Dealing with Shyness.

Dealing with Shyness.

What you think of yourself is much more important than what people think of you.

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.


  • Be Aware


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.








10 Habits of Likable People.

10 Habits of Likable People.

“Spend more time smiling than frowning and more time praising than criticising” – Richard Branson

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.


In my younger years I always thought that the popular and liked people were just born with the trait. They always had people listen to them and were always surrounded by friends. They were the popular kids and always got what they wanted. They made everything look so easy. I was jealous and I felt I was born without that talent. I was always the in-between kid trying to get people to listen and like me. I was never the popular kid due to my incorrect understanding of how this worked. And by trying to get people to like me I made myself look like an idiot at times.


Now that I am older I have found that you can learn a few of the traits that will improve your situation and become the person people are drawn to. If you follow these basic but fundamental steps you will be able to achieve what you set out to do. People will be willing to help you achieve your goals. You will attract the people to you that will have positive influence in your life.


Listed are the ten basic habits of likeable people.


  1. They are grateful.


Waking up in the morning and being grateful for what you have will set the tone for the rest of the day. You may not have what you dream of yet, but you should be grateful that you are on your way. You should be grateful that you have friends and family that care about you. You should be grateful that you have a place to live. Many people are not that fortunate. Be grateful for the small things that you have. Many people are not that lucky to have what you have. No matter how little you have, there is always someone with less. Be grateful for what you have and not sad about what you do not have.


Train this into your daily routine and it will become a habit. When you wake up in the morning, think of all the things you are grateful for. Some people like to write it down, others just like to think about it. It is up to you. This will put you in a positive mood for the rest of the day. A positive mind will lead to a positive life.


  1. They Listen.


As human beings we believe that it is all about us. Listen for this when people talk to you. It is usually all about them and what they did or want to do. It is just human nature I suppose. It is just the way we are wired.


When we are in a conversation we tend to listen less to what the person is saying and focus more on what our response will be. This is not really listening. Once again we can see that we are trying to make the conversation about us.


Next time you are in a conversation, try to focus on what the person is actually saying. Focus on nothing else. This will take some practice. Then when they do stop, ask questions. It will show the other person that you are truly listening. It is a good sign of trust. People will feel comfortable talking to you and you will be in a position to make some great friends. This will separate you from most other people. And we all know how important it is to stand out from the crowd. You will gain a lot of appreciation and respect.


  1. They are not fake.


Being genuine is a key factor to being liked and respected. Nobody likes a fake. Being fake will make you look untrustworthy and sometimes just silly.


Think of when people buy stuff. When you see fake items, no one goes “OMG, look how lovely this looks. Just look at the quality”. This response is only when people look at genuine stuff. We see genuine products as quality products. We think better quality is less likely to disappoint. Same with people.


Humans are drawn to genuine people as they feel that they are trustworthy. Nobody will like a person that they do not know how they really feel.


You need to be comfortable and confident with whom you are. You should focus on what you want and what drives you. People will be drawn to your focus and dedication. Nobody will be drawn to you if you just make choices that will keep other people happy.



  1. They don’t seek attention.


There is no need to try to be this big personality to draw attention onto yourself. People will see straight through it and will push away from you. I find people like that really annoying. Some may seem impressed, but only for a while.

Think of a person in your group that always seeks attention. Think of someone you were at school at that always tried to get all the attention. Really think about it. Do you or did you like them? I sure didn’t.


Being yourself, and speaking in a calm tone is just fine. Being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly and confident manner you will notice that people are more attentive to what you are saying.


Think of good leaders in the world. On occasion when they are recognized for some achievements, they tend to shift the focus to the people who helped them get there. This is a genuine gesture and the people will feel appreciated. Appreciative and humble, two adjectives that are linked to likeability.


  1. They are Consistent.


At a previous job there was this one person that was always all over the place. You could never judge what response you were going to get from the person. Mood swings were up and down as the day went on. It was a very uncomfortable situation to be in. It affected the person’s reputation and the office atmosphere. Nobody liked working with that person. It was such a shame because he was not a bad person, just inconsistent.


Being consistent is very important to being liked. People like to be able to know how you will handle a request from them. You need to be consistent in what you do no matter your mood. Your personal mood should never affect the way you treat people.


  1. Leave a Good First Impression.


We have all read somewhere that people will judge you in the first few seconds they meet you. The rest of the conversation they will find ways to justify that initial reaction.


