People who know me today have no idea how shy and reserved I was throughout my early years. Life being what it is, I was invited to learn how to act as if I was not shy in certain situations, enabling me to thrive while others looked on. Now, no one could imagine my being shy, though I am still that shy young man inside, I am able to carry myself as though I am not.
If you’re like me, there is hope for you, too. Keep in mind that being shy is not a bad thing. In fact, just like these massively successful shy people, it can be your superpower. Like these celebrities, learning how to harness your presence in a way to not let your shyness hinder your potential is of great benefit in all that you do.
First of all, you have to understand that people who are looking at you are not as critical as you might think (this is a common misconception among shy people). While no one is suggesting that you not be shy at all, you will gain much self esteem and confidence from being able to master your shyness so that others need not even think that you are a shy person.
This gives you great confidence in challenging circumstances, and while you may have said, “Oh, I could never do that,” in the past, as you become more adept at controlling your public persona, you will find many opportunities unfolding before you as you hone your skills. Things that may have seemed impossible before, now are worth considering as potential possibilities.
This will take a degree of concerted effort on your part, just like I had to do, but know that it is so worth it.
Here are 7 techniques you can practice on how to overcome shyness:
1. Feel Great
Every morning, as soon as you get up, get in front of a mirror and say out loud, “I feel great! I feel great! I feel great!” Repeat this affirmation with enthusiasm at least ten times every day until it’s ingrained into your subconscious mind. If you feel a little self conscious to begin with lock yourself in the bathroom. The results will amaze you.
2. Look the Part
Look your best. Dress up more often. This gives you an extra feeling of confidence and self esteem. Feel good about yourself. On its own, just knowing that you look good will boost your confidence and reinforce with those who see you in your day to day life, there are things about you that are worth getting to know.
3. Act the Part
We’re all pretty good at putting on our individual cloak of invisibility. I use a modeling technique where I put on an invisible cloak of the personality traits that I need to have for the situation at hand. I think of it as if I was hired as an actor to act out a part in front of cameras and/or a live audience. Before I go on stage, I simply don my cloak of the character I will be playing and proceed to play the part to the best of my ability. When I am finished, I can put the cloak away (which may be after the event, off-camera, depending on the circumstance) and re-charge myself from any stress or strain that may have been subdued during my performance.
4. Take Risks
Take a risk at least once a day. I encouraged my friends to dare me to do something they were afraid to do. It’s very invigorating and conquering fears by taking risks helps you grow in confidence and self esteem. Start with small risks and fears and as you overcome them move onto bigger things. There’s nothing you cannot do. Be confident in knowing that change can only help you grow, and boost your self confidence.
5. Consider Disclosure
When you are engaged in a one to one conversation, or with a larger group of people, let them know that you’re shy. This prevents them from misreading you and they are far more likely to invite you into the conversation rather than leave you just listening and wishing you could contribute.
Many people, me included, find following a conversation in a noisy room difficult. If you are having difficulty – say so – and move so that you can hear. People respect honesty, and vulnerability and you will attract more honest people into your life as a result.
If you are finding yourself uncomfortable in a public speaking-type of venue, just announce that you are uncomfortable and inexperienced in the beginning and ask for people to consider not judging too harshly because you are so passionate, you want to share your message regardless of your public presentation expertise. They will honor your ability to take on such a challenge and listen more intently.
6. Reject Fear of Rejection
Rejection is a fact of life that everyone experiences. It is rarely you that is being rejected. If you are rejected, for example if you ask someone for a date, remember that everyone has different likes and dislikes. You may be attracted to one type of person and not others. The same applies to other people and you are probably just not their type. That does not devalue you in any way. Accept this and know that you will get over it. Never take it personally and keep in mind that if people reject you it is because of their own likes and dislikes and not because of whom you are. You are equally entitled to reject others because of your likes and dislikes.
7. Take Action
Engage in activities that make you feel excited and good about yourself or start a hobby that gives you a feeling of relaxation. This could be anything from gardening to Tai Chi to Karate. Take some lessons, dance, learn or master a musical instrument or take singing lessons.
Volunteer for activities that you feel like you’re just too shy to consider. Practice, practice, practice. Do something that excites you and may feel a little risky.
Exploring things that you are passionate about or give you a sense of excitement is a great antidote for shyness.