The Corporate Introvert – Steve Friedman

“I have finally realized, to be happy I don’t need to change myself, I just need to be myself.”Steve Friedman

Being authentic is the best strategy to approach life with, both personally and professionally. This is because authenticity enables people to bring out their best and unique capabilities with the least effort. This is according to our guest today, Steve Fried man, who says that it all starts with learning and understanding our personalities, then accepting ourselves for who we really are.

When he wrote his memoir, In Search of Courage, Steve realized that the common thread of introversion which he thought was a curse all his life was actually a blessing. For years, Steve wore a mask at work and coped with my stress by acting the role at work and over drinking at business trips and socials. Now he embraces his own introversion as a path to become a happier version of himself. 

Steve believes that his purpose is to help other introverts to accelerate their own journey to discover their strengths and how to apply them at home and at work to overcome past obstacles and find joy, pride, and confidence in life.

Steve is retired from corporate America and enjoys sharing articles, books, quizzes, and resources through his website, He is excited to share his new leadership book, The Corporate Introvert: How to Lead and Thrive with Confidence, due out the fall of 2021. 

In today’s episode, Steve will talk about his journey towards the discovery the different phases of being introvert.  He will also provide insights on how people can embody the best version of themselves through self -discovery.

Listen in!

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  • I have found that introversion is not a state of being, it’s a journey. [3:09]
  • In the course of my life, I realized that in my first 20 years of life, I was in the first of the stages that introversion presents which I call unaware. [3:55]
  • In my early 20s it led into the second stage, which I call uninformed where I heard the term introversion that sounded like me, but I didn’t really learn a lot about it. [4:31]
  • It was in my mid-career that I moved to the third phase, which I call enlightenment which happened after primarily reading Susan Kane’s book quiet. [5:44]
  • It really changed things around and it started to make me realize that everybody is different in the world. [6:07]
  • It started me on the path of learning and that realized it’s not all gloom and doom, but there’s exciting opportunities for us to do well. [6:23]
  • The fourth phase is contentment which entails getting our head around that and being happy with who you are. [6:52]
  • The fifth phase, which some introverts don’t approach and others do is what I call flourishing. [7:10]
  • That journey has helped me and is what drives me today to do what I’m doing. [7:46]
  • If through my books and in my discussions, I can help people accelerate their journey to find their true peace and ambitions at a much earlier age, then that’s just a blessing for me. [8:08]
  • We all have our challenges but part of it is learning about ourselves, and then it’s also sharing them with others. [12:22]
  • One of the things I talk about in the book is to gain confidence in who you are and to learn about it. [12:30]
  • My introversion and my sense of discomfort and low self-esteem started when I was a little kid and even if personalities are formed in formative years, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed. [12:56]
  • I think introversion is part of the diversity and inclusion wave where we are part of that diverse mindset at work. [13:35]
  • We need to be around the meeting tables and the board rooms and things like that to help companies and teams develop well thought out and balanced approaches. [13:42]
  • It is harder for extroverted leaders to connect with introverts, and oftentimes, they might just not even feel comfortable to engage with them to create a strong bond and a strong team. [16:00]
  • Sometimes it is just incumbent upon ourselves as introverts to raise that issue and have conversations with the relevant. [16:25]
  • Commercial break. [17:35]
  • I spent 30 years in corporate America and had great experience as well as difficult challenges. [18:42]
  • It’s not about changing ourselves but about being ourselves. [19:37]
  • I realized that I was able to change the way I managed people and the way I led teams and motivated them by the way I connected with them. [19:41]
  • When I had the opportunity to start writing this book, I felt like it was an opportunity to share my experience and also experiences for many other people. [19:59]
  • It starts first and foremost with learning about ourselves and being confident in who we are authentically. [20:25]
  • I’m finding the audience of the book to be people who are veterans of corporate America but they’ve struggled with stereotypes and cultures that they worked in for decades. [21:12]
  • Others are new leaders, or aspiring leaders, or college graduates that know that they’re an introvert and concerned about coming into the corporate workforce, and how they can remain authentic. [21:24]
  • I came a long way when I was in corporate America, but when I left, and started writing, and working on a website to connect with other people, I found that it’s a completely different world. [23:25]
  • Connecting one on one with people was very new for me so I was able to lean on the learnings that I had later in my work career which has really helped me. [23:51]
  • If I’ve learned anything over the last period of time, it is that I need to do it my way, or else I’m going down the same path that I went down when I was in corporate America. [25:09]
  • I was going to do things that I felt comfortable with, and that I felt developed the relationship I wanted to have with readers and the people online. [25:30]
  • It is a balance of being confident in who we are, and also stretching a little bit to try new things. [27:12]
  • Part of all of our journey is just to continue to stretch, but give ourselves permission to kind of redefine where we’re comfortable. [27:52]
  • Introverts can do all anything, they just need to help themselves along on a journey to learn. [29:17]
  • We’re all learning and growing as we go through life, and this is a great opportunity to change some of our perspective. [29:22]
  • There’s a continuum of introverts and extroverts and we float along that based on certain circumstances that people are in various different spots. [30:42]
  • We all have at least a tinge of introversion and extraversion and once we understand that, and accept that it gives us another opportunity to learn more. [31:05]
  • Think about your energy level and plan and make preparations on how you can use your strengths to do engage in productive activities. [31:27]


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