Thriving As An Introvert: Jamie G Smith of LUXE Everyday On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts
Introverts can sometimes isolate themselves too much, especially when they are hurt, fearful, coping with hardships or trauma. It is crucial to have a positive support system or community surrounding you that you feel supported by, where you can be your authentic self and share the good and challenging aspects of life.
In a world that often rewards outspokenness and social networking, introverts can sometimes feel sidelined or overlooked. The workplace, educational institutions, and even social settings can often seem engineered to suit the strengths of extroverts, leaving introverts searching for a space to flourish.
However, introversion comes with its own set of unique strengths — deep thinking, the ability to focus, empathy, and keen observational skills — that are invaluable but often underestimated. The question then becomes: how can introverts not only survive but also thrive and succeed in environments that seem skewed towards extroversion? In this interview series, we are talking to introverts, business leaders, psychologists, authors, career coaches, organizational leaders, and other experts in the field who can talk about “How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts”. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jamie G. Smith.
Jamie G. Smith empowers women to create breakthroughs in their life and business so they can rise above the doubts, beliefs and behaviors that are holding them back from their next level, enabling them to become truly Unstoppable.
As a business & lifestyle elevation strategist, speaker, and content creator Jamie is the founder of L.U.X.E. Everyday. LUXE stands for L.ead a U.nique e.X.traordinary E.xistence Everyday. After a successful career in fitness, Jamie turned her attention to how she could elevate women to step into their unique voices and leave their impact on the world. She has worked with women for the past 15 years, leading them into their greatness and accelerating their breakthroughs into their Extraordinary Existence. Her powerful signature online program, ‘Unstoppable: Activate Your Extraordinary Power’, gives women the system and tools they need to succeed in any environment while catapulting their life and business to the next level.
Jamie is an international speaker who has presented in China, Sweden, Canada and across the United States. She has been featured in publications such as Health & Fitness and American Council on Exercise. Jamie has been a spokesperson for BMW, Kia and Bodybar and was selected by REEBOK to be one of the 7 global athletes to launch their dance fitness line to international and U.S. markets.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us your “Origin Story”? Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in a small town in Colorado. Being raised there taught me so many great skills for life that I still utilize today. I learned how to connect with all types of people, how to be kind, thoughtful, resourceful, and I was given many opportunities to step into leadership rolls since it was a smaller population. I had a family that created a stable and loving base for me to grow. My mother was a teacher which may have given me my thirst for learning and teaching others. I love to explore, learn and I have always been curious (you’ll have to ask me about the time I got my tongue stuck to the freezer shelf). My father was strong and steady and kept me grounded and aware of others needs. What’s funny is that I was an introvert as a little girl and was content playing quietly by myself. My mom would get so frustrated because she would send me to my room for getting into trouble, but for me that wasn’t a punishment. I could play for hours and be completely content. My mom did encourage (ok, force) me to be outgoing and learn to connect with others. Which was slightly painful then, but I do appreciate it now because I can do it easily now, as long as I take time to recover in a quiet space and recharge after. This is why I consider myself an “outgoing introvert”. It was honestly a learned skill. I say that, because it is possible to stretch your comfort zone and feel more at ease the more you do it. When you apply certain strategies to the process of stepping out of your comfort zone, you just may surprise yourself with the successes you encounter!
Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?
I am a life and business elevation strategist, speaker and content creator. I empower women to rise above their doubts, beliefs and behaviors that are holding them back from their next level so they can become unstoppable! I do this through: 1. Creative Self Discovery Courses 2. an Online Community for Women 40+
3. Curated Events & Experiences.
I have always had a passion for women and for seeing people rise into their true potential, that ignites my soul. All of my life experiences (good and challenging) have led me to this point. I know what I love to do, who I am (which is always evolving), what my core values and priorities are (which I assess regularly) and who I can guide in releasing what is holding them back so they can breakthrough and truly transform. These days I follow my genius zone, spirit led intuition, and desires (what excites my heart) to guide me toward my next steps.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Thriving As An Introvert. In order to make sure that we are all on the same page, let’s begin with a simple definition. What does “Introvert” mean to you?
