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Marie Forleo: Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. This whole shindig is Q&A Tuesday.
Marie Forleo: Today’s question comes from Kristen and Kristen writes, “Hi Marie. I know that I have the talent to make it big with my business and yet my biggest challenge is my introverted nature. I’m contemplated and a great observer and that’s a strength with my photography, but not so much with putting myself out there. The classic artist syndrome of good art, bad marketing. Too many business for introverts articles I’ve read imply that we would have to fit the go getter mold in order to succeed. I find it hard to believe that I have to change my nature so fundamentally. Are there ways to work the room that don’t drain the life out of us introverts? Thanks again Marie. You are creating exactly what your gifts and talents are made for.”
Marie Forleo: Kristen, this is a question that we hear over and over again, so you are so not alone. We get tons of emails about it and I hear it all the time in B-School. So to answer that question today, I have the world’s best expert to help me A this Q. Susan Cain is the author of the award winning New York Times bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which is being translated into over 30 languages and was named the number one book of the year by Fast Company. Quiet was the subject of a Time Magazine cover story and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal and many others. Her record smashing TED talk has been viewed over 5 million times and was named by Bill Gates as one of his all time favorites. She’s an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School and lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons.
Marie Forleo: Susan, thank you so much for being here on Marie TV. It is such an honor to have you here on the show.
Susan Cain: Thank you so much for having me. I love your show.
Marie Forleo: The first thing I want to talk about, and this is probably something that not a lot of people know, but you and I discussed when we talked on the phone, is that I actually have a lot of introverted qualities. That’s why I was so excited to talk to you today. I mean, most people don’t realize it, but even though I do this, it’s like when I travel or go speak at a seminar or do anything, I need a lot of downtime when I come home. Even in my personal life, I actually prefer very small intimate get togethers like two or three or maybe four people versus big parties. I know you were quite shocked to hear that.
Susan Cain: You know, it’s so funny because I was shocked when you first told me and this was in a phone conversation that we had and then I hung up the phone and I was like, “Why were you so surprised for her?” Because people tell me this all the time. I find the most unlikely people tell me that either they’re introverts or just that they’re extroverts who feel like they wish they could have more downtime than our amped up society gives anybody. Especially people who in the media the way you are. Media is filled with introverts.
Susan Cain: I sat on a panel recently and it was like there’s Candice Bergen, George Stephanopoulos, I’m trying to remember who the other people were, but it was all these people who are really out there in their daily lives. They all said they’re complete introverts.
Marie Forleo: Really?
Susan Cain: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s one of the interesting things because I just think so many introverts learn from a very early age to act more extroverted than they really are. So if you really are a [inaudible 00:03:26] introvert, you go around thinking that you are the only one who has these needs. These needs to get away sometimes and that there’s something wrong with you for having them. You don’t realize that half the population feels the exact same way.
Marie Forleo: That’s amazing. Your work is reaching millions and it’s so important. I think one of the things that struck me most about you, and it gave me chills when I read it, is that you really see this like a civil rights movement in its own way. Tell us more about that.
Susan Cain: Yeah, I really do. I believe that introverts today are more or less where women were around the 1950s or 1960s, say. So you have this group that makes up probably a half the population, I mean studies say that it’s anywhere from a half to a third population. Sorry, a third to a half is introverted. Probably a half. Okay. That’s half the population that is feeling discounted because of this trait that goes to the core of who they are. Just the way we were with the women’s movement in the 1950s or 1960s. We’re at the start of this big profound consciousness raising in terms of getting people to notice that there is this bias towards extroversion.
Susan Cain: The other thing that’s great about the analogy is men are great, right? Sexism is a problem. Men are great. So same thing here. Extroverts are wonderful. The problem is only that we have this bias that tells everyone that they have to be an extrovert whether they are or not. So we’re at the start of this big consciousness raising, but I believe in the next decades to come, we’re going to start seeing real impactful, concrete changes in the way our schools are run and the way our businesses are run and in the way people think about themselves and their psyches.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. What I love about you too is that you wrote this book, you’re doing this work, and you had shared with me that you had a real fear of public speaking and putting yourself out there.
