Shy? 4 Ways You Can Ditch the Anxiety & Go Wild
I have been engaged in a battle with shyness since adolescent awkwardness arrived on my doorstep. And I’d like to consider myself a success story.
That’s not to say I never feel anxious about social situations, but I certainly know how to rein it in.
1. DO SOMETHING THAT TERRIFIES YOU
Now this is the scariest way to tackle it, but I also found it has worked best for me. As a 16 year old who was terrified to talk to most people, I got a job as a waitress. I was so far out of my comfort zone it almost caused me physical pain, but gosh did it work. It ended up being the MOST FUN, and to this day, if I had to walk back onto the restaurant floor and start earning tips again I’d enjoy every minute of it.
Then, once I’d settled into that, I did it again. I got a job where I had to stand up in front of big groups of (different) people every week and lead workshops. By myself. If I thought starting out as a waitress was terrifying, I had a SHOCK. But holy cheese this ended up being the best thing I ever did. And I could do it, and so could you. You just need to take that leap of faith and pour your heart and soul into it. The first 10 minutes might be the most galling thing you have to do but the buzz you get & the confidence boost will be more than worth it. I promise.
Do it, and keep doing it. It will be the best thing you can do for yourself.
WORK YOUR TERRITORY
I may sound like a feral cat but I am beyond territorial. Once I’ve settled into a place, whether it be a workplace, a coffee shop I’ve been sitting in every day for a month or an event space that I’m familiar with, I know I will be at the top of my game when I’m there. Use your animalistic territorial nature to your favour – need to meet a terrifying client? Trying to hook up with some business folk for networking? Arranging a meet up for new mums? Bear in mind places where you will feel at your most comfortable.
This is more of a work around than actually facing your shyness, but a great way to ease yourself into a scary situation is to buddy up.
Can you take a guest? Great, pick someone who you feel comfortable with, preferably a social butterfly but even if you’re taking a shy guy (or girl) it eliminates the worry that you’ll end up standing by yourself.
If not – do you have a connection with someone else who’s going to an event? Tweet them and arrange to meet up for a drink first so you can arrive together.
Neither of those applicable? You can still make it work a little bit. Find someone you can relate to who’s also on the guest list and go out of your way to make that connection in the lead up to the event. Drop them an email, introduce yourself, tell them you’re looking forward to meeting them, you will have someone to make a beeline for and hopefully a great relationship will blossom.
BUILD YOUR ALTER EGO
This is an idea I had in my head but I’d never really put it into practice until I’d had a conversation with the vibrant Emily Fisher. We were chatting after a (relatively terrifying) event we’d been to about overcoming anxiety and getting out there, and Emily said the way she deals with it is by creating a character she wants to put out there and just being that person.
Now as Emily’s ‘colleague’ I can grasp that and apply it to myself. We both have brands that are entirely based on us as people – I work out the image I’d like to put out there with my brand and I embrace it. Now that’s not to say that I’m not *really* Veronica Dearly, but working out the kind of person you’d like people to see you as will never do you any harm. Considering the image you want to project can help you create some kind of loose ‘playbook’ for social situations.