The Best Part of My Failed Attempt At An Internship

This post is dedicated to my friend and official first member of the Self Employed Movement, Tony.

What a weird title, right? What could be good about a failed internship? Is this guy alright in the head? Maybe, maybe not, but who cares?

The best part of my failed attempt at an internship, besides freeing up time to write content for this blog instead of harassing friends and family to buy life insurance, is the fact that I learned about myself and why I work how I work.

You see, I was always an introvert. And I thought this was a bad thing. I was always “shy” or “quiet” and I never really had much to say. But I observed a lot and had a great memory. I just thought that’s how I was and how I’ll always be. That I was different in a negative kind of way.

It gave me anxiety. I hated meeting new people and trying new things. I thought everyone liked these kinds of things. I used to be awkward in social settings and I thought it was just me. I’d get bored easily, my mind would wander, and I’d be quiet. I’d be there but I wouldn’t be there.

I improved as I got older with the help of my friends but I was still a little different…a little off.

I didn’t quite know why.

Until one day I did.

One of the tests for that “lucrative” internship that I was chasing was a personality test. I’ve taken them before and thought this one would be just the same as the others and that it wouldn’t tell me much.

But it did.

The recruiter went over the results with me and she said that “this bar here shows that you’re an introvert. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just how it says you are. How do you feel about that? Do you think it’s accurate?”

And for the first time ever, it hit me, “yes, I am an introvert, but no, it’s not a bad thing.” She went on to say that introverts obviously don’t talk as much as extroverts but that just means that they’re better listeners and generally, have a better memory.

Holy shit. This is me! This makes sense!

She also went on to say that introverts, in general, deal with rejection worse than extroverts. Again, she was totally correct.

She talked about the other metrics and did a recap at the end stating that, “given all that this test shows about you, including the fact that you’re an introvert, we think that you can be successful in this role. In fact, one of the most successful advisers in the area is an introvert himself.”

Finally, after 25 years of thinking that I was a bit off, I realized that I was just fine. For once, I was at ease with myself. I accepted me for being me. I realized why rejection hurt so much. I realized why I just can’t walk up to someone and start a conversation. I realized that my hatred for being in sales was okay. I realized that my methodical way of “sales” and the like is just fine.

You see, I can’t make the first move and talk to someone on the street about the weather. But I can make the first move in other ways, like online, where my written words are my tools to get my ideas across instead of spoken words. It’s the same sort of communication, I just use a different technique.

I can’t make you buy something after talking to you for 5 minutes. It’s not me. It’s not my style.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t run a business….that I can’t have my own business and control my time and create the life I want. It doesn’t mean that I can’t add value to the lives of others and get compensated for it.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t either.

It just means that we have to do things and get our ideas across a little differently.

I thought being an introvert was a curse. I always wished I could be extroverted. I thought that would solve my problems. Turns out I was trying to solve the wrong problem. I should have focused on harnessing my introvert tendencies to change the way I was playing the game of life.

But hey, at least I know now. And for all my fellow introverted followers, you now know too.

How have you dealt with being an introverted business owner? What helps you that can help others?

Check out this interesting article I found:  introverts vs. extroverts which is also the source of featured image at the top of the page.

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6 comments

  1. I appreciate the dedication, Marc. This is something I’ve thought about too often. It’s honestly become a way I categorize people I meet and determine their ability to succeed (which is terrible, I know). I’ve chalked up my inability of monetary success to my introversion which makes me feel really shitty just typing it. People who can easily socialize and network tend to be more successful in my eyes and those who stand on the sidelines watching it happen are the saps who end up being employed by those socializing, networking individuals. Part of my introversion comes from having too much shame. I rarely get out of my comfort zone to put myself out there, it feels embarassing… I’m way too vunerable. We see those in sales as the ones making tons of money, living a wonderful life and the ones trapped quietly in cubicles as the introverts that probably couldn’t ask for help even when they’re drowning. This had led me to live a rather idle life… just coasting by as I’ve mentioned to you before. I’m tired of it. For the last year I have slowly shed this shame to make conversation with people, introduce myself to people I want to know, ask questions that would normally make me red in the face.

    All the things I’ve read about introverts vs extroverts has proven itself to be true for myself. However, it doesn’t mean it has to dictate your life for the rest of your life. It’s like anything else, if you practice it enough, it won’t be such an overbearing task and it’ll come easier. I’ve done this before with just being more confident. After a few times feeling really confident you’ll see it’s not difficult to grab your courage and go for something instead of hoping and asking yourself “what if’s”. So I’ve started acting extroverted in certain situations. I just do it and do it, and do it until I’m not so fearful of it. My wife now thinks I’m the guy that will go up to a total stranger to ask them a question. That makes me feel really good. I just need to combine it with being more confident in myself and I think big things can happen. Unfortunately, I will never take on a sales job still.

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    • Good for you that you’re becoming more social. I’ve found myself getting better with this too especially since my job forces me to talk to people all day. (What a weird job for an introvert, right?)

      You’re right that it doesn’t have to dictate the rest of our lives. Baby steps each day over time will lead to awesome results in a couple months and definitely in a year or two. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on!

      I’ve found that interacting in “social” ways on the Web is a lot easier for me than it is in person. I’m trying to use this to my advantage and adapt so hopefully you can too!

      But like you said, I’ll never try to take on another sales job. I’ve been there and done that. It probably means I’ll never advance in Finance and I’m slowly coming to terms with that. I’m shifting my focus from being in Finance to being more of a writer. Fingers crossed the transition makes me happier!

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      • Having a finance degree I saw myself starting in a teller position but the thought of speaking to customers just didn’t sit well with my personality. Not only am I an introvert but I dislike being “fake”. I can’t be that bubbly, always-chipper, super-duper-happy-to-help guy. I can only see myself as a backroom employee. I’d like to look into being a financial analyst because it doesn’t involve speaking to the general pubic.

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      • I thought being a teller would be a good way to get myself into finance but it really hasn’t helped that much. I’ve applied for lots of financial analyst positions for basically that reason (and I like dealing with numbers) but haven’t gotten very far with that.

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  2. I was really hoping I would find what I was looking for here 😦 I’ve already accepted myself as an introvert, but others can’t seem to.
    I’ve been through a few interviews for internships with accounting firms, and none of them translated into an offer. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say interviews can get exhausting. It seems that I only look good on paper and as a first impression, but when I am asked to do secondary or full-day interviews, I can’t give my best. My best gets exhausted.
    Unfortunately not all interviews are as great as yours with inclusion of a personality test, and we are not all fortunate to have someone to openly tell us we are going to be successful in a certain role we want.

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    • I’m sorry you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for here.

      I can totally understand that interviews can get exhausting. They seem like interrogations and get annoying after a while!

      I found out about the personality test in the 4th interview so it was a long, exhausting process.

      It was nice for them to tell me about it in a positive way but they also have quotas to meet with a certain number of interns and what not so they had their own priorities. Their tone drastically changed once I actually accepted the internship. All of the sudden I had to do this and that and pay for all of it. I felt like I’ve been had!

      After that process, I realized that it just wasn’t for me. I would have to be a salesperson and that’s the last thing I want to do!

      You could always Google “personality tests” and see what you find.

      I recently Googled “career aptitude tests” and found some decent, free ones. They said that I should be in administration, clerical, accounting or be a writer so that was sort of helpful.

      Of all of these, I enjoy writing the most but it’ll be a long process before I think I can turn it into a living.

      Oh well, you have to start somewhere!

      Good luck figuring it out and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

      I’ve been in the exact same position you’re currently in. It sucks and it’s deflating but keep on fighting and you’ll figure it out.

      Like

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