Susan Cain: Oh my god, yeah.
Marie Forleo: Tell us about that.
Susan Cain: Yes. Okay. Really of all the people you’ve met in your entire life, you’ve never met anybody as terrified as I once was of public speaking. That’s the only way I can think of to describe it. The silver lining to it was I couldn’t eat before giving a speech. So I would always lose five or 10 pounds before every speech. I couldn’t sleep the night before. It was always this horrendous experience. But what happened for me was that my book was coming out. This was in 2012. I really deeply, passionately cared about what I was saying in the book. I knew that to be able to promote it, I was going to have to give talks.
Susan Cain: I embarked on what I called my year of speaking dangerously, where I practiced public speaking every chance that I could. I started in very small, very safe, very supportive environments. Which by the way, is what you have to do. It does not work, you know, to just throw yourself up in a big, high stakes stage like situation. You have to start small.
Marie Forleo: I love that too. I mean that’s how I did it. I remember my first workshops when I was a life coach, there was three people in the room, like my yoga teacher and my parents, and then like a pet. It was awesome.
Susan Cain: Yeah. Yeah. You really do have to do that. Then this magical thing happens after a while where you start to become desensitized. So it used to be, to me, it was just a kind of primal horror to have all those people looking at me. I just don’t really feel it anymore, little by little by little.
Marie Forleo: That’s awesome. So it’s almost like you build up stamina, you build up your strength and you’re able to handle. I know for me, all that energy looking at you and most of it is always really good. People generally tend to want to see a speaker succeed. They’re excited to hear what you have to say. So I love that.
Susan Cain: I think, by the way, on that point, one of the other important things for a nervous speaker is actually to train themselves to look at the people in the audience who do look happy about what you’re saying. Because there are always going to be people who are bored or sleepy or disgruntled or whatever they are, and nervous speakers tend to focus on the disgruntled people and then that makes them feel bad about what they’re doing.
Marie Forleo: Totally.
Susan Cain: So you can train yourself over time to focus on the positive.
Marie Forleo: Well, I love what you said there because I think it’s something that whether you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert or anywhere on that spectrum, I think we tend to do that in our whole lives. I know like for example, even with Marie TV or maybe even book reviews, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it’s like so many people can say great things or have found value or have some kind of awesome dialogue with you about a creation. But then the one stinker that may not even be a piece of useful, critical information, but it could be mean-spirited or just out of left field or maybe it kind of hits personally where it gets you in a sore spot. That’s like the thing that your mind hangs onto. It’s the place that you focus and then you’re kind of done for a little while.
Susan Cain: That’s so true. I actually think that one of the great things about being out there online and having those things come to you kind of mediated through a computer screen, is that you can train yourself to deal with those things kind of in the privacy of your own home. You can take five minutes to be like, okay, that hurt for a moment and now I’m moving on. I find you can kind of take that practice into your real life also. Your offline life.
Marie Forleo: So are you cool if we get into some practical tips?
Susan Cain: Yes.
Marie Forleo: Again, I love your book by the way. For anyone who has not read Quiet, you have got to get your hands on this book and read it immediately. It is awesome. Then Susan also has more cool stuff coming out that we’re going to tell you about at the end of the show. The first point, we’ve got a few points to share with you all, but the first point, Susan, which I really, really love, let me just go to my notes here, was something in your book and it was like a broad stroke and it was so simple yet so profound. You talked about your business or your career wisely.
Susan Cain: Yeah, it’s really important. People, when they are thinking about their career or evaluating a potential employer, they think about health insurance, they think about what will my office look like? They think about their salary and they don’t tend to think about whether the job or career is going to be a good fit for their temperament. But you really need to be thinking, if you’re an introvert, let’s say, is this a job that’s going to have me having to be on all day long? Or is it someplace where the things that I love to do in the case, it could be photography or could be the sitting and thinking deeply and strategizing. Could be anything, but you need to make sure that you are choosing a line of work that fits you.
