refine it.
My heart still sinks at times when I push the “Publish” button in my WordPress dashboard, but I do it anyway and it’s done. It took a long time to get to that place of freedom and comfortability with my own thought process.
Do something that stretches you out of your comfort zone, but don’t jump off the edge of a cliff with no support either. Find a mode or method that serves you now – maybe journaling on a schedule, then moving it to a blog, or only blogging for a few people you allow to see it.
Coming Up in the Next Post
8. Makeup & Beauty
You’ll notice that I’ve linked you up to every Pinterest board that visually represents these modes of expression in the above posts. I encourage you, whether you’re signed up for Pinterest or not, to review these and read my commentary on each board in the ones that interest you. I teach a LOT through Pinterest content and I recently reached 1,000 followers which I have to admit, was kind of an exciting day!
I’d love to know from you…
What is one thing you can implement this week to practically apply activity to one of these expressions, if they pertain to you?
Until next post, thank you for reading & being here!