Introverts normally gather their energy from being alone or in more intimate settings. Stimulation or large groups of people tend to wear them out and also make them uncomfortable. Many times they are more reflective and introspective and don’t like too much attention or focus on themselves.
Can you help articulate a few of the challenges that come with being an introvert?
- Having to make small talk and interact in big crowds, with people, or environments you aren’t comfortable with can create social anxiety.
- Being put on the spot and not having time to prepare or formulate your thoughts fully can create uncomfortable tension.
- Feeling unheard because you are passed over by more outgoing/outspoken people can lead to frustration or even anger.
- Overthinking and sometimes spiraling in your own mind can end in internal angst, procrastination and even late deadlines.
- Being pressured to show up in a situation that feels out of your control and you don’t know what to expect can be unnerving.
- Feeling drained of energy due to the overstimulation of the environment or the strain on your central nervous system from the stress load can end in exhaustion.
- Struggling with assertiveness and standing up for one’s self can not only create distress but also result in being disappointed in yourself for not having the confidence to do so.
I’m sure that being an introvert also gives you certain advantages. Can you tell us a few advantages that introverts have?
- Tend to be more independent.
- Great listeners.
- Compassionate leaders and humans.
- Typically good at communicating and expressing yourself through writing.
- Great at supporting outgoing leaders and teammates
- Think before you speak
- Greater capacity for introspection and reflection.
- Ability to focus deeply on tasks.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being an introvert? Can you explain what you mean?
1 . Introverts can’t be powerful leaders.
Power isn’t signified by boldness or being the most outgoing person in the room. Power comes from the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others. Influence can be gained or earned by being a leader that can be trusted, respected, offers empathy and genuine care for people. They are self aware and guided by their integrity. They stand up for what is right. These are all qualities that are accessible to anyone that chooses them.
2 . Introverts aren’t good at public speaking.
Some of the most powerful and inspirational speakers are in fact introverts. They have simply learned to manage their energy properly and focus on delivering value instead of worrying about what others might think. I personally believe that many times introverts have significant messages to deliver because they have been introspective and contemplative on a deeper level. Therefore, the stage gives them the opportunity to rise into a thought leader and impact creator when they share these higher level concepts from a platform.
3 . Introverts are shy.
I don’t believe all introverts are shy. Some may be, but from what I have witnessed in my community of women is that it is typically more of a comfort zone response. If it is a new situation or experience that they are unsure about or it is outside of their typical patterns, this may cause them to withdraw or hold back. The beautiful thing about our comfort zone, is that the more we do things outside of what our norm is, the more normal these things become. We recalibrate to our “new normal” which opens the door to explore new opportunities that might have seemed intimidating, scary, or out of our reach previously.
4 . Introverts have less of a chance to stand out. I have witnessed that when someone stands in their unique gifts and talents and shares those with others, they will stand out in a positive way and get noticed. Many extroverts demand attention, but honestly just because they get attention, it may not be seen in a positive light. It is more important that we are recognized for the essence that we were meant to contribute to this world. We will feel more fulfilled and make deeper, more meaningful connections with ourselves and others when we give ourselves the permission to be fully us, in all of our glory!
5 . Introverts can’t shine in social situations. Introverts can shine bright in any situation. I think resetting expectations of what shining looks like is important. Many times we may have created a skewed idea in our mind of what is valuable. This can come from how we grew up, past experiences, or just a belief that we have never challenged and so it still exists inside of us. We may feel that what we have to contribute is less important, not as appreciated, or meaningful as what someone else, that is more bold, does. Our limiting beliefs that what we provide is less valuable, can keep us from openly sharing those characteristics, knowledge, and strengths that are distinct to us. By ceasing to concern ourselves with comparison energy and instead make ourselves available for creative and collaborative
possibilities, we encourage a safe space to thrive in successfully. Every person has something significant they were given to radiate into this world.
