“Believe in your Flyness. Conquer your Shyness” – Kanye West
By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.
I posted an article about dealing with shyness at networking events and it got some good feedback. I did realize that this is not the only area some people need help with their social anxiety. It is estimated that about 17 million Americans have to deal with social anxiety or a social phobia on a regular basis. This is not an issue only adults have to deal with. Kids do as well. When kids join a new school they have to try to make new friends. I remember the times I moved schools. The one thing I hated was anxiety I felt, as I knew I had to try to make new acquaintance. I found it pretty stressful.
From my experiences and with dealing with shy people at a variety of events, I have put together some ideas of what you can work on to deal with your anxiety.
Act with Confidence.
This is one thing that you will have to work on continuously. Only through action, learning and practice will you get the results you want.
As with most things in life you need to practice continuously and learn as you go along. Think of playing golf. You need to put in a lot of practice to get better results. And even when you do get better, you still need to work on it to keep that performance level. If you do take some time off from playing, next time you do play you will have poor results and you have to almost start all over again.
Practice makes perfect.
Participate in YOUR LIFE
Life is too short to worry about being rejected. And to be fair, who really cares. So next time you are at the gym, start some small talk with someone.
Sporting events are great places to start a random conversation. You already have something in common, you like sports. It is easy from there.
If you see someone you are romantically attracted to, start a conversation. Ask them on a date if you feel the timing is right. Worst-case scenario, they say no. Nothing has changed and life goes as normal.
Most important lesson here is to engage and participate in your own life.
Just Say, “YES”
Step out of your comfort zone and try something new that makes you a bit anxious. I usually suggest to people to join some sort of club. Whether it is a sports club or social club. Put yourself in a position where you can meet new people. This will help you gain confidence and your anxiety of meeting new people will fade over time.
Another great option is to take on a new task. Something that will challenge you. Get a new hobby or develop a new skill.
Challenge yourself at every opportunity you get.
Be More Talkative
Whenever an opportunity comes up where you can do a speech or presentation, take it. This will be scary at first, but this is a great way to gain confidence. It will take some practice but so does everything worth doing.
Forget what other people may be saying or thinking. This is not about them, this is all about you.
Participate in conversations and make you ideas heard.
Remember that not everyone is going to like you. And it is simply impossible to keep everyone happy. So no need to even try.
Take Note of your Body Language
Confident body language is very important. Stand up straight, make eye contact, shake hands and listen. When you do speak, speak clearly and take note of your language.
You need to be present in your own life. Be aware of your thoughts and where they lead. You need to keep a positive mind to achieve better things. You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.
When you try new things and conversations, take note of the whole experience. Learn from it and work on it. Experience your own life. Take note of the things around you that you are grateful for. There are lots of positives all around us. No need to dwell on the past and bad experiences and memories. Life is happening now.
Follow these steps and keep working at it. At the end it is only you that can make the positive changes in your life that you desire.
This is not a quick fix and will not always be easy. But the juice will be worth the squeeze.
Suggested book to read ; How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.
Tell us what you do to overcome anxiety.