This is my revolutionary story. I have gone from being a painfully “tongue-tied” child when meeting new people to an adult happy in her own skin but delicately balancing base introversion with essential extroversion.
I have transitioned from facing a large giggling derisive group to being able to hold the rapt attention of an audience for more than two hours at a stretch.
Four years ago, I left a well-paying corporate job to start my own practice as a Chartered Accountant. I did not advertise. I did not ask to be referred. I dreaded the networking word. I went ahead with zero marketing, almost ostrich-like.
I’ve been told I have been doing it all wrong. I’ve been rebuked. I’ve seen shocked faces. I’ve been told by seniors in the profession that I won’t survive unless I attach myself to a larger, more visible firm. I have been told that as a woman professional, I shouldn’t be doing it all alone for the sake of a future balancing act. I was told I was too young to be on my own.
But I went ahead quietly and stubbornly. Four years later, I am still here and doing decently well.
Yes, I am here because of my technical skills, because of my determination and drive to fight all odds. But I am also struck by the amount of trust I hold in my clients’ hearts. It’s the power of empathy, confidentiality, and quality service. It’s the power of me listening when they speak and observing and understanding what they need from a financial advisor rather than forcing my opinion of what I think they should or should not do.
And somewhere, I also feel, it’s the power of not putting myself “out there” and instead doing things in a way that felt comfortable to me.
I link all of this to the power of my introversion. There are days when I feel like quitting. But most days, I remember an old quote,
“People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
And this, I believe, is the strength of my quiet perseverance—be it with my clients or my students.
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