Ego Tripping for IntrovertsJun 26, 2022
It can be a good thing…
The notion of authenticity and tapping into one's greatness to own your truth has been dominant in recent years. While this is true, there seems to be an asterisk when it comes to introverts. The prevailing wisdom is "you can be who you are, unless you're an introvert, in which case, you need to stop being an introvert and be more extroverted". Part of the disconnect stems from the false perception that introverts are shy or antisocial and therefore ill-equipped for success. Or conversely, extroverts are more suited for success because they are outgoing and highly visible. Both are false narratives that create tremendous friction toward introverts, further amplified in the experiences of women of colour.
We introverts are deeply connected to ourselves and our world, which is quite the double-edged sword, simultaneously engaging and draining us from the inside out. Yet, unique, powerful introverted women like Beyoncé, Naomi Osaka, and JK Rowling are shaping and changing their industries and the world.
By leaning into their introversion, they use their reflective, introspective natures to show up powerfully and authentically to create in their respective zones of genius and share their gifts and talents that empower and inspire us all. One of their most powerful techniques is employing an empowered alter ego (E.A.E.). Making their E.A.E. their social bae allows them to show up in service and confidence while honouring the path and process to get there.
Typically, an alter ego conjures images of Superman and Clark Kent, where Superman is the real guy, but Clark Kent is the alter ego. That's NOT what we're talking about here - quite the opposite. Your empowered alter ego allows you to be more of who you already are, not downplay your powerful nature to be palatable to the masses.
For instance, Beyoncé often enlists her E.A.E. Sasha Fierce when it's time for performances and other outward-facing tasks to be done. When the task is done, the makeup comes off, the sweats come on, and Sasha returns the reins to Beyoncé. This way, Beyoncé can honour her boundaries to have time for reflection, solitude, and introspection, allowing her to sing, write, act, lead, and innovate.
This technique is used by many powerful introverted women, like Adele, Mellody Hobson, Shakira, and soon you! Here are the five steps for you to create your own Empowered Alter Ego.
Make a task list
First, list all the tasks you would delegate to your E.A.E. Of this Santa list of functions, what's the one most pressing thing? Most pressing could be timing, urgency, or desire to pivot. This is the task to focus on first before moving unto the next - don't worry, you can do them all but start with the most pressing.
Ponder the traits to embody
Next, think about the traits needed to complete that most pressing task. Returning to Beyoncé's example, she initially started using Sasha because she wanted to feel very confident and sexy on stage, which is a far cry from her natural tendencies (shocking, right?!). When she wants to tap into that energetic hair blowing in the wind, run-the-world vixen, she taps Sasha to embody those traits. So, what characteristics would you want your alter ego to embody for you and the task you have?
Welcome the emotion of embodiment
Welcome the feeling of embodying those traits. What would it feel like or look like to B.E. those traits needed for your pressing task? How would you want to experience feeling those traits? When Beyoncé embodies Sasha, her back arches, her fingers outstretch, and she dons a knowing look of determination while flicking her hair back. How will your body feel and move as your mind embodies those E.A.E. traits?
Rename your new bae, E.A.E.
Name your E.A.E. to take it from concept to creation. Choose a name that evokes those emotions you want to embody - this is for your eyes only. Beyoncé chose "Sasha Fierce" because every Sasha she knew was fearless, bold and no-nonsense and fierce was how she wanted to feel when performing in public. This approach is used by other notable introverts like Adele and Stacey Abrams - giving their E.A.E. a name that, when they hear it, immediately evokes the traits they want to embody while completing their most pressing outward-facing tasks.
Delegate to incorporate
Lastly, delegate to your E.A.E. bae and do the dang thing! It's not enough to do all of the previous items. You have to allow your empowered alter ego to fill the role. At first, It will feel weird shifting from the you who may be more mild-mannered, who may need that time away, or isn't tapping into this full expression of self. But like everything, practise makes progress. Beyoncé shared that she no longer has to call upon Sasha as she did earlier in her career, but she's still learning from Sasha to become more of herself. Start delegating to your E.A.E. in low-stakes ways so you can be it till you see it, giving yourself space and grace to fumble forward.
Ego trips are often resented, but for introverts, they can create an onramp into becoming more of who you already are in a way that serves you and the people that you impact and influence. Your introverted nature doesn't have to limit you or keep you from living into the fullness of who you are and how you're meant to serve. In fact, your introversion provides a pathway for you to be even more impactful and influential as you leverage it and learn its benefits rather than pretending that it's a liability.
Jacqueline Shaulis is the leading authority on communication-based personal leadership for intersectional introverts. As an introverted woman of colour, she's leveraged her challenging upbringing into becoming a transformational speaker, bestselling author, and executive coach & advisor to Fortune 500 executives…all while honouring her introversion.
The founder of Awesome Enterprises LLC, Executive Director of the National Center for Intersectional Studies, and author of internationally bestselling books "Embrace Your Awesome" and "Yes Introverts Can". When not globetrotting with coffee in hand or loudly singing "tune-adjacent" at home, you can find Jacqueline getting lost in a good (audio)book or hugging her son, his nine cousins, or the nearest tree. You can read more about Jacqueline and her work here.
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