Do you have any role models who are also introverts? What have you learned from them that can help introverts navigate the challenges and benefits of introversion?
Yes, Jen Gottlieb, author of ‘Be Seen: Find Your Voice. Build Your Brand. Live your Dream.’ She is an amazing leader and speaker. One of the top things I respect and appreciate about her is that she has learned to use her vulnerability to connect with others on stage and in person. She willingly and courageously shares her own doubts and insecurities as well as tools that she personally has utilized to thrive in social situations.
Some of her tips: 1. If you’re on stage or in a large environment (like a networking event), focus on just one person. Instead of thinking about the entire crowd, just consider the one person you desire to connect with and speak to them as if you are only speaking to them. 2. Be curious and ask questions, everyone likes to feel important. So, take the pressure off yourself and focus on connecting more deeply with who you are speaking with. 3. Give yourself a goal and an out. Set a goal that is meaningful for you to complete. Make a deal with yourself that once you have accomplish your goal or intention, you can leave. This will help you to feel safe, give you something to focus on, and you may be having so much fun that you don’t even want to leave.
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the “Five Things Introverts Need To Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
1 . Energy Management Practices.
During the most stressful time in my life, when I was going through a divorce, I learned just how crucial this can be. My entire life was leveled to ground zero. I was stressed about finances and paying off debt from the divorce, was unsure how I was going to provide for my 3 kids and myself, and my stability (life as I knew it) had completely dissipated. Place on top of that an autoimmune disease. This led to weekends where I could not even function because I had depleted my body, mind and spirit to such an extent that I felt like I had the flu and I could not even get out of bed. I had to learn to take care of myself first. I needed to make health and me a priority in order to handle the level of stress that was occurring in my life during that season. This is actually where my online course ‘Velocity’ came from, my learnings about what factors effect me most as an introvert and how to effectively manage them to optimize my success in any situation.
Anytime we, as introverts, don’t have control or know the outcome of a situation or life circumstance, that can create an immense amount of anxiety. When we have external factors pulling on us, creating additional taxation on our nervous system or are exposed to a more intense time of stress, we need to pay even more attention to protecting and managing our energy. You will want to be even more devoted to your self care practices, but also be intentional in eliminating or decreasing your exposure to those people ,environments or situations that elevate your strain levels. This actually applies to any pressure in your life, whether it be a big event that you have to attend for work, a family holiday that you are hosting, or a vacation you are taking with friends. When you learn to become very present and aware of upcoming stressors, you can actually create a personalized formula that ensures your success and happiness. When you integrate the tools to take control of your energy, you become less reactive, more creative, joyful, motivated, and productive. If you prioritize and align yourself with what works best for you, it can lead to your extraordinary triumph in any situation. By actively engaging in those factors that increase your energy and limiting those that steal it, you shift into an accelerated version of yourself and gain more momentum in every area of your life and business.
I created a quick video just for you, so that you can get started on your Energy Management journey.
2. Comparison/Competitive versus Creative/Collaborative Focus.
Oh my goodness, I don’t know about you, this took me a hot minute to learn this one. We live in a world where many magazines create perfect images for us to live up to, social media posts only show people’s highlight reels (their best moments and not any of their worst), and even at work we are pitted against our teammates and compared to them.
I had a huge revelation when I was in college. All my life I had been compared to a friend of mine. She was tall, slender, beautiful, model-like. I was shorter, stockier and more athletic. As a little girl I wanted to be described as the beautiful one, rather than the smart, athletic one. Don’t get me wrong, of course I wanted to be those things as well, but I also wanted to be seen as pretty. After all, back then, Daisy Duke was what we had as a role model. 🙂 Fast forward to my college and young married years. As you know, when women have babies, sometimes it is difficult to get the weight back off. My friend was having a hard time with this as well. Suddenly, people were seeing me as the skinny, pretty one. Honestly it was bizarre to me, because I had not changed. I had weighed the same, been the same for years. I had a revelation that changed my perspective for life. It does not matter how skinny, talented, smart, or athletic you are, it is all relative. The minute you walk into a room, there may be someone more of whatever that something great is. Not only that, but depending on who you are talking with, they may have a different perception of what pretty is or they might value a different aspect of intelligence than most people. I discovered that when I simply focus on being the best version of me and stopped comparing myself to others it freed up so much time and energy to become better at the things that I truly value.
