At the time, I thought it was just the youngest child, red headed rebel in me that provoked my decision to leave my stable 9-5 job in exchange for the free range, freelance life.
I was rebelling against the four walls of the office, the authority of my boss and clients, the fact that I had to wear respectable clothes so I didn’t get thrown off the train on my route to work for showing up in my pyjamas.
I thought I was just me being a bit of a brat; unable to ‘cope’ with the London commute and my inability to control how I spent the hours in my day.
Looking back, I realise – whilst that was partly true – that an even bigger cause of my desire to flee the office nest was my introversion.
Even when I had gone freelance – or gone rogue – I still got the occasional call to work in-house for a client. Stuck again in an office environment, I found myself unusually exhausted by 3pm – whereas a day working from home or a quiet coffee shop will keep me churning away happily from 7am to 7pm no problem.
Being in an stagnant space, sitting in meetings with extroverted colleagues, being unable to hear myself think over the din of small talk and heated discussions over news I’d prefer not to know about…
Not for me.
And this issue of being in the right environment is just ONE of the many problems I’ve faced – and I know other creative introverts face – whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself.
You’ll find plenty of articles online about how us introverts make great leaders, how we’re great at negotiating and communicating – oh not to mention countless listicles of our favourite successful introverts like Elon Musk, Warren Buffet and other people who I can’t relate at all to.
What’s missing is the reality that: there are many challenges we face as a creative introverts. And you should know I use the term creative broadly because I genuinely believe most people are – if you create something from apple pie to an orderly spreadsheet, you qualify as creative.
But for this episode in particular I want to highlight the challenges we face when attempting to build a business or pursue a new career or go rogue like I did and work for yourself.
This entrepreneurial trend is only growing, and whilst we’re encouraged as introverts to pursue these lofty dreams, I want to be clear that there are some very real challenges that can and will crop up – at least they have in my experience – and more importantly – give you some tools and strategies to actually deal with them.
Hopefully it will be of more use than another article on Forbes about introverts are naturals at networking – probably written by an extrovert.
7 tips for networking (written by an introvert, for introverts)
Should I go to this networking event?
The ultimate tool for online networking
Joanna Penn episode
Inner Enemies of Creativity
Pitching For Introverts
The League of Creative Introverts