The Expressive Introvert, Cigdem Kobu, Talks With Us…@cigdemkobu

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xo, The Expressive Introvert: Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Interviews with Women Who Work, Live, & Love On Their Own Terms is an occasional interview feature here to help cultivate that bit of authentic self-expression within you we all want a littlle more of.

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From Tamisha:

When I first saw Cigdem (pronounced “Chi-dam” – “chi” as in in Tai Chi), it was on Twitter. I think I must’ve seen someone re-tweet something of hers, and I immediately wanted to know more about her work online and with introvert business owners.

I checked out her incredibly detailed, yet satisfying, Progress Lounge for introverts who are also solo, small business owners desiring to build an authentic business with less stress and more ease, and I was amazed.

Although I haven’t yet had the privilege of working with Cigdem, I can already vouch for her integrity of character and her sweet spirit – not to mention, the wealth of knowledge she holds!  Just go visit the Progress Lounge and you’ll see what I mean.

The Progress Lounge is a peaceful virtual haven for introverted women solopreneurs who long for a calmer progress. (Isn’t that…..gorgeous?)

It’s a unique membership community Cigdem has created for creative women who prefer to grow their online business platform in a safe, calm, cozy (and structured) sanctuary free of noise, hype or overwhelm. If you fit that description, I hope you’ll sit serene with this gorgeous interview today, and take in the wisdom that is, Cigdem Kobu.

Cigdem is a beautiful soul, and the type of person I love to say I’ve made a new connection with.

All my love, support, & appreciation for you and your time,

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Cigdem Kobu, creator of The Progress Lounge & believer in peaceful triumphs in life, work, & art.

Cigdem Kobu, INFP and multilinguist, writes, teaches, & designs e-programs, builds websites, connects people, and creates peacefully supportive communities.

She believes business is fun when it nourishes your heart first and that, building a business is the best way for deep personal growth. [Tamisha’s Note: We agree wholeheartedly on this!]

As a serial entrepreneur, she’s learned by experience that becoming fully aware of your unique style, personality ingredients and distinguishing strengths is crucial for succeeding in life and business.

Outside of The Progress Lounge, she also offers full business audits, progress intensive sessions, and a 12-part eCourse that addresses the 12 Entrepreneurial Laws of Joy & Ease.

You can connect with Cigdem on social media on her Twitter, Facebook, and Google + accounts to get to know her even more.

Last, but not least, check out her 50 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me page. Tons of talent and heart in this woman!

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T: When did you know for sure, without a doubt, you were an introvert?

C: Around the time I was 10. Naturally, I wasn’t aware of the concept of introversion yet, but I realized and acknowledged that I felt much better and more at ease when I had the opportunity to spend quiet time on my own with my books, diary and daydreams. I was a good listener and also highly intuitive. And I was drawn to what energized me the most: reading, writing, drawing, contemplating, calmer and deeper kind of friendships, and nature.

I remember that in high school I secretly wished I was more outgoing. And in college, I found out about introversion/extroversion through the Myers-Briggs assessment. I remember it as a huge ‘aha!’ moment.

T: Usually, every introvert (and extrovert) has qualities of both introversion and extroversion. What is one of your favorite extroverted qualities about yourself?

C: Even though I’m 100% introverted, I’m a natural community builder, leader and connector. I was like this when I was a kid. And I have the same ability as a solopreneur and business mentor now. I love to create environments where women can learn, grow, flourish, and make progress – personally and professionally – in peace and without feeling drained.

I think my uniqueness as a community leader is that the community experiences I craft and provide – recently the Progress Lounge – naturally reflect the preferences of an introvert: the environment is very peaceful; the conversations are in-depth and rich, the pace is relaxed and comforting; and, the people are genuine, respectful, gentle, and calm. And they are also great listeners. Isn’t this the way we want to learn and grow as introverts?

I feel very comfortable about leading, teaching and being present, but I do it the introverted way. I don’t need to remain in the foreground like an extrovert and keep talking and talking. I’m happy to do the work, share, give the tools, and then step back, let others step into the limelight to share their own gift and help each other.

In the meantime, I continue to observe, gently step in and give more active support, and reiterate both the environment and the experience so my community’s needs are better fulfilled.

T: Can you share a situation or time where you would have done something differently, based on your current knowledge of introversion and yourself (in a job, your life in general, or a relationship)?

