Why Climb Your Own Ladder Should Be Every Introvert's Mantra

Last week, Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, provided her brilliant insight into why extroverts earn more than introverts. Short answer: extroverts tend toward high-paying managerial roles.

Cain delivers three reasons why introverts may earn less than extroverts:

  • Introverts tend to be less talkative and less likely to be perceived as leaders. Extroverts are assumed to be effective leaders simply because they tend to be more talkative. Cain suggests that introverts tend to deliver better leadership outcomes because of their listening bias.
  • Introverts may be less driven by financial incentive and more driven by meaningful work. Cain suggests that introverts tend toward careers in the arts or research.
  • Introverts may not want a managerial role at their organization. Cain suggests that introverts in this position assess if their role and/or organization is a fit for their ambitions and consider different paths for advancement.

I am a very solid MBTI type of INFJ. I agree with Cain on all of these points, and I can personally attest to being driven by meaningful work and having a path of advancement that is not managerial. At one point, I was being offered promotions and new leadership roles and turning them all down. Some of my colleagues and professional acquaintances thought I was crazy and told me so. However, I knew that what was being offered as my path to success wasn't the right fit, and I needed to find the right path for me. I hired an executive coach and decided to climb my own ladder. it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

There’s so much pressure to be the one who’s in charge of everyone. It takes self-awareness and personal integrity to live life on the terms you want to live it on.
— Susan Cain, author and introvert, sums up what #ClimbYourOwnLadder is all about

#ClimbYourOwnLadder is about following your own compass, cultivating self-awareness, building a practice of authenticity, finding a tribe to lean on, and getting big and brave. Here is why #ClimbYourOwnLadder should be every introvert's mantra:

  • Introverts have a rich inner life driven by their bias toward quiet reflection. This allows space for self-reflection and makes you - as an introvert - very adept at finding and following your own compass. Introverts can tune out the noise because, frankly, we don't want to hear it.
  • Introverts have a bias to explore ideas and concepts internally, constantly assessing and re-assessing situations. Introverts are not afraid to pivot on a decision as we process ideas slowly and thoughtfully. Introverts are not afraid to learn to love ambiguity because we are always living in it, processing and pursuing the answers.
  • Introverts dig deep and focus on internal feeling rather than seeking external stimulation. When an introvert begins building her emotional intelligence (EQ), she has is already familiar with the territory. Combined with the introversion-bias towards thoughtful processing, mindful engagement of emotions and practicing authenticity becomes second nature. The introvert is more likely to understand that authenticity is not emotional intelligence through her previous exploration with her internal world.
  • Introverts explore possibilities. We already know what the noise is in terms of our growth and energy, the next step is for us introverts to take action on it. It's okay to quit what is not working, is not effective, and does not support your growth.
  • Introverts tend to have a smaller, carefully-selected circle of friends and more meaningful interactions with these people. Introverts expend energy in social situations - I will be 100% energized before I walk into a party, and 50% about 10 minutes later. The significant efforts that you, as an introvert, put into finding your tribe will help support and challenge your self-understanding and ambitions.
  • Introverts tend to be quiet and reserved in larger groups, understandably given our energy is lost in these types of social interactions. To give generously is to challenge the introvert to share her deep knowledge with others and learns to navigate the diversity and balance of community. All of us can share this mantra and remember that our success is dependent upon others' success as well.

#ClimbYourOwnLadder challenges and supports the gifts of introversion and should be every introvert's mantra.

As introverts navigate a world of extrovert-privilege and choose alternative and more meaningful paths for advancement, the framework of #ClimbYourOwnLadder will guide introverts with awareness and authenticity. When in doubt, when you feel challenged, when you seek inspiration, look to the 3 billion stories we are writing and add your own.

#ClimbYourOwnLadder should be every introvert's mantra.