Banish Your Limiting Beliefs: A Key Step in Career Growth for Introverts

by | Jun 5, 2024

Have you ever felt like there’s an invisible wall that just stops you right in your career tracks? I’ve been there too. It’s like there’s something holding you back, and it’s not always clear what. For many introverts, this barrier often comes from within—through limiting beliefs that shape our actions, expectations, and ultimately, our success.

I want to chat about some of these beliefs, which we might not even realize we have, and how these beliefs — falsehoods, really — impact everything from our self-confidence, to how others perceive us, to how we move into (and through) positions of leadership.

What are Limiting Beliefs Anyway?

Limiting beliefs are those sneaky thoughts that hold us back. They’re the little voices that whisper, “You’re too quiet to be a leader,” or “You’re not the type who makes it to the top.” Sound familiar?

For me, this voice said, “You’re not dynamic enough to command a room,” “You’re not social enough to motivate teams,” or “You’re not creative enough to come up with brilliant ideas.” It also told me that I wasn’t enough of a “policy wonk” to have a successful career in the health policy world (I was and still do), and that I’m not entrepreneurial enough to start a business (been there, done that – twice).

Limiting beliefs often stem from those typical extravert traits that society loves to idolize—being outspoken, socially dominant, the first with a big idea (or several ideas) at a meeting. But here’s the thing: when it comes to leadership, we introverts have our own set of gifts that are just as powerful.

How Limiting Beliefs Can Hurt Our Careers

There’s virtually no limit (pun intended) to the harm that our limiting beliefs can have on our workplace performance and stature as future leaders. For example:

  • Leadership and Self-Efficacy: Doubting your ability to lead because you’re an introvert can derail your confidence and make you shy away from leadership roles. But think about it—our ability to listen deeply, think critically, and stay calm in the face of crisis are all critical leadership traits.
  • Workplace Dynamics: Do you find yourself pulling back at work, not wanting to step on toes or hog the spotlight? While it might feel comfortable to stay under the radar, this can lead to fewer opportunities for collaboration and  end up making your feel isolated. By embracing and leveraging our strengths like strategic and deep, analytical thinking, we can create a more positive and engaging workplace.
  • How Others See Us: There’s a real risk that if we don’t step up, our contributions might be overlooked or undervalued, especially next to our more extraverted colleagues. It’s crucial for us to show and tell what we bring to the table, making our impact undeniable. 
  • Career Advancement: If you’re not seen and heard, it’s tough to be thought of when promotions come up. It’s not enough to just do great work; we also need to communicate our career goals and showcase our leadership in tangible ways that get noticed. 

Neutralizing Your Limiting Beliefs

While limiting beliefs can derail your leadership path, you have the power to neutralize them.

  • Engage in Self-Reflection: Start by identifying your limiting beliefs. Ask yourself, what’s really holding you back, and why do you think that way? Is it really true, or just a perception influenced by outdated stereotypes or something that one person told you 10 years ago?
  • Build Your Skills: Work on skills that boost your visibility. This doesn’t mean changing who you are. It’s about adding tools like public speaking or effective communication to your toolkit to help you stand out for the right reasons.
  • Find Your Tribe: Look for mentors who get the introvert struggle and have carved successful paths for themselves. Networking doesn’t always have to be at big, noisy events—small, meaningful interactions work just as well (click for my guide on thriving at large events and conferences)..
  • Choose Visibile Projects: Pick projects that play to your strengths and allow you to shine. When your work speaks for itself, it boosts your confidence and can ensure that your efforts are recognized (especially by those making decisions about your next raise or promotion).
  • Seek (and Use!) Feedback: Make it a habit of seeking feedback and use it to refine your approach. Understanding how you’re perceived and adapting your methods can help you overcome biases that others may have about your introversion and your leadership potential.

Your Future is Limitless

Those limiting beliefs? They’re just barriers you’ve built in your mind. Stories you’ve told yourself that often have little or no basis in fact.

Banishing these fictions is critical for gaining the confidence to take risks, showcase your gifts, and advocate for the leadership roles and other recognition you deserve. With this mindset, your future is limitless.

 

For more free resources and to learn how I can support you to unlock your voice and unleash your power at work, so you get the recognition you deserve, click here.