Quiet achievers – you know who you are – it’s time to declare it.
You’re a quiet achiever AND you can be super successful, okay?
As a quiet achiever from way back I know what it feels like to privately work away behind the scenes while you wistfully watch your colleagues seemingly leap ahead of you.
I know that twinge of regret when you think you’ve missed out or been overlooked wondering why couldn’t you have just put yourself out there better or done more?
I know the almost manic panic of trying to speed up your process or scroll through social media and the hit of overwhelm that comes along with it.
The thing is, when you’re a quiet achiever, your version of success doesn’t always look like the public display of achievement. While you’re sitting at your computer lamenting what you haven’t done, have you ever stopped to celebrate your wins?
Or do you just tick something off your to-do (or bucket) list and simply move on to the next thing – all the while berating yourself because your business bestie seems to be doing more than you?
But what if you are buying into someone else’s version of what success looks like?
What if you are simply seeing a curated version of someone else’s life and comparing it to your behind-the-scenes?
What if you are actively working away on a dream that isn’t one you actually want to achieve?
SUCCESS HAS BEEN SOLD TO US A CERTAIN WAY
One of the things that worries me most about the world we currently live in is that so many of us have lost touch with WHAT WE ACTUALLY WANT because we’ve drunk the Kool-Aid of society’s vision for success.
I see it in Facebook groups all the time when people can’t make simple decisions about their lives and businesses without crowd sourcing it first.
I see it with my clients when they’re stressing about being judged, or what the right next move is because they’ve lost faith that they actually know the answers.
I see it in online courses where people totally buy into the ‘secret formula’ they think they’ve purchased and get so confused when the system doesn’t work for them or doesn’t align with their strengths and ideals.
I see it in people I talk to regularly when they get caught up investing their energy into somebody else’s drama.
There’s a serious need for external validation going on in the world right now.
I guess it’s natural when we’ve become so accustomed to sharing so much of ourselves online. But introverts, by nature, have all the tools to turn within and get introspective without the need to look externally.
So why have we traded this instinct for the external?
Why do we measure our success by people we look up to who have different strengths and skills to us, seemingly ignoring others who are quietly celebrating success on their own terms?
And this is not to say that extraverted people aren’t introspective, or are all about external validation. But it goes without saying that the way we generally think about success is with a more extraverted energy. Ya know, Oprah, Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs kinda success. Crowds of screaming fans and the people on stage soaking up the glorious energy of the people.
But what if – just what if – you could be a quiet achiever and create your own foundations for success?
Well, probably because we’ve grown up in a world where we’re told success is in winning friends and influencing people. Where – even when Susan Cain says the loudest person in the room doesn’t always have the best ideas – most people still believe otherwise.
When you start thinking about what success looks like to YOU, you will probably start to see that you’ve been measuring yourself with the wrong tools. And that’s the start of finding success on your own terms.
SUCCESS FOR QUIET ACHIEVERS
I remember having a conversation with a mentor last year, talking about my fears around my business. It was growing rapidly and I was pulling back just as quickly.
Within a number of days, I had the same conversation with a friend who was resisting her next level because she didn’t like the way that was going to look.
We were both constructing our future growth and success on other people’s businesses.
We were saying to ourselves, ‘If that’s what growth and success looks like, I’m not sure I want it.’
Quick side note, the people we were looking up to run amazing businesses but their personality, their goals and what excites them in life is different.
Let’s be real.
For most people, success in business looks like:
+ Speaking in a room of thousands of people.
+ Travelling the world, non-stop.
+ Working with 10 clients a day, five days a week.
+ Tony Robbins-esque events.
+ Being a celebrity.
+ Having a posse with you everywhere you go.
+ Hundreds of emails, messages, and notifications a day.
+ Millions of YouTube views.
+ Leading hundreds or thousands of people and interacting with many of them regularly.
+ Having an open-plan office full of staff running around (even Mark Zuckerberg has bought into this one)
What can you add to this list that outlines your idea of traditional success?
Maybe you don’t think that, maybe you’ve remained immune to the potential ‘trappings of success’, knowing that you can create your own version of what this looks like.
In case you haven’t got that far yet, here are some other things to ponder.
Success can also look like:
+ Creating your own maximum number of client bookings a day – and sticking to it;
+ Hosting small, cosy events;
+ Waking up and having a slow, quiet start to the day;
+ Creating a movement that other people get excited about and share so you don’t have to do all the work yourself;
+ Taking days off to do nothing and still getting paid;
+ Putting together premium offerings for less people;
+ Building a business from word-of-mouth referrals;
+ Marketing yourself in a way that doesn’t involve being online and engaging all day every day.
What are some things that FEEL like success to you (even if they’re not what you or society might deem criteria for success)?
You might have felt your whole life that being more of a quiet achiever puts you at a disadvantage.
That maybe you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’re always going to feel overlooked, or behind ‘everyone else’.
Maybe you’ve accepted that everything takes you a long time to do.
That you have to think on things before you take action.
That you’ll just slowly work away in isolation while you watch others throw themselves in head first.
And maybe that’s true. It can be true and it can still bring you success if you’re willing to work with it.
But it can also hold you back and make you feel helpless and victimised.
If you could embrace your quiet, slow process and trust your internal compass over external validation, what could you be capable of?
If you could determine what you really want success to mean and use your quiet strengths to help you get there, wouldn’t that make life so much easier?
It’s possible but the answer is not straight forward. It doesn’t come in a done-for-you package with a neat little bow on top that yo just have to add water to for instant success. The truth is that no one can tell you how your personality and your experiences and skills can bring you success. Only you can.
To support you while you work this out, I’ve created a worksheet for you to spend some time reflecting on your current feelings about success and reframing it in your mind.
Download it below, share this with anyone you think might find it useful, and please let me know how you go!