Why You Don't Have to be Lucious Lyon to Build an Empire...

By Justine Perry (@justine_perry)

I am naturally shy. I’m never the life of the party, and I find it difficult to speak out in big groups, especially when among outgoing characters. I’ve also been self-employed for four years.


I'm constantly told I’m not outwardly confident enough to be successful in the business world, a place where I regularly need to attend meetings and networking events to create sales. Some people have even claimed I’m not ruthless enough to succeed in life in general.


I have never agreed with this. But amid all the criticism, I sometimes wonder if they’re right and I just can’t admit this. It’s not hard to find successful people who are outwardly confident.


A close friend said she has often lost out at job interviews to people less qualified and less competent, because the other applicants had more charisma. This theme continues into reality television and even fiction. BBC Apprentice candidates never get far in the competition if they’re ‘nice.’ And the brilliantly brutal Lucious Lyon rules the music industry in TV drama Empire.

Empire’s Lucious Lyon, portrayed by Terrence Howard


I work as a lyricist in an industry where musicians, such as Leona Lewis, have faced ongoing criticism. Journalists and radio hosts have bombarded Leona with the accusation that she’s too ‘nice’ for the industry. Errr… She’s released five UK Top-Twenty albums!

Too nice for the music industry? Leona Lewis


I’m writing this article to tell introverted musicians and entrepreneurs that you are awesome EXACTLY as you are, and just as capable of success as anyone else. Here’s why…


I did a course in Emotional Management with the Peak brain-training app. When discussing emotional control, the course teaches that the human brain has three types; the ‘animal type’, which does whatever it takes to survive, the ‘rational, enlightened type,’ which aims to do what is right by yourself and others, and finally the ‘responsible manager type,’ which takes the final decision on how to act in any given situation. Studies have shown that individuals with ‘responsible manager types’ capable of keeping the ‘animal type’ under control are more likely to lead happy and successful lives. Therefore, being moral and conscious of other people’s feelings has merit when it comes to both personal joy and professional success.


Get your brain in shape! I love Peak


Furthermore, I've attended many workshops in start-up business training. In these workshops, the group is usually asked what they expect from businesses as a customer. Words such as honesty, integrity, reliability, helpfulness and loyalty come up time and time again. You can build a brand your customers know, trust, and recommend, simply by being a kind and reliable individual who goes the extra mile.


I met a woman at a business workshop who stumbled on her words when describing her wedding dress business. Her mind frequently went blank and she didn’t sell her service on words alone. However, she came across as dedicated, professional and kind. I would have requested a further meeting to discuss designs on the spot, if I were engaged and in the market for a wedding dress (which unfortunately I’m not!)


I’m not denying that it helps to deliver a terrific sales pitch, and this is something you can improve with practice. But if you really struggle with this, don’t let it hold you back. Being you is often enough! If you want to improve your public speaking, this book by Otegha Uwagba has an entire chapter dedicated to the subject. 


I love this book because it’s small but mighty. It’s quick to read, but packs a punch. Find it on Amazon US *here. And Amazon UK *here.


Many introverts (and extroverts) are prone to self-doubt. Sometimes I barely even notice my inner-voice being so self-critical. I’m learning to replace negative thoughts with positive. For example, “I’m a failure” can be changed to, "I’m slowly achieving my ambitions by setting manageable goals." Always keep your positive affirmations in the present tense (even when describing something you haven’t started doing yet!) Also use the first person (I or me.) Keep your phrases entirely positive; never begin a statement with "I don’t." It might help to make a poster, writing your positive thoughts down in bright colours. Pin this on your bedroom wall so you can make a habit of repeating these phrases to yourself.


Now I’m learning to believe in myself, I can easily brush away negative comments made by other people about my skills and abilities. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I’m @justine_perry on Twitter and Instagram. I’ll leave you with a quote.


“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.”

~ Henry Ford

How to Write Memorable Songs... Even if You Struggle with Lyric Writing​


If you want to improve your lyrics, hone your editing skills, or find reliable co-writers, this quiz is for you. Answer 4 questions about your writing process, and I send you feedback based on your answers.


*Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the link(s). I only recommend products that I believe to be helpful and useful. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. 

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Photography by Patrick Shanahan (www.shanahanphotos.com) & Katariina Jarvinen (www.lighttrick.co.uk)

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