Susan Cain: But also to say, I do think for everybody, introvert or extrovert, the most important thing of course, is to be doing the work that you’re super passionate about. So many introverts find themselves being passionate about something that requires them to also be out in places that are beyond their comfort zone. Like what happened to me, I spent seven years happily writing a book and splendid solitude. Then since then my life has been all about being in public. What do you do with that?
Susan Cain: I think the answer there is you can act out of character. I’m drawing here in the work of the psychologist Brian Little who talks about this all the time. You act out of character for the sake of work that you really love, but you’re doing it mindfully. As soon as you’re done shooting your episode or whatever it happens to be, you come back and you take a restorative niche where you go into your own space and you have life working the way you want it to work. All of this has to come from a place of feeling entitled to be that way.
Marie Forleo: The next point, which is genius, you talk about making a quota. Tell us about that.
Susan Cain: Yeah. One of the things introverts, like the woman who wrote to you, struggle with all the time is, is this feeling okay? I have this party invitation. I have this invitation to a networking event. I really want to stay home, but I might be missing out if I don’t go. I would advise instead of wrestling with yourself every night for each of these invitations, instead come up with a quota system where you say, okay, whatever it is, once a week I’m going to go to these networking events. Six times a month. You pick what feels reasonable for you. You meet your quota system and then you don’t have to feel guilty the rest of the time. You also don’t have to agonize night after night what you’re going to do.
Marie Forleo: I love that and it goes to this idea I’ve been playing with lately, which has been talked about before, but I’ve been seeing it come to life in my life is kind of decision free living for a certain spectrum.
Susan Cain: Yes. Yes, exactly. Because decision making is so taxing. It’s just emotionally taxing.
Marie Forleo: It’s emotionally taxing. It’s mentally. It’s like you go back and forth and I feel like your creative energy gets sucked out. Tim Ferriss talks a lot about it in all of his work, and I was looking at it. I just did this detox not too long ago, and basically it was regimented when I was eating, what I was eating and I was like, this is the best thing ever because I’m not questioning.
Susan Cain: Yeah. You don’t have to think about it.
Marie Forleo: It’s like I know what I’m doing, and then all of my creative energy can then be devoted to the things that, for me, really matter. So making a quota, genius.
Susan Cain: Yeah, and I would also add to that that you can use that kind of quota system if you find yourself in a relationship, as many people do, where you have one introvert and one extrovert. I think this happens all the time because introverts and extroverts are so attracted to each other. My husband’s an extrovert. You can come up with that quota system as a couple so that you’re not always arguing about whether you’re going to go out as a couple or whether you’re going to stay in.
Marie Forleo: I love that. Genius.
Susan Cain: Yeah. Negotiating all the time. Yeah.
Marie Forleo: Genius. Okay. Moving on. Number three. This was great, and this was from your manifesto, the Power of One and the rule of thumb for networking events.
Susan Cain: Oh gosh. Yeah. Everybody tells you for networking that your job is to work the room and you should emerge from every networking event with a big fistful of business cards. I say that is ridiculous. It works for some people, but it’s ridiculous as a one size fits all doctrine. So you need to reframe networking in a way that works for you. For me, when I think about networking, I don’t even use the word network because I hate it. It sounds really machine-like and cold to me. I think in terms of kindred spirits, so I go through the world looking for kindred spirits. There’s always at least one in every party or any event, just like the person who you really connect with, you really want to be with them. You want to get to know them better, you want to stay in touch.
