When I was young I didn’t know my power. I was shy and retreated from people. I had a fear of intimacy. I now know you can be shy but still grow to become confident. Do you want to know how you can do that?
I remember that when I was a teenager I found it hard to connect. I clearly remember going on stage at the Saturday morning cinema to mime to a pop song. It took enormous courage for me to do that.
Other kids booed and threw sweets at me so the manager came onstage and stopped me. I could have died at that moment. It was many years before I put myself in the public eye again.
Many years later I was President of the International Association of Lighting Designers. I had to present the annual lighting awards on stage to one thousand people. Not only did I do it but I really enjoyed it.
Something had changed in the meantime. I had learned how to become more social. I had learned how to be present and focused.
Looking back at my shift I can see what changed. I went through a process of understanding and accepting myself.
I can identify five simple steps that you need to go through to change.
1. Accept your shyness and embrace it
If you pretend that everything’s ok you will never move on. Realise that things are not normal. People’s natural state is to communicate and connect. If you are inarticulate then accept that change is necessary.
Shyness is a fear of people. Accept that you need to overcome any fear of intimacy. You need to join other people in having fun and living.
2. Understand its causes and see that it isn’t you
I always remember the incident on stage and see that as a reason for me becoming one of the shy guys. I had installed a belief that to show myself was to be ridiculed.
When you identify events like this in your life you will see that they are not about you. They are about your imagination of how others see you. They are about other people projecting their fears on you.
3. Envision how you would like to be and define the gap
Now you can identify how you would like to be. Understand what your desires are for the future. Identify how you would like to be seen. Create a vision for your future.
Having the vision firmly in mind see the gap between now, in your shyness, and the future, in your vision. Make a plan on how to bridge that gap.
4. Find your full potential and determine to live through what you are inside
To bridge the gap you need to harness the resources you have inside. Understand what your full potential is and live it.
Inside you have all the emotions and qualities that you will ever need. Believe that and use them.
5. Enjoy your new found freedom and let awkwardness go
Once you experience this new freedom you can let your awkwardness go. You now know how to overcome shyness. You know how to live and enjoy yourself.
Understand that you need not be disabled socially and emotionally because of awkwardness.
“My first language was shy. It’s only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness.”
You can overcome fear and be social by living to your full potential.
If you want to go deeper into this my friend Keith Blakemore-Noble works specifically in this area. You can reach him at “The Confidence Geek”
—Photo Sukanto Debnath/Flickr