Part of what I love about the end of the year is the reflective mood we all embrace. We take a few minutes to look back on the wins and losses, births and deaths, and turning points of the last 12 months. It’s a way of recognizing how far we’ve come, and it gives us a hint of where we’re headed.
Plus, we all seem to be suckers for Top 10 lists of any size, shape or color. We love to rank, judge, measure and crown winners and losers. My version of this is to do a shout-out for introverts who made a difference in 2010; like the year, some have had their highs and lows, yet they have undeniably changed the world.
Jeff Bezos: As founder of Amazon.com, Bezos joins the ranks of introvert gazillionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg as having a profound influence on our society. He’s changed the way we shop online and introduced innovations such as the Kindle that have moved the publishing industry firmly into the digital age. Bezos was named Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2010 Executive of the Year, which called out his being “adept at quantifying things and looking several steps ahead” and “his complex leadership style: someone highly focused on metrics, but willing to let projects take years to mature; a visionary who understands technology and makes a habit of turning conventional thinking on its head; and a leader who is both the public face of his company and the driving force of innovation within it.” It’s interesting that recent studies have shown that introverts tend to take the long view when it comes to reward and gratification, which sounds very much in line with Bezos’ modus operandi.
Mark Zuckerberg: Zuckerberg – co-creator of the world’s largest social networking site, focus of a critically acclaimed movie, Time’s Person of the Year 2010, number 1 on Vanity Fair’s 2010 list of the Top 100 “most influential people of the Information Age” – is absolute living proof that introverts can be social connectors. The irony is that introverts tend to value their privacy, yet if there’s any criticism about Facebook, it centers around how it affects our privacy. Rather than go down that bumpy road, I prefer to reflect on how Facebook has blown open the pathways between people, especially for introverts. Social media is perfect for us: we can look before we leap, be discerning about what we share and don’t, do that sharing on our own time and in our own space, let people in or keep them at a distance, stalk (although, we introverts call that “research” 🙂 ) and put ourselves out there in a relatively measured, controlled way. Zuckerberg has revolutionized the way we connect with one another, and the ripple effects will be felt for decades to come, even after Facebook has gone the way of My Space.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of introverts out there who are going to contribute fabulous things to the coming year. Here, I also want to acknowledge a few introverts I know who live in my own backyard who will be making waves in 2011.
Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades, founder, Power Chicks International. Lynn has been planting seeds for The Power Chicks since 2009, and 2011 is the year things start to bloom! Lynn’s passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs and providing resources to help them be successful on their own terms. Her enthusiasm brings people (men and women alike!) to her, and her authenticity keeps them coming back for more.
Arden Clise, founder, Clise Etiquette. How do I know Arden is going places? She’s my twice-weekly accountability partner, and she inspires me with her persistence, passion and graciousness. She makes the calls, books the speaking engagements and makes etiquette fun. Arden made her TV debut in December; I’m sure it’s the first of many more appearances to come, and her star will continue to rise and shine (and write lots of thank you notes along the way!).
Judy Dunn, Blogging Coach & Copywriter, CatsEye Writer. Judy walks her talk. She regularly dispenses exactly-what-I-need-to-read-right-NOW! tips about writing and blogging, and her efforts are being recognized on a national level. Her most recent win? Being named as one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers, out of more than 500 nominees! Her love of teaching and writing clearly comes through in each post.
Leslie Irish Evans, Founder, Peeling Mom Off the Ceiling. Leslie’s a “modern day Erma Bombeck,” full of smarts, sass and spirit. She’s a lively presence on Facebook and is a new voice on the I’m Thankful Radio Network, hosting her own syndicated show. And here’s a little secret: her wit and wisdom is powerful for all of us… moms, dads, singles, couples and women like me who refer to their cats as their children.
Nancy Juetten, founder, Main Street Media Savvy. Every time I turn around, Nancy is doing something new and useful for anyone who wants to be seen, heard and celebrated (and compensated!) for their expertise. She takes an idea and develops it to the max, which I find inspiring. I suspect 2011 will see a new burst of activity and success for Nancy and those with whom she works.
Patty K, pajama-wearing motivational speaker, writer of blog. What can I say about Patty K?! She’s been on an inspiring journey that we’ve been fortunate enough to follow through her insightful blog. She is a model for being yourself (hence the PJs) and facing your fears. She’s also a proud introvert and helps people embrace all that they are. Watch for her on stages at events and conferences near you!
Debbie Whitlock, Managing Director, eWomen Network-Greater Seattle Chapter + President, Sound Financial Partners. Debbie’s one of the most centered, grounded people I’ve come across in a while. She brings heart and humor to her work, and she is going to be a remarkable force in her new role with eWomen Network. She set an intention a year ago to have a national radio show, and she made it happen. 2011 is going to be huge!
YOU, CEO, YOU, Inc. YOU are going to have an amazing 2011! You are going to step into your values and honor what’s most important to you in a way that’s more powerful and more confident than ever before. As you embrace your introvert strengths and make choices that support you, you’ll move with more ease, peace and flow. You’ll find energy in all sorts of places: in connection and solitude, reflection and action, excitement and calm. Watch out, world, you’re on the move!!!
Who would you add to this list? How are you going to make a difference – for yourself, for others – in 2011?