Susan Cain: Usually at any event, there’s maybe one such person who you have that kind of chemistry with and that’s fine. Once you’ve met that one person, great. You go through life that way and now you’ve got this gigantic collection of kindred spirits. I just find that a much more humane way to live and also a more effective one.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. I mean I have to say I feel the same way. I was telling you kind of off camera Josh and I go to a lot of social events and sometimes they’re movie premieres. Sometimes it’s a big seminar or a big event. I always find myself going like, where’s one person? You know what I mean?
Susan Cain: Yeah, I do.
Marie Forleo: Let me just find one person I can have a great conversation with. That makes me just feel more connected in my heart, and it also takes the pressure off. It takes the pressure off of me thinking I’m a bad networker.
Susan Cain: Right, right. Yeah. I’m really glad you said that because really the underlying theme to everything that we’re talking about today is take the pressure off. All of these ideas. I’m a bad networker, I’m not social enough. All of these things. These are ideas that are imposed on us culturally and we don’t have to own them. We can reframe it all.
Marie Forleo: Love it. Point number four was about the power of partnerships. Tell us about that.
Susan Cain: Yeah, well I was thinking about this when I was listening to the Q&A that came in because I believe that most business owners are best suited finding a partner who is their temperamental compliment. So an introvert looks for an extrovert and vice versa. Also just in terms of skillsets. If you’re the ideas person, you might need a really grounded finance person. I can tell you I’m doing this now. I’m building out a Quiet revolution organization to develop tools for individuals and companies and schools who want to help introverts draw on their own natural strengths instead of turning them into extroverts.
Marie Forleo: Awesome.
Susan Cain: I have a partner in this venture and his name is Paul [Shabeta 00:15:30]. He’s an old friend of mine and he’s a total extrovert to my introvert. It makes life so much easier because I go on doing the things that I like to do, writing and speaking and connecting. He’s the one who just very naturally kind of picks up the phone to strike up a deal with someone. Things that I could do but I’d have to push myself really hard to make them happen. For him it’s really easy. Why would you struggle like that instead of just having each person be in the domain that they feel strongest with?
Marie Forleo: Yeah, because I can hear like some of our audience going, “But I can’t find a partner.” I think even what you’re saying is surrounding yourself with people, even if they’re not quote unquote like an official business partner, it might be someone you work with regularly or someone you work with on your team that you create somewhat of a support system around yourself where everyone’s leveraging their strengths and honoring their own temperament.
Susan Cain: Exactly. That’s where I go back to the kindred spirit thing again. Because if you collect that network of kindred spirits, then you’re going to find those partners just naturally.
Marie Forleo: I love it. It’s so beautiful. The final point, and I know this is my language, it’s not necessarily your language, so everybody, Susan Cain is not doing some ghetto stuff like I always do. But I called it when it’s time to fly. Don’t deny. But I found it to be so fascinating because, as again I was sharing, I feel this way sometimes. I’ll let you reveal kind of what this strategy is about.
Susan Cain: Well it’s just the idea that everybody, when you are kind of out in the world being on and being social, everybody reaches their breaking point. I know anytime I go to a dinner party, it always happens. I’ll be having a nice time and I’ve had my glass of red wine and everything is good. Then all of a sudden I hit this two hour mark and I’m like, “I really want to go home.”
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Yeah, right.
Susan Cain: I’ll walk around. I’m like, “Does anyone else feel this way?” And no one appears to feel that way. Although I now know that many people feel that way. They just aren’t saying so. I think if you can train yourself in kind of graceful ways to extricate from those situations. I have a friend who does this beautifully. She’s an introvert and she never says no really to any invitation. She always shows up and she always leaves really early. You know what? It’s okay. Actually, I think the only one who even notices that she leaves early just because that’s my job. But I don’t think anyone else pays attention. They’re happy that she’s there.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Also, I love it because from another framework, it’s like leave them wanting more.
Susan Cain: Oh yeah. There’s that too. That’s so true.