This all comes down to your body language and how you greet them. A firm hand shake and good eye contact is a perfect start. Stand up straight and smile. It sounds simple and is actually that easy. Once you have made that positive first impression you are already in a favored position.


Take note of your body language and how you present yourself all the time. You may not be talking to a whole room but there is always someone watching. You are always on stage. First impressions happen from across the room as well.


  1. Good Body Language.


As mentioned before you need to take note of yourself and what you are presenting. Focus on your gestures and expressions.


Maintaining eye contact, uncrossing your arms and leaning in towards the person speaking are all good signs that you are listening and interested. Good body language will always attract people to you. Having a positive body language you can set the tone of the conversation.


My body language is something I always work on to improve. My one college once mentioned to me how I was able to turn a negative conversation around into something positive.


I was working in a service delivery company at the time. A disgruntled customer came up to me with a list of complaints. I kept my attitude and body language positive towards the customer. I listened to him rant on and on without changing my position. I smiled while I listened and did not say a word.

As he kept on and on he started speaking in a more relaxed tone. Just with my body language and listening he had calmed down. When he was done with his rant. I asked some questions to clarify his complaint. After that I sorted it out for him and he left smiling. A couple of days later he was back making use of our services again.


Simple things like this can make a big difference in your results.


  1. They Smile.


Imagine two people standing in front of you. One with a frown and angry expression, and the other person smiling. Which one will you choose to start a conversation with? The person smiling of course.


People tend to return your expression when you talk or meet them. When you greet people with a smile they will smile back at you. When you smile at people during a conversation they will return the favor. I am not talking about people using the subway, we all know people avoid eye contact and smiling while on the train.


This will take some practice. I started by smiling at myself in the morning and kept smiling at every chance I had. It felt a bit silly in the beginning but my overall mood did improve.

Over some time my relationships with many people improved as well. People were friendlier towards me and I met a lot of new people. People just seemed more responsive towards me.


At networking events I started making better quality connections. I could not believe that this one change was making such a positive impact on my life. Try it, it does work.


  1. They know when to Share.


Opening up to someone too soon will get you labeled as a complainer. Something you should try to avoid at all costs. Let the other person guide the conversation to when to share.


  1. They Remember Names.


Your name is an important part of what and who you are. Think of people naming streets and buildings after them. People donate tons of money so they can get their name on the entrance of a building. People take pride in their names.


So why would you think it is not important to remember someone’s name? Greeting someone by their name will leave a lasting impression with the person. You will make them feel important. And we all like to feel important. This is a great first impression.


Some people will say they are poor at remembering names. Well, you need to find a way to change that. The way I changed it is to repeat the person’s name during the conversation. By repeating it a couple of times it was easier for me to remember it.


Work on this and notice the expression on the persons face when you greet them by name after only meeting once before. This will be proof enough that this is important to people.


Follow these basic habits will get you more liked and respected in all areas of your life. People will be drawn to you and you will be remembered.

Have fun out there!


Mention one thing that attracts you to  someone.











I Smiled for a Week. This is what happened.

I Smiled for a Week. This is what happened.

“Use your smile to change the world, don’t let the world change your smile”

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

A friend of mine asked me why I smile so rarely. “Are you unhappy”, he asked? This came as a surprise to me as I always thought I smiled a lot. Truth is that I am a pretty happy person. Why would someone then tell me that I look unhappy?


This thought kept coming back to me. “Is this really true?” Can’t be. Do I really look that unhappy to the people around and how has this influenced my relationships over time? What if it were true? Maybe I do look miserable.


Then the though dawned on me that I tend to stay away from grumpy people or people who just look unhappy. When I do get in a conversation with a miserable person I always try to cut the conversation short. It is also a poor first impression in my opinion.


I started noting my feelings and expression when dealing with people. Guess what? My friend was correct. I rarely smiled enough. At work I am focused on the task at hand and dislike distractions. The way people perceive that is that I am in a bad mood. This is not my intention but that is the way it is perceived. When trying to influence people it is not my intentions that can make a defining impression but the perception of the people.


“So what can I do to fix this?” I thought to myself. How can I influence my own feelings and overall mood? Then it hit me. “Just focus on smiling as much as I can, even when I am alone.”


So this is what happened:


Day one in the morning was a bit tough. You wake up after a nigh of too little rest. I then realized it was going to be a long day with too much to do and too little time. I then remembered my idea of smiling. Looking in the mirror I started smiling to myself. I put on some music, as I got ready for the day.


