The Real Reason High-Achieving Introverts Aren’t Being Promoted…and What to Do About it
Getting promoted is a big deal in your life these days. It determines your earning potential for the rest of your life. It helps you to pay off those hefty student debts and buy the dream home with the white picket fence. It gives you that sense of autonomy and control you secretly crave.
You get the picture. It has multiple benefits.
One of the groups that face the biggest challenge in getting promoted is high-achieving introverts. I know – because I lived this story for several years in Corporate America and in other roles I held abroad. In addition, dozens of my clients are introverted, so I hear the story all the time.
You probably experienced one of the following situations:
Your numbers are among the highest in your department – yet your colleague Bob, who puts in half the work as you do, has been promoted two times in the last 18 months.
You see an opening for an opportunity on your team, you really want it and know you should express your interest to your boss but you are terrified. You believe that you are not ready. You talk yourself out of it. Before you know it, a new person has been hired for the role.
You went and invested over a $100,000 in your MBA. After 4 years of grueling work and constant juggling, you are in the same place you started. You start to hear crickets in your career and no advancement.
You have done everything possible and yet you are stuck doing the same job over and over. You never understand why your colleagues career are taking off like rockets while yours is just stuck in a rut.
The real reason why you are not being promoted is because of self-sabotage.
You read that right.
As introverts, we spend a lot of time in our head (and lots of tremendous advantages to this), but often times it is focused on negative things. Things such as: ‘I am not a good presenter’, ‘I am not a leader’, ‘I just can’t play politics.’ Or ‘I am an introvert’ with the real intention being that you are limited in some way.
This internal dialogue and negative self-talk hurt high-achieving introverts.
This can be explained in two ways. First, our thoughts have a vibrational frequency behind them, which other human beings can sense. These thoughts manifest themselves as lack of confidence, self-doubt or even deep-seated fear. They repel promotional opportunities from you.
The second reason why negative self-talk block introverts from being promoted is that the subconscious mind does exactly what it is told. So, with the example of labeling oneself as ‘I am an introvert’, with the real meaning being that I am not very talkative and I stick to myself. The mind is going to seek out situations in your environment that allows you to do exactly that. In that regard, you are unlikely to seek out your boss or your other colleagues to build solid relationships that may be critical to getting promoted.
So, what can you do about self-sabotage?
The great thing is that this stems from our mind. Therefore, you have 100% control over eliminating self-sabotage and negative self-talk. Here are three actionable tips to start implementing right away:
Limit labelling yourself as an Introvert
This one is tough for many people. Why? Because being an introvert is your default tendency. it’s the personality type that allows you to experience the world best. However, each time you put a label on yourself, such as introvert or extrovert it limits you in some way. You put yourself in a box because you are consciously or subconsciously prescribing to the label. Instead, focus on who you are at your core – the values that you and only YOU stand for.
Use Powerful Language
The language that you use when you talk or even in your head is either empowering or disempowering. Focus on shifting your language to ones that fuel deep personal power and that bring out your innate confidence in the work place. For example, shift from ‘I am not a good presenter’ to ‘I could learn how present better’ or ‘I can’t go to Friday night’s office mixer’ to ‘I choose not to go to Friday night’s office mixer.’ That’s more powerful and it comes with an air of confidence.
Conquer fear with awareness
It can be terrifying when want to go ask your boss for a promotion. Bold – right? That’s usually the fear talking. Perhaps, it’s telling you that you aren’t ready yet for this role or that your boss will say no. You may then fear that you will be rejected or fail. The trick is to start shining light on fear when it shows up. It is simply another emotion that is showing up to protect. Each time it comes up, simply acknowledge it and understand what it is trying to protect you from. Then TAKE action. This is the key; confidence comes from taking action. So is overcoming fear.
Think about how you might be getting your own way of your next big promotion. Chances are, it may have nothing to do with your introversion but instead how you are using that label to limit what you are capable of. To move forward, start by taking control of your internal dialogue and shift it to be more supportive of you.