Introverts can become published business celebrities, too

Whether you’re a chef, a doctor, wilderness explorer, technician, home decorator or psychiatrist, a well-written and vigorously promoted book will turn you into a business celebrity and a cultural influence – which translates into higher income. Some well-known published business celebrities are
• Suze Orman, financial adviser
• Dean Ornish, health expert
• Susie Bright, aka Susie Sexpert
• Depak Chopra, health expert
• Emeril, international chef
• Jamie Oliver, international chef.
You’ve probably seen most of these people on talk shows and in magazines. All of them started out simply doing a job, developing their skills and knowledge along the way, until they realized they had the foundation for a rocketing career. Despite their different specializations, all of them have one thing in common: enthusiastic, outgoing, gregarious personalities.
If you’re an introvert who’d rather face a firing squad than an audience, right about now you’re probably thinking That’s not me. I’m too shy for all that fan fare.
I say, Wrong .
Believe it or not, some of the most successful published business celebrities were once – and many still are – introverts. How is that possible? you might well ask.
To begin with, the concepts of introvert and extrovert tend to be misunderstood, simplistically defined as shy and quiet versus garrulous and friendly, respectively. Carl Jung, who first came up with these concepts, defined extroversion as predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self, while introverts are more concerned with and interested in their own mental life. Nowhere did he say one is a wallflower and the other the life of the party.
An introvert is not necessarily uncomfortable around people – it’s that the true introvert tends to think, create, and work alone; his or her best ideas emerge in the shower, and s/he doesn’t work well collaboratively, perhaps even getting agitated at meetings or brainstorming sessions. The extrovert, on the other hand, delights in bouncing ideas off others, gets inspired by people, and prefers to develop plans amid a noisy bunch of creative thinkers. Whether or not a person enjoys going to parties or chatting with friends in the supermarket is irrelevant, to their level of introversion or extroversion.
Still, if you’re an introvert the idea of spending your days networking may make you squeamish. Plus, there’s still that little matter of public speaking; again you consider forgetting the whole venture.
In survey after survey, people – both introverts and extroverts – admit to being more frightened of public speaking than of any other activity, including flying, becoming homeless, and even dying. And yet, after a few times onstage, even introverts can flourish behind the podium. The role of speaker or group leader comes with a kind of protective armor: you have a function to fill, much like a character in a play.
Ella Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, and Robert Frost all adopted distinct stage personas for the public. Shaw, basically an introvert who wrote hundreds of plays still widely produced, created the persona of G.B.S – showman, pundit, wit, and intellectual buffoon – and was one of the most sought-after orators in England. Robert Frost presented himself as a good-natured, folksy farmer who just happened to be a poet – yet in private, he was a deep, brooding thinker. Those who knew him well acknowledged that he was a more complicated person than the humble farmer he shared with the public. (
Once you’ve successfully spoken in public a few times, you may realize that not only isn’t it as scary as you imagined, but fear – which may never go away entirely – releases adrenalin, a useful hormone that functions like a big ocean wave, carrying us through the performance. For this reason, seasoned actors say they never want to completely lose the pre-performance jitters.
For more information on mastering public speaking, check out

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