C: I think in college and later at the beginning of my career, I would have been more conscious about what I don’t want to do in life. Thus, I wouldn’t have spent much time and energy for getting really good at what I actually don’t want to do.

Knowing what you don’t want to do is as important as knowing what you want to do. And this is very related to your personality type, your core values and your core strengths.

T: Do you have a favorite celebrity who is also an introvert? Why is he/she your favorite?

C: I’m sure the concept of “celebrity” is not the invention of an introvert [insert smile]. I don’t follow celebrities – offline or online.  So, I really don’t know.

T: How has being introverted affected your relationships over time?  (Friendships, romantic relationships, etc.)

C: I have fewer but deeper relationships – this includes family members and friends. I’ve learned to say no to people, environments and experiences that continuously drain my energy. And that has been a game changer for me. Especially this year.

My husband is also introverted (though not as much as I am.) So we get along pretty well because we know how the other feels energized and what she or he needs to feel grounded and happy.

But one thing I’d like to stress is that talking about your needs as an introvert does not mean separating people into two opposing groups as introverts and extroverts. You can be introverted and your spouse, partner or best friend can be extroverted, and you can still get along really well and feel fulfilled in the relationship. This is possible if you understand very well how each other is wired. The rest is about mutual respect.

T: What wisdom would you give to your younger self – either pre-introvert knowledge or before you really grew into what it meant for you?

C: I would say:

Life is too short to spend doing work that upsets you, either because you don’t take any joy in it, or because you hate the environment you have to be a part of to do that kind of work. [Tamisha’s note: This took me YEARS to figure out, simply because I was raised you needed to find one job and stay there for your whole entire career. Every time I would leave a job, I would feel incredibly guilty and like a failure, so this is SO important to know]. Define the work you love, you’re good at and that energizes you because it’s a good fit for your personality, values and strengths. And then, gather your courage, take risks and create for yourself new and more joyful opportunities.

T: What is your favorite (or most-used) form of self-expression?

C: Writing. Definitely. It is the first and foremost way I express my creative self. It is also my favorite tool for teaching.

T: What last bit of advice would you give to an introverted woman listening/reading this right now who might be struggling in some area of her business or job, life, or relationship because of either her introversion or her need for validation in her individuality?

C: Learn about the ins and outs of your Myers-Briggs type. Don’t just know your type. Find out what it really means in the big picture of your life, work and relationships. Also, take the Kolbe A™ Index assessment to identify your natural strengths and talents and to get clear on how you best use your creativity and channel your mental energy to get things done. Interpreting the MBTI and Kolbe results comparatively will bring an amazing kind of clarity into your life. You won’t regret it.

[Tamisha’s Note]: I’d also like you to deeply look into your Enneagram type, as this is where a lot of my focus is for this community – mainly because it focuses on the egoic tendencies and dispositions of your personality, which lends greatly to the struggle to self-express freely and be more assertive].

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Now Cigdem & I would love to hear from you…

What is one thing that just really deeply resonated with you that you can take with you today from this interview? Leave us a comment & tell us. 

Thank you for being uniquely you – talk soon,



  • February 8, 2014, 8:51 am  Reply

    As a member of the Progress Lounge, I can only agree with enthusiasm. This interview is a succinct summary of the philosophy behind it. Cigdem is helping me and many others to forge ahead in our own authentic ways.

    • February 8, 2014, 1:30 pm

      Thank you for chiming in, Kathleen. I don’t doubt for one second how gorgeous your experience is with Cigdem.

  • February 11, 2014, 4:08 pm  Reply

    Another Progress Lounge member chiming in here: Cigdem is a serious inspiration for us introverted business owners!

    I especially loved this comment: “Life is too short to spend doing work that upsets you, either because you don’t take any joy in it, or because you hate the environment you have to be a part of to do that kind of work. Define the work you love, you’re good at and that energizes you because it’s a good fit for your personality, values and strengths.

    YES! This is so much a part of my own message too! There’s no one right way to do the work that sings to you most, other than to do it in a way that works for you 🙂



    • February 12, 2014, 11:52 am

      I am in total agreement, Tanja! Thank you for your nice comment – I’m delighted you’ve found Cigdem & her work to be enlightening for you. I know your life & work will be the better for it!


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