Marie Forleo: You know what I mean? Like you show up, you make an appearance and you feel good for the time you feel good. But I know for me, I have some really dear friends that we’ll spend time with. When I’ve hit the wall and these particular friends, you have to kind of get very to go to their house. So it’s pretty big ordeal. If Josh isn’t ready to leave yet, I just tell them, I’m like, “You know what, y’all, I’ve hit my wall. I’m go hang out.” And they know me so they’re like, “Oh, she’s not being weird. She’s not being rude. She just needs to kind of go hang out for a little while.”
Susan Cain: Right. I just got to enjoy Marie and that’s kind of the deal. Yeah.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Sometimes if I’ve had enough of a break, I can then come back and reengage. But I just think it’s so great for us to give ourselves permission. I know for me in the past I’ve always felt so guilty like, oh, we might be the party pooper.
Susan Cain: Exactly. It’s a guilt.
Marie Forleo: Like being selfish.
Susan Cain: It’s a guilt that has to just go away.
Marie Forleo: Go away.
Susan Cain: Yeah.
Marie Forleo: As we continue and go on and maybe start wrapping up, one of the other things I love is the quote from Gandhi.
Susan Cain: Yeah.
Marie Forleo: Do you want to share that?
Susan Cain: Yeah. The quote from Gandhi, this is to me like my motivating cry in life in general. He says, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” I actually, by the way thought of calling my book, Shake The World Gently.
Marie Forleo: Really?
Susan Cain: Yeah. Which I still love that idea, but my editor said it sounded like a memoir of growing up on the African Savannah. So we didn’t go with that in the end. But I love it and Gandhi really lived that way. He was by the way, incredibly shy and quiet and introverted so much so like when he was a kid growing up in school, he used to apparently run home from class every day as soon as class was over because he didn’t want to socialize with his classmates afterwards. He remained shy his whole life. But he did what he needed to do and he talks about it in his autobiography that his shyness was his greatest source of strength. I think many quieter and shyer people need to get in touch with that. Because once you start realizing that your shyness or your quiet is connected also to sensitivity and powers of observation and all kinds of other powers that you probably value about yourself, you start reframing the way you think about it.
Marie Forleo: So beautiful. I love this conversation. I know you have some really exciting projects coming up and for everybody, we’re going to put links to everything below, so no worries. But do you want to share a little bit about what you’re creating next?
Susan Cain: Yeah, sure. We are developing this Quiet revolution organization and ultimately the suite of tools that we have will be, I think, quite enormous. But we’re starting out with courses in public speaking for introverts and communication skills for introverts. Again, the idea of these is not, we’re going to tell you how to be this larger than life character on stage. Instead, we’re going to be helping people to be themselves on stage and make that really work.
Marie Forleo: I love it. Susan, thank you so much for being here today. I’ve wanted to do this episode and I’ve wanted to have this conversation with you for so long. I’m so grateful that you took the time out to come to be with us today.
Susan Cain: Thank you so much. I’m so honored to be here. So thank you for inviting me.
Marie Forleo: Awesome. Susan and I have a challenge for you. So if you’re up for it, so the first thing is if you consider yourself an introvert, which of the strategies that we shared today resonates most for you and why? Now if you don’t consider yourself an introvert, perhaps you have someone in your life who is. Maybe it’s a family member or a colleague. What today really resonated for you, and how can you perhaps approach the people that you love in a more loving and powerful way?We would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Marie Forleo: If you liked this video, like it, subscribe and share it with your friends. If you want even more great resources to create a business and life that you love, plus some personal insights from me that I only talk about in email, get your buns over to MarieForleo.com and sign up for email updates. Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world does need that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching, and we’ll catch you next time on Marie TV.
Marie Forleo: B-School is coming up. Want in? For more info and free training, go to JoinBSchool.com.
Marie Forleo: Hey, everyone knows I’m a greasy Italian. This is not news to anybody. Can I just do this? Can we do this right now?
Susan Cain: Yeah.
Marie Forleo: It’s so freaking good. I can’t take it.