Healthy competition can be good but when it turns into constantly comparing yourself to others, your looks, your athletic ability, how successful you feel as a mom or dad, even comparing yourself to extroverts and focusing on their advantages instead of the innate ones you have as an introvert, that is when it becomes detrimental. There is so much power in engaging in creative and collaborative energy rather than comparison.
So go be you! ALL you! You were created for greatness in your own special and unique way. Let that fully be expressed and cheer others on as they do the same! No more trying to be someone or something that does not align with your highest version.
3 . Awareness — Triggers /Default Patters.
If you truly want to create breakthroughs in your life to become more successful, one of the most significant tools you can adopt is awareness. Awareness of how you react, what your triggers are, and why they trigger you. This will serve you in so many ways, trust me.
Remember that whole divorce thing I mentioned? We can gather so much powerful information about ourselves during our most crazy and high pressured moments. What we do with that information determines where we end up in that equation. We can either become better and stronger or sink into victimhood and self sabotage. We always have a choice. (If you get nothing else out of this, remember you always have a choice.) I cannot even tell you just how many lessons I unearthed because of that season in my life, but one of the most significant up-levels for me was gaining clarity on what my default patterns were and what was triggering them. I was so exposed, raw and anxious that all of my hidden old wounds and beliefs rose to the surface. Now, I could have ignored them, that would have been easier in the short term (and definitely would have felt more comfortable). Instead I decided to take an honest look and get curious about them. Explore them. Do you know what happened? I healed so many things inside of myself, I became more confident, I learned new skills to cope with them when they arose, and I became a much more powerful human because I wasn’t letting them control me!
When you gain awareness of your default reactions or patterns, take a step back and investigate what triggered you, then dig into why it triggered you, this will do several things. First, you start to heal and clear the old experiences, stories, limiting beliefs that have been ruling your life. Second, you can now begin to strategize and decide how you want to react next time a similar person, place or thing activates you. This empowers you with choice and enables you to stop letting others control you. I created a dynamic course called ‘Unstoppable: Activate Your Extraordinary Power’ that guides you into a powerful framework walking you through this process. A fun first step for you, if you are interested to discover what your dominant Primal reaction to pressure and triggers is, would be to take my free Primal Instincts Quiz. Now, it’s not light and fluffy. It is not going to give you all of the great things you do under strain and stress. It is going to highlight some of the reactions you may have when you aren’t handling the intensity well. But, if you are willing to go there, without judgement for yourself, then I want to encourage you to take it. Have fun with it. Don’t take it or yourself too seriously. When you have feedback about your behaviors don’t take it on as your identity, simply view it as information that you can learn and grow from, then change if you so choose. You are in the power seat.
4 . Let Go of Control and Having to Know the Outcome.
One of the most significant realizations you can have is to understand that when you are able to let go of trying to control an outcome or other people you will uncover so much more freedom in your life. When you learn to flow with life and focus on the things you CAN control (like your attitude, behavior, actions, and feelings) instead of the things you cannot, so many things will open up for you.
During one of the most stressful times in my life I was extremely reactive and I tried to hold on tightly to the outcomes I desperately wanted. I actually created much more turmoil and drama in my life because of it. I was moving from a place of fearing the unknown. It didn’t help that all of my stability, as I knew it, had been swept out from under me. I was in survival mode. Have you ever been there?
