For many people, introversion can be a badge of shame. Attributes such as quiet or shy are looked down upon as weaker characteristics. They’re certainly not the qualities possessed by successful entrepreneurs. Oh, but that’s where our natural instincts can be wrong.
Introverted founders and CEOs have become more of a reality as people have started to explore what characteristics make up ideal entrepreneurs. There have even been new designations to classify people who fall into both the introvert and extrovert categories—people Daniel Pink likes to refer to as ambiverts (2:00).
Mashell Carissimi, founder of JMC Electrical Contractor, LLC, was the opposite of what anyone would describe as outgoing.
“I didn’t even drive on the expressway until I was 30 years old because I was scared to death to do that,” Mashell said.
But despite all of her fears, Mashell knew she was interested in starting her own business, and when necessity and opportunity knocked, she answered.
“I think you have to have a passion, and that passion has to override that fear, and it does help even more if you have need,” Mashell said. “In my case, we needed money, and [starting a business] was the best opportunity and way for us to get it.”
With her husband, an electrical contractor, looking for more work and the pressure to feed three children mounting, Mashell felt there was no other option. She decided to start an electrical contracting business.
Not only was she not an electrician but she was also entering a field that was male-dominated. As she recounts, it wasn’t easy. Or quick. With time though, she managed to channel her fears into a productive power that grew her company into one of Inc.’s 5000 fastest growing companies in the country.
Mashell will be the first to tell you—sometimes without fear, we can never truly reach the peaks we are meant to climb.