Went to the gym first thing and made a point of greeting everyone with a smile. Some people kind of looked at me with a funny expression and then realized how depressed I must have looked. Most people did however greet me back with a smile. I must admit that I did feel a bit silly at first.


When I got to work I greeted my staff with smiles. Same as at the gym. Some greeted me with a weird look but most greeted me back with a smile. I kept it going as much as I could and the atmosphere was better. It was actually pretty cheerful. As the day went on my smile faded and by the end of the day I was exhausted and the last thing on my mind was a smile.


The second day was bit easier. My morning routine was the same but I felt more comfortable smiling as much as I can. I felt more energetic. By the time I got the gym I was unusually cheerful. I greeted everyone with a smile and I felt good. I did not take note of what other people’s facial expressions were as I was more focused on myself.


At work I did take note of my employees facial expressions towards me when greeted with a smile. There was definitely an improvement from the previous day. I had less to do in the office, so spent more time on the floor interacting with the staff. I was cheerful and so was the staff. More than usual. People that would normally avoid coming up to me did so with ease. I felt good leaving work.


Day three was pretty much the same but I started taking note of some drastic changes on day four.


By now the smiling during my morning routine was easy and did not feel silly anymore. By the time I got to the gym for my workout, I was all smiles. People were friendlier towards me. I met some new people and some friendships have grown from there. I also met some other business people in the community I had never met before. Just by smiling I had expanded my network.


At work things were even better. In the past I had to double-check most tasks as some individuals took short cuts. Since the workplace was now more inviting and friendlier, I have noted that the issued faced in the past was down a lot. The overall performance had increased. This couldn’t be purely from smiling, could it? I though I would not jump to conclusions just yet. Still early days.


That night I needed to go to the supermarket. Without thinking about it, I greeted people with a smile and the friendliness was returned. Usually I would dread going to a store, but this time things were better. In the past I would avoid making conversation with anyone in line. This time I joined the conversation and it was fine. Thinking about it now, I actually enjoyed it.


By day five it came more naturally. My morning routine was great. Just getting better.


The big difference was happening at work. I started enjoying it more going in. Some of my staff that had a tendency to be late was on time. I stood back a bit to oversee what was going on. People were friendlier all round. People were more supportive towards each other. This is why we were seeing better results. There was an increased atmosphere of teamwork. I did not have to check up on the staff all the time. I understand now that my attitude was affecting my employees as much as it did my personal life. Smiling really is contagious.


The weekend that followed I had some time to hang out with friends and they commented on my attitude change. I had changed that much in one week just by smiling that my friends took note.


Some comments I would like you to take from my experience. Greeting people with a smile is not asking much. Greeting someone with a smile will make you more attractive and people will be drawn to you. First impression is key.


Want to meet the cute girl at work or store. Simple. Start with a smile. Smile and be friendly. That will make her remember you. You will stand out from the crowd.


Struggling to influence people at work? Start with greeting them with a smile. Be friendly and genuine with your interest in them. This will open many doors for you.


The week I started smiling was a while ago and I wanted to keep going to ensure it was not a fluke. I firmly believe that this small change in my approach to people made a massive change in my life. Things seem easier and I am overall happier. I have no problem meeting new people. An area in my life I used to struggle with.


I have to admit that it is not easy to keep going. You have to make a conscious decision to keep going and focus on your actions. You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.


Give it a try, you will be surprised with the results.







Leading in the new world.

Leading in the new world.

“Leadership is not a position or title, it is a action and example” – Unknown

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

I have been in management and leadership positions for the most part of my life. For the last couple of years I have been dealing with more multinational and millennial teams. A younger crowd opposed to the more mature teams I have had. I realized very quickly that my normal management style was not getting the results I was used to.


We have all dealt with people we tend to call millennial’s these days. I have heard many complaints about poor service delivery and many blame that on the millennial. When you do then complain, you are made out to be the one that needs an attitude adjustment.

Please watch this video on the millennial topic.

This has become a talking point at a recent event I attended. What can we do? I have seen people just walk out of establishments due to the “no care” attitude of the staff. I have done so myself. Then the owners wonder why business is down.


