Name Terra L. Fletcher
Random question: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why? My favorite shades are the teals and turquoise of Caribbean waters. But I’d blend a new color that would be a little darker than that, one with even more depth.
Are you a bold introvert? Have you always been one? As a child, I was a quiet, shy, perfectionist. I wanted everything to be perfect so no flaws received attention. I cried the first time I came home from school with a less than perfect grade. Suffering from allergies, I’d sit in class and try to stifle my sniffle, rather than get up to get a tissue.
Marrying an extrovert made me bolder. At parties, he’d get up and mingle with everyone. I learned it was either sit in a corner by myself or muster up enough courage to be social.
Entrepreneurship requires incredible boldness. The first services I offered were writing website content and doing social media marketing. Networking events made me sweat and tremble with fear, but I knew I had to attend to generate leads.
I joined the local chamber of commerce and boldly attended as many events as I could. The Director asked if I’d teach business owners to use Facebook professionally. I couldn’t say no because I needed the money. Community Education asked me if I’d teach social media. Again, I had to say yes.
Slowly I discovered, despite my introvert nature, I truly enjoy teaching. I have a platform to speak all the things I kept inside for so long. The “light bulb moment” when a student learns something new and valuable makes it worthwhile.
Teaching communication is even more fulfilling. Humbly recognizing my inadequacies and committing to becoming a better communicator led me to study this important life skill. When you learn something powerful, you can’t help but share it.
Whenever I teach a communications class, at least one person cries, sometimes several. I can relate to what many people have been through and they finally have the tools they need to improve their communication and relationships personally and professionally.
Recently, a woman confessed after class that she now understood what went wrong in her first marriage. Those moments are profound and keep me motivated to continue growing my skills, my toolbox of techniques, and to keep teaching.
What do you do? Since I started my business as a freelancer in 2007, I’ve been open to saying yes. I’ve had fun and learned a variety of skills. I’ve written a welding blog, edited books, done social media marketing for a sports park, designed ads for a chimney business, built websites for an auto tuning shop and a dentist, done voiceovers, taught tech classes, provided one-on-one computer trainings, consulted on marketing for manufacturers and service companies, and even did a little acting and hand modelling!
Today I’m happy to have found the work that is most satisfying to me. I’m writing a book on communication at work. Speaking to businesses, at conferences, and teaching at technical colleges are still a few of my favorite things.
What are you most proud of? Though I certainly have my crazy moments, I’m proud that I’ve been able to create a life that allows me to work part-time, volunteer, and be home with my family as much as possible. Doing work that I love is just a bonus. I’ll never wish that I worked more, and I don’t want to regret not seeing my son grow up. I wouldn’t say I’m fully “balanced,” but I’m proud that I am focused on my personal priorities.
Do you feel that your personality trait has helped you achieve your goals?Determination to never miss a mortgage payment was my initial motivator. Today I’m determined to do the things I’ve always wanted to, like helping people and writing a book.
What advice do you have for introverts who are worried about chasing their dreams? Focus on what you do have and what you can do. Most introverts are self-aware. Awareness coupled with patience and practice are the ingredients for making any change required.
I tell the best advice I received for starting my own business in acceptance of my Entrepreneur of the Year Award. You can watch the speech here