What I learned was that when I trusted the fact that no matter what happens I will figure it out. I was able to access so much more freedom, happiness, and space to allow even better things to introduce themselves into my life. It provided opportunities for me to grow and discover new solutions for anything that came my way. This will make you more adaptive, able to flow with whatever comes across your path. Consider COVID, there was absolutely no way you could have predicted that the entire globe would shut down. There was absolutely nothing you could have done to change the unfolding of it. However, the things you could focus on were spending quality time with your kids, learning a new skill that you had’t had time for before, adding meditation to your daily routine to calm your mind and your stress level.
The more you release having to control people or situations and instead concentrate intentionally on the part you play in the equation, decide how you want to show up in the process, and seek out positive solutions, the more empowered you will become. You will be at ease knowing that you are capable of handling anything that comes your way.
5 . Permission Granted to be Unstoppable
We want to shine, we desire to be seen and yet we fear it at the same time. What if you aren’t enough? What if someone sees you really aren’t the expert? What if you fail? Are people going to criticize or judge you, make fun of you in front of your family or co-workers? Isn’t it better to remain under the radar, not play full out, not fully expose yourself because you aren’t sure what that would look like or even quite know what you are capable of. Isn’t it better to remain in your comfort zone, remain safe, remain in what you know?
Last year I realized I was holding back. I was choosing to slide just under the radar of my greatness. I have always been driven, been a leader, but I could feel and see instances where I was holding back. I had to get quiet and honest with myself. I needed to understand why I was doing this, so that I could move forward and unwrap all the gifts and opportunities that were available to me that I was letting stay hidden. You know what I found? I discovered that I had underlying fears, negative childhood experiences were controlling my decisions to be fully visible. I remember when I was younger, when I would rise up and be TOO visible or get too much attention, I would get attacked by others. So, my fear of becoming too seen was really stemming from not wanting to place myself in the position to be criticized.
Ask yourself, am I holding back because I am afraid of failing, being judged, criticized, being not enough, being too much, or because I don’t want to make someone else feel less then. First, I want to release you from any guilt or pressure on yourself. Everyone feels these things and has these same fears (I promise), it is human nature. Now I want to give you full permission to fail, be too much, be ok with others not agreeing with what you do or how you do it. This is your life, no matter what you do people are going to have an opinion. Their opinion is none of your business. God didn’t give THEM your dreams or desires, He gave them to YOU. So, what are you going to do with them? Think about it this way, when you choose to rise you give other people around you the opportunity to see that it is possible. Wether they decide to be threatened by that and criticize or become inspired to chase their own dreams and goals, is up to them. You are not responsible for their decisions, you are only responsible for your own!
My final thought on all of the above is to have so much grace and appreciation for yourself. You are amazing. Aim for progress, not perfection. You are incredible and just in process. The harder you are on yourself the less energy you have to elevate into your greatness. Like Tony Robbins says “Energy Flows where Focus Goes”. Focus on what you want more of in your life. Let go of what you want less of. You’ve got this!
How should an introvert navigate social relationships and networking, activities that are often touted as extroverts’ forte? Do you have any advice for introverts in these areas?
- First and foremost, just be you. Embrace all you have to offer and share more of you.
- If you can invite a friend, that you are comfortable with, to be by your side for support and comic relief.
- Be the most curious person in the room. Come prepared with a few quality questions that will get you started into a deeper conversation and then genuinely begin to follow your curiosity for where the conversation is going and what you can learn about the person you are speaking with.
- Be intentional. Know one thing you want to accomplish while you are there. When I go into a meeting or a networking event, I decide on what is one outcome I would like to create or end result that I desire. That might be 3 follow up meetings, a connection with a specific person, or passing out a certain number of invites to my next event.
- Decide who you want to be. Before you enter an important conversation, meeting or event decide who you want to show up as. Take 1 minute to close your eyes and visualize yourself as that person. What does it feel like (use all of your senses), what specific words define that person, how do you want others to feel while in your presence? Walk in and embody that persona.
What are some practical tips you can offer to introverts who want to succeed in the workplace, which is often geared towards extroverted behaviors?
- Go on a journey of self-discovery and growth. Explore and play with getting to know yourself on a deeper level. The more you know and trust yourself, the more you will understand and be able to convey where you can add value and magic.