Other business owners find out that they have a service delivery concern. Lucky they picked it up. Then they claim they have run out of ideas on correcting it. When I ask what they did, they state that they have been doing a lot of training but it is not working. Well, of course not. The smallest thing distract people today. Well, that and everyone think they deserve to live a life-like that crazy family on the TV. Not the Osbourne’s. The other one. I think it is the Cardigans or Kardashians. Something like that. People just feel entitled.


Very few people understand that life owes us nothing and we are all responsible for our own successes and failures. Due to silly TV shows people just feel entitled to everything. I have seen parents purchase their kids new iPhones just because they want one. This is the wrong lesson to teach your kids.

I remember at one point while I was still at school I needed some new sports equipment. I asked my dad for it and his response to that was one of the best lessons in life I could have ever learned. He just said, “You are old enough to make your own money, have fun”. This was how I learned that it is up to me to get what I want.


As times have changed, so have effective leadership skills and management tactics. I have been working on adjusting my own skills and I have seen some great results. There is actually a way to lift employee spirits and get the business to function at the level it needs to. This is what I learned.


  1. Drop the suit.

This isn’t the 80’s and you are not Donald Trump. Except if you work in finance. The days where you are all suited up and managing your business from behind your desk on the top floor is gone. Long gone. You will only get more people to dislike you and make assumptions that you are an arrogant manager. Even if you are the kindest person there, people will not be able to see it from a distance.


  1. Know your product.

I have learned from experience that when I do the training my staff tends to listen more and take note. This should not be because they are scared of you. Rather that they respect you and see you part of the team.

You need to know what needs to be done and how to get it done. Whether it is a service delivery company or a retail or product driven enterprise.


  1. Be Present.

As mentioned before you cannot run the business from behind a desk. Understandably there will be times that you have to be office bound. But you need to do your best to be on the floor and around your team members as much as you can. This will build good rapport with your team and give you the perfect opportunity to keep an eye on the final product and ensure it is up to standard.


  1. Know your staff.

Whenever you meet your staff you need to remember their names. Your team will respect you for that. Some may say that they are bad with remembering names. This is no excuse. You need to get that sorted. There are books about that.


  1. Be an Example.

You need to lead from the front. You need to be an example to your co-workers. If you are lazy around the office they will be. If you are driven and focused, your staff will be. Remember you are always on parade as the employer or leader. Once you grasp that fact, you will be aware of what you do and how you lead.



From my experience I have learned a lot about managing people from different ages and nationalities. Try my tips and build your own ways to be effective in the workplace.


We cannot always control what happens to us, but ywe can control how we react to it.

What tips do you have for new leaders out there?




Surviving the Office Party.

Surviving the Office Party.

“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day”

– Phyllis Diller

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

With the holiday season coming up I thought it is a good time to touch on this topic. We have all had to attend an office party at some point and it can really be a minefield of opportunities to jeopardize your career. It can also be the place to make some serious connections in the workplace and even lead to some great friendships.


When we look at a movie like ”Office Christmas Party” we wish our office party would end up like that. Completely out of control and then a happy ending. Reality is that it will most likely not. I have attended some parties that I was wishing I was somewhere else, and I know I am not the only one. I have also attended some office parties that I wish would never end.


Reality of the matter is that it is completely dependent on the people who attend and the general office environment.


There is nothing wrong with having some fun but I advise you to be aware of your behavior.


  1. There will be Gossip.


Only thing I can really say here is to avoid getting into conversations where anyone else is discussed. Just walk away. If someone overhears any part of the conversation it can be devastating to your reputation. Even if you were not part of the conversation you will still be associated with the conversation just due to your presence.


  1. Dress appropriately.


Dress professionally. Even though it is a party, it is still a work event. If there is a theme, stick to the theme.


  1. Keep the conversation light.


Avoid getting stuck in a deep or heated conversation. Avoid conversations about religion and especially today, politics. Keep moving around and mingle with as many people as you can. This is a great time to meet other employees that work in different departments. This can lead to some great connections at the workplace in the future.


  1. Drinking?


Pay attention to how much you are drinking. We all know our limits. You may think you are in control, but it may be different in someone else’s perspective. At the end of the day it is their perception of you that will affect your reputation.


  1. Do Attend.


You might not like the idea of attending a party with all the other employees you already spend a lot of time with. It is however a great place to network and meet the decision makers. In the long run this can be great for your career.



Last note is that it is not the worst idea to go. It might actually be fun. With a clear understanding of what pitfalls to avoid, you should build a good reputation and meet some influential people who may be able to help you in the long run.


What is your worst experience at an office party?