I had never heard the term ‘quiet achiever’ when my grade 9 drama teacher lovingly referred to me as ‘her little quiet achiever’ in my end of year school book. She was one of my favourite teachers despite drama being a subject that often made me somewhat uncomfortable and one that I transferred out of the following year.
But the second I read it, a lightbulb went off in my 14-year-old head and I felt as though she was one of the first people to really understand and so accurately describe me.
Me, a quiet achiever? Oh yes, it made so much sense.
After years and years of working hard to get good grades, but never feeling like a stand-out student. Trying to get noticed academically, in my dance and drama classes, and basically every other aspect of my life, but always feeling overlooked in favour of the louder, more charismatic (and not necessarily smarter) girls I was friends with.
It felt like a constant struggle to be seen, mixed with a fear of what I would do if I was.
Something that followed me through my adult life – and has amused my kinesiologist, coaches, and friends – as I’ve tried to explain how real this seemingly contradictory feeling.
Aside from this very real inner conflict, I have a few other things I’d like to confess about being a quiet achiever (I have a feeling I’m not alone here, either):
Facebook groups freak me out sometimes
I’ve been involved in some Facebook groups that are exciting and full of information and interaction. They provide a space for like minded beings to share, discuss, and combine ideas for their businesses but, for me, I often find them overwhelming, exhausting and so showy that I opt the hell back out.
While some people are excited to share their ideas, think out loud, be the bigger personality in group situations (both online and in real life), others prefer to quietly put their heads down and do the work. They will contribute less often, but with consideration so others may benefit from their thoughts.
This is not a bad thing. It’s okay to close your laptop and walk away or take some time to think things through before posting. Finding a way of handling interactions that works for you is the most important thing.
And on that note…
Text messages, Facebook comments and updates, and emails take a lot of thought and time before hitting ‘send’
I know I can sit for longer than most would consider necessary to construct a Facebook post or text message, in hopes that when I do hit ‘send’, I’m contributing something purposeful, something of meaning.
In fact, last week I spent an hour trying to reply to an email. An hour. And that was not out of the ordinary.
Better to organise your thoughts and say what you want to say than find yourself regretting an impulsive message, am I right?
Being a quiet achiever has felt like a disadvantage for me at times
I know, in my life, I’ve felt like I’ve missed out on opportunities by keeping my head down. My quiet nature working my butt off in TV often meant I got overlooked for others working half as hard, but being loud about it. Feedback such as, ‘you’re not ready’, ‘this doesn’t seem like the right role for you’, and ‘maybe next time’ from the people in charge were met with confusion from those who worked closely with me and knew I was more than up to the challenge.
Quiet achievers are often lovers of deep thought and learning, but not in a way that says ‘look at me, over here, learning new things and being awesome.’ The learning comes from within and the achievement is about the personal development, instead of what others think.
I love Frank Ocean’s quote, ‘Work hard in silence, let success be your reward.’ Trust that you will get there, it might just not look how you expect, but it will happen for you if you keep doing the work. I’m sure of it (and Frank Ocean is too)
I often envy people who feel comfortable promoting themselves
Even now, in a business that I love and have had some really great success in, I still often find myself looking at how others promote and share themselves and wondering where I’d be if that felt natural to me.
That thought pops up, ‘if only I knew how to do that’, or ‘I wish I was more out there’ (and sometimes I feel horror that someone would be so showy when it feels so unnatural to me).
Envying those who achieve in a louder way might push you to try something new, but it isn’t about trying to become them. Feeling that you can’t be successful by being a quiet achiever is something real you might go through (trust me), but accepting that many have come before you, with great success, is a reassuring thought.
I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to be yourself and find your own way that might go against what ‘everyone’ says you should do.
The truth is that we all have our own way of thriving and succeeding in the world. I strongly believe in stretching to try new things, but I also understand that being a quiet achiever isn’t a curse.
You don’t need to be fixed.
You don’t need to ‘come out of your shell’.
You have something important to say and contribute to the world. And it needs to be heard.
You just need to do what you do best in a way that works for you. That may not mean blatant self promotion and being in a thousand online or real life communities and groups.
It might mean putting your head down and getting the work done.
Or teaming up with someone who is really good at loud achieving (is that the opposite of being a quiet achiever?)
Maybe it means coming together with other quiet achievers.
Or finding your own little tribe who just completely get it.
There is a way, so trust that and keep your beautiful quiet achieving way until you find it!
The Introvert’s Beauty Of Life
I’m putting together a group to connect in a way that feels comfortable, share ideas with other quiet achievers, and embark on a journey of self acceptance and finding the beauty in your life in your own special way – not necessarily the way the world wants us to.
+ Soulful connection with like minded quiet achievers and introverts
+ Discussions about deep thinking and finding your own way in the world
+ A Beauty of Life book club for avid readers
+ A place to share your work and celebrate that feels good to you
+ So much more!
If you’d like to join this group (or know someone who might), pop your email address below and an invitation will be heading your way shortly.
I’m really excited about this group and I can’t wait to see you in there!