- What is one new skill that you can learn that will take you to your next level. Find one that you would enjoy and that would also assist you in becoming more confident in your work environment.
- Practice getting out of your comfort zone daily. It can be a small leap like talking to a new person each day, trying one new activity or making eye contact with the strangers you walk by on the street. As you get comfortable with smaller engagements then you can begin to challenge yourself with bigger leaps that you have wanted but have been holding back from.
- If you are feeling stressed, pressured or overwhelmed, take a break. Go find a quiet space for just a few minutes. Close your eyes, do some deep breathing, and release the tension. This will help you reset your nervous system. You can do this several times a day if needed. It does not need to take long and can make a big difference.
- Find ways to help others. By being in tune with what team members or management are in need of, you can find powerful ways to add value. It might be more of a personal need that you can assist with, but it would mean a great deal to them. Maybe they mentioned that they are tense about getting their child into a certain school and you happen to have a contact there. Or, they are having trouble sleeping and you just ran across an article on best practices to aide in sleeping better. It can truly be anything. As you become a go-to resource and care about what they care about, that will set you apart in a memorable way.
Have you noticed any specific ways that being an introvert affects mental health or overall well-being? Any tips for introverts to maintain good mental health?
- Introverts can sometimes isolate themselves too much, especially when they are hurt, fearful, coping with hardships or trauma. It is crucial to have a positive support system or community surrounding you that you feel supported by, where you can be your authentic self and share the good and challenging aspects of life.
- Stellar self care habits are essential for mental health and well-being. If you don’t feel good physically, it is going to be much harder to remain in a positive headspace. When you prioritize yourself first and take care of yourself, everything else gets easier, you feel more motivated, happy, and have more energy to dedicate to your family, success and living your extraordinary existence. You will also have a greater capacity to solve problems that arise and cope with external stimulations that are occurring with more grace and ease.
- Include ‘soul igniters’ into your week! It’s easy to get burned out, overwhelmed, and disillusioned with life (which can spiral into a declining mental state) if all you do is work and take care of the must do’s on your list of tasks. Take time each week to do the things that fill your soul back up and light you up from the inside out. You will be more joyful and also feel more centered in who you are. When you take just an hour or two to spark your passion and excitement again, it will awaken your zest for life. I created a free 5 day guided journey for you to activate more of your extraordinary life. You can find it here.
In your opinion, are societal views on introversion changing? If so, how do you think this impacts introverts positively or negatively? Can you please explain what you mean?
I do think they are. More highly visible people, like stars and public figures, are sharing that they are in fact introverts. This is helping to change the perception of what an introvert is. It has opened up more of an awareness and appreciation that introverts don’t necessarily look or act a certain way. This extends an opportunity for all introverts to not have to play by any preconceived rules. This is your opportunity to decide what being an introvert looks like and feels like for you.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
I love this quote so much because it is not about doing it perfectly, it is not about whether you are an introvert or extrovert, it is about just showing up. If you are brave enough to step into the arena of life (and life can be messy and imperfect, but it can also be beautiful and exhilarating) you will experience so much more that you are capable of. When we challenge ourselves to go beyond what we know and choose to engage we can experience an extraordinary life. Those that elect to stay on the sidelines and judge or remain in fear, will never discover the fullest expression of who they are. That is exactly what drives me most, utilizing everything I have access to and leaving nothing inside of me untapped. Let’s do this one extraordinary life we have together. I would love to walk side by side with you as we explore the vastness of who we are created to be.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
To Free, Build, Release, Activate and Unify Global Women Leaders into their Destiny Driven Impact on the World! I desire to create a life changing global event with other creative, heart-driven leaders, specifically for women to rise into their fullest essence, find their freedom, connect with other like minded women as they step into the extraordinary power of who they were created to be.
How can our readers further follow your work online? I would love to connect with you on my
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thriving As An Introvert: Jamie G Smith of LUXE Everyday On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.