When it comes to sensitivity, much of the focus is on reducing overstimulation from the environment. Often we view experiencing things so vividly as something to protect ourselves from. It’s not unusual for me to find myself battling bright lights, visually busy environments, and grating sounds.
But although sensitive people go through a lot to dial things down, there is an advantage to absorbing so much information from the external world, especially when it comes to business and doing entrepreneurship.
The existence of highly sensitive entrepreneurs may sound a bit unexpected because the work of entrepreneurship isn’t always associated with sensitivity. However sensitive people often turn to creating their own businesses so they can set their own schedule and work in a way that is in harmony with their neurodiversity, much like people with ADHD and dyslexia.
And often highly sensitive people are effective at doing business on their terms. When it comes to starting and running a business, sensitive people have the advantage of being “Zoomed In.”
We see the details
In her book Divergent Minds, Jenara Nerenberg describes her sensitivity as being like a camera that is “zoomed in” all the time.
I appreciate this description because it’s right on with how I experience the world as a sensitive person. So many things are zoomed in. In my mind, my home is always a mess because I see the dust in the corners, or I focus on the pile in the sink, completely forgetting that the living room is totally fine and that the massive pile of dishes isn’t nearly as big as I imagine. The entire house isn’t a mess, just the one area that I’m zoomed in on is a mess.
This “zoomed in” view is how I interact with my external environment. I see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and experience things in much more detail. Sometimes that can be aggravating and overwhelming. Things that others take for granted can look huge to me.
But, in business, this is a gift.
When it comes to creating products to help others, noticing the details means higher quality. Sensitive people are capable of making high-quality things right at the start because we see everything and can’t un-see it even if we wish we could.
The result is that what we do and create is imbued with feelings of care and attention. This is so important in a world that is so focused on thoughtless mass production and speed.
We see things differently
When using a microscope or even the macro setting on a camera, the world looks very different. In the same way, as a sensitive person, the way I experience the world is different.
One day I was feeling a little cold due to my temperature sensitivity. I complained to my husband about it and he was like, “It’s like you live in a completely different dimension.”
And I was like, “Yeah, you’re totally right.” Sensitive people do live in a different dimension from the rest of the population – a different sensory dimension. So since our view of the world is unique, we have different and unusual things to bring to our businesses, be it through an original sense of creativity or showing extra care in an area that most take for granted.
This leads to creating products and services that consider things from new angles and that stand out from the crowd. The business space is very competitive, but when you bring your special twist to things, you don’t have to be more flashy or louder to be heard.
Customers see you because you stand out from what’s already out there.
We see what’s missing
Being aware of so many details can be distracting, but looking at things from the flip side, sensitives see things that others tend to miss. When you zoom in on something, you see little things that are usually overlooked. It’s like the difference between seeing someone’s face in general and seeing the details that make up their face: the smile lines, the faded scars, and the worry lines in their forehead. The details give a ton of subtle information – information that others may be slow to pick up on.
Many entrepreneurs dream of creating things that people didn’t know they needed. When an entrepreneur pulls this off, not only do they make things that are exciting and new, but also helpful.
Sensitive people have an edge in this area because of their “zoomed in” way of experiencing the world. When your eyes are stuck on the details, it’s easy to see what’s missing.
As a writer, I thrive on noticing what’s missing. Often when I read books, I can’t help noticing what the writer has overlooked in their treatment of a subject. This often inspires me to write books to address what has been missing in what I read.
So as a highly sensitive person, pay attention to the gaps you perceive in the world you live in. Those could be the windows to a unique business that allows you to create items and experiences that people didn’t know that they need.
In short, highly sensitive people can be skilled business owners. Their heightened awareness makes them more sensitive to the needs of others, customer trends, and what’s missing in their field of interest. Also, they bring to business an individualized point of view which can give their businesses an attractive personal flair.
So if you’re a sensitive person with a desire to start your own business, go for it! You may be surprised by what an effect you can have. For more about sensitive people and business, I highly recommend reading this interview with Dr. Elaine Aron, the author of The Highly Sensitive Person. I found her insights on sensitive people and business empowering.
Does anything in this article resonate with you? If so, feel free to reach out via Twitter or Email. I would love to know what you think!