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“Introverts will love this practical and moving guide to building a career, network, and life you love.” – Susan Cain, author of Quiet 

From the marketing guru and host of the popular podcast Hiding in the Bathroom, a breakthrough introverts’ guide that broadens the conversation sparked by Quiet and moves away from the “Lean In” approach, offering wisdom and practical tips to help readers build strong relationships and achieve their own definition of professional success.

Most ambitious people believe that reaching the peaks of success means being on 24/7—tirelessly networking, deal-making, and keynoting conferences. This is nonsense, says Morra Aarons-Mele. As an eminent entrepreneur with a flourishing business and a self-proclaimed introvert with lots of anxieties, Morra disagrees with the notion that there’s only one successful “type”: the intense, super social, sleep-deprived mover and shaker, the person who musters endless amounts of “grit.” Hiding in the Bathroom is her antidote for everyone who is fed up with feeling like they must always “lean in”—who prefer those moments of hiding in the bathroom to constantly climbing the ladder or working the room.

Morra knows what it takes to make your mark, and now, this entrepreneur who has boosted the online strategy of clients such as the Malala Fund, President Obama, the UN Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shares the insights, tricks, and knowledge she’s learned. Filled with advice, exercises to help readers evaluate their own work/life fit and manage anxiety, valuable tools, and stories of countless successful people—entrepreneurs, academics, and novices just beginning their careers—Hiding in the Bathroom empowers professionals of all ages and levels to take control and build their own versions of success. Thoughtful and practical, it is a must-have handbook for building a fantastic, prosperous career and a balanced, happy life—on your own terms.

From the Publisher

Christine Koh interviews Morra Aarons-Mele about her book, Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home)

Christine Koh: I would imagine that anyone who has seen you speak or move through a crowd at an event would never guess that you identify as an introvert! You are tall, glamorous, well-spoken, impassioned, and accomplished yet also totally relatable!

Morra Aarons-mele: You are very kind to say that! I still always feel like I’m walking into lunch in middle school and no one wants to sit with me. But I’ve learned how to spot an opening in the conversation, and make my way. Even more important, I’ve learned when I have had enough and am allowed to leave.

CK: What’s it like to be an ambitious overachiever and also an introvert?

MA: Being an ambitious overachiever means I am always negotiating between selves. Like, I might be standing at a cocktail party with my two sides arguing, one who wants to make a beeline for the exit, and the one who knows she needs to stay and talk to colleagues. It’s a battle between what you’re intrinsically driven to accomplish and what your temperament makes you feel.

CK: You say that networking is a skill, and that you’d be 37% more successful if you liked cocktail parties. Is there truth to this? And how does one go about developing their networking skills?

MA: It might be more like 38%! In business, networks are everything, especially if you are responsible for sales or business development, as I am. But LinkedIn senior executive and current Silicon Valley tech CEO Arvind Rajan (who also used to hide in the bathroom) has another suggestion: just reframe your expectations of yourself as a leader. ‘Networking is a skill we learn just like we learn how to do Excel’, he says. ‘At some level you need to master the basics. But you’re better off playing to your strengths.’ Arvind is a skilled practitioner of cultivating leadership without pressing the flesh, and he has coped with his social anxiety through a very successful twenty-year career in Silicon Valley.

CK: What’s your best piece of advice for anyone at a party?

MA: Channel your inner Oprah! BlogHer cofounder and CEO Lisa Stone’s former career as a journalist was key to helping her learn to work a room in Silicon Valley. ‘I’ve always been that person behind the reporter’s notebook, asking other people their opinions,” she told me. “What I don’t like is the spotlight.’ If you feel alien, unworthy, shy, or nervous in a room full of powerful players, pretend you’re there to report a story. Ask people lots of questions-this is your strength as an introvert! Listen actively. Draw them out. Even the most powerful person enjoys telling their own story. You can even use it to produce content. And the truth is, when you ask people lots of questions about themselves, you’re remembered as a great conversationalist!

CK: How do you rally yourself in those moments when you just want to hide in the bathroom (or stay home in your pajamas)?

MA: I give myself a pep talk, put on my big girl panties (sorry, I’m potty training my toddler) and get out there. I need to work, I love my work, and I always feel better once I’m in the flow of it. Just because you want to hide doesn’t mean you can, or should. So I leave the house and I hustle with the best of them, and reward myself with quiet time later.

Christine Koh is the founder/editor of Boston Mamas, co-host of the Edit Your Life Show, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, and creative director at Women Online.