Hello, I’m Annalee Soohoo, Director of Technology and Project Team Lead of Onyx/Sapphire on the Graphite Group! I joined Pomona Ventures the first semester of my freshman year and I am grateful to be a part of the entrepreneurship community on campus.
Growing up as the only introvert in a family of extroverts, I have reflected often about the importance of both personality types. There are many leadership qualities that I admire in extroverts (and am seeking to develop myself), such as being more outgoing in networking and social situations. Additionally, there are many leadership lessons that we can learn from introverts, the most important of which, I believe, is quiet strength.
What does it mean to have quiet strength? Someone with quiet strength:
- Contemplates and analyzes situations before immediately acting.
- Finds internal motivation to keep moving forward.
- Establishes deep, lasting connections with those they work with.
Quiet strength helps you become a more thoughtful leader, a more attentive friend and family member, and a more mindful student. I believe everyone can benefit from incorporating these five practices into everyday life.
1. Pay attention to listening to others.
The simple act of listening goes a long way. Instead of readying your reply or preparing what you wish to say after they finish speaking, focus only on the conversation you are having. Ask follow-up questions and make mental notes of important information your conversation partner brings up.
Being mindful of your listening will allow you to form deeper connections with others and tells the person that you are listening to that their words matter. Furthermore, as a leader, mindfully listening will not only draw your team closer and contribute to a positive company culture but also allow you to gain insights from coworkers that you could have completely missed if you hadn’t listened.
2. Allocate time in your day to think.
Turn off your phone. Close your laptop. Lay down your pencil and set aside your homework.
Rid yourself of all your surrounding distraction and peacefully pause, mindfully listening to your own thoughts. Give yourself permission to daydream! Just five to ten minutes of dedicated “thinking time” a day can help you clear your mind, as a result, be more thoughtful in your dealings.
3. Pause (for a second) before you speak.
An important quality of quiet strength is thinking before immediately acting. I specifically include the qualifying word “immediate” because quiet strength doesn’t necessarily mean mapping out every possible situation before acting or carefully formulating responses to simple questions. Taking a moment to pause, though, helps you to better articulate what you wish to express.
4. Find your own intrinsic motivators.
What drives you? Is it being able to check items off of a checklist? Finishing a challenging problem? Learning something new? Quiet strength is finding internal motivators to keep you moving forward. Pushing yourself to achieve your goals from within is both an attribute and a product of quiet strength.
5. Journal, journal, journal.
Writing down your ideas, thoughts, and emotions will allow you to better process them. I personally like to keep a journal not only because it helps me organize my thoughts but also because having a log of the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens permits me to look back on the good times and learn from the bad.
The act of journaling extends far beyond the confines of a traditional “dear diary” entry. Journaling can include personal goals, notes about your motivators, and small reflections that will assist you as you contemplate ways to become a more effective leader, student, and professional.
Constantly learning and growing is a part of developing your inner strength; it is a process. Journaling helps document this process along the way.