Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about what it means to be an introvert, kicking off with Susan Cain’s landmark book Quiet and culminating most recently in a New York Times op-ed debunking the Myers-Briggs personality test (which may be the reason, flawed or not, that many people self-identify as introverts in the first place).
But, as much play as the topic of introversion has been getting, the original (though perhaps whispered) war cry of wallflowers everywhere hasn’t seen much action. That's right, we’re still not talking much about simply being shy. And, maybe we should be.
“Being shy and being introverted are not necessarily one and the same thing,” says Harvard-trained psychotherapist and author Katherine Crowley. Shy people tend to be the observers, the listeners, and sometimes the hardest workers among us — and yet, the very qualities that make them especially valuable can hold them back.
So, what’s a shy girl to do in a be-agressive, ask-for-what-you-want world, when she feels a little lost in the crowd? Well, not change dramatically, for starters. We chatted with a couple of experts to find ways for you to work within your personality type and achieve professional and personal success — and also know when to challenge yourself so that shyness doesn’t hold you back. Read on for pro tips about how to speak up and stand out.