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Emma-Louise Parkes Is Helping Ambitious Introverts Reach Their Full Potential. Here’s How.

An Interview With Brooke Bohinc

Emma-Louise Parkes's headshot

Meet Emma-Louise Parkes, the Founder and CEO of The Ambitious Introvert®, a personal developmental platform for ambitious introverts who want to reach their full potential.

After working in aviation for more than 20 years, Emma-Louise’s journey into entrepreneurship was unexpected. As an introvert herself, Emma-Louise experienced the gap between personal development and consulting companies’ understanding of introvertism. Her desire to bridge that gap by helping introverts successfully recharge to maximize their capacities resulted in a big career change. Emma-Louise is a living embodiment of the practices she employs with her clients, stepping outside her comfort zone and rising to the challenge of entrepreneurship.

We asked Emma-Louise about what sets The Ambitious Introvert® apart from other companies, her struggles with self-doubt , and what’s next for her and her business.

Emma-Louise Parkes with a cup sitting on a sofa

What makes The Ambitious Introvert® unique?

Introversion is highly misunderstood. Most coaching and personal development companies aimed at introverts do one of two things: they either teach them “how to be more extroverted” or help them overcome traits such as shyness or fear of public speaking. At The Ambitious Introvert®, we concentrate on what actually makes an introvert an introvert, which is the way they recharge their energy. By making this the priority, our clients are able to cultivate the self leadership, resilience, and mindset they need to achieve their (often very ambitious) goals.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? 

Not at all. It wasn’t something I even considered for most of my adult life. I spent 23 years as an employee in aviation, including 17 years as an air traffic controller, which is usually seen as a “job for life.” Growing up, no one around me had their own business. Even when I first started researching self-employment in my late 30s, I still didn’t personally know anyone who’d classify themselves as an entrepreneur. 

What’s been the hardest and most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey? 

The amount of personal growth it brings—whether you want it or not! As an entrepreneur, you’re forced outside of your comfort zone. You learn to take action without a guarantee of results, learn from feedback and mistakes, and move quickly with newly-acquired knowledge. While it’s incredibly difficult at the time, looking back now I know I’m a much stronger person for experiencing those challenges.

As an introvert, my energy is precious. So getting the right support in a timely manner is key to my long-term growth. I always advise my founder clients to outsource earlier than they think they need to."

5 women hugging and smiling

What’s the biggest misconception that others have around entrepreneurship? 

That you get to do the things you love all day, every day. While that’s likely as you build out a team, if you’re bootstrapping, the early days are often very scrappy. You must wear many hats that are far removed from your skill set. While this can be very draining, it’s also a great opportunity to really understand the different roles and processes in your company, which makes hiring much easier in the future.

Have you struggled with self-doubt as an entrepreneur? How do you navigate this? 

Absolutely. I find each level of growth stirs up doubt. Can I really do this? Is it going to work? Am I equipped to deal with it if it DOES? I remind myself that this is normal. Thoughts are just thoughts, not facts. It’s simply my brain trying to keep me safe. I don’t have to make those doubts mean anything. I can ignore them and carry on anyway.

How do you celebrate successes along the way? 

I will say this was something I had to work long and hard on because my default is to view things as not being “big enough” to celebrate. I would also see the end goal as the success, so I’d ignore the value of all the progress. 

Now, I celebrate it all! Even the tiniest win. It makes me happier, and with more experience in business, I can see how all the small wins add up to huge successes. I keep a list of celebrations—everything from taking myself out for brunch, to buying a luxe candle. I’m always sure to pause and feel the goodness right in the moment too.

Emma-Louise Parkes at the meeting

What have you learned about building a team and a support network around yourself? 

That as an introvert, my energy is precious. So getting the right support in a timely manner is key to my long-term growth. I always advise my founder clients to outsource earlier than they think they need to. I’ve been in a position where things have become busy very quickly, and I didn’t have the capacity to keep up. For your support network, make sure you have people who not only cheer for you but also challenge you. Are they willing to call you out on something if it’s for the good of you and your business? Sometimes it’s hard to read the label from inside the jar. So choose people who aren’t afraid to speak up when needed.

What’s next for you and The Ambitious Introvert®? 

We’re in talks with some amazing, aligned brands about collaboration and sponsorship. Our Quiet Power Leadership Programs are being rolled out in progressive companies this year, and we’re focussing on growing The Ambitious Introvert® Podcast to have an even greater impact on ambitious introverts worldwide.

Emma-Louise Parkes at the meeting

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