Squaring up to Your Shynes...
If you suffer with shyness...
Squaring up to Your Shynes...
If you suffer with shyness you're undoubtedly aware of how it can cripple your life in many ways. Moderate to extreme shyness can be classed as a social phobia. As with classic phobias where the phobic person avoids, say, lifts, a sufferer avoids social situations.
Recently I coached a woman who has always been terribly shy. She finally decided to tackle this as it was ruining her life. She'd been passed over for promotion as she didn't want o face the three-person panel of the selection process. But also there wasn't a boyfriend in sight since she wouldn't take opportunities to meet other singles. And she really wanted to meet someone to share her life with.
Following the steps below she conquered her shyness to the degree that she now embraed more of life.
Take my quick quiz to check your level of shyness:
1/ do you look down and avoid eye contact with others?
2/ do you feel "sick to your stomach" at the thought of a social situation?
3/do you get tongue tied when you speak to anyone but those closest to you?
4/ was your mother, father, or both, shy or "private" people?
5/ do you blush, stammer, or feel you can’t get the words out when having to speak to others?
6/ do you keep "yourself to yourself" at work or other situations outside of home?
7/ has being shy held you back from anything like a job promotion or meeting a potential partner?
1-2 Yes answers: Slight Shyness
It's perfectly natural to experience slight shyness. Most people dread public speaking even, say, in front of a small group of colleagues. But as shyness can worsen if you get stressed, follow the advice below to bolster yourself.
3-4 Yes answers: Potentially Significant Shyness
You’re might well be missing out on aspects of life. Yes, you’re probably coping enough to get through daily life but life could be so much better. See the advice below.
5-7 Yes answers: Significant Shyness
Life may be passing you by due to your social shyness. It doesn't have to be this way so get going on the advice below.
Seven Steps To Solve Your Shyness:
Before you take any steps to challenge your shyness remember there's nothing wrong with being a shyer, quieter person. It's only when these things affect your life negatively that you should consider building your confidence to speak up.
No one should feel judged for being the quieter one in life. Not everyone is cut out to be the ‘life and soul’ of the party. And trust me, some of those who act like the life and soul or overcompensating for shyness.
Time to get practical if you want to build your confidence to speak up...
1/ Keep a Diary –
Keeping an emotional and behavioural diary can be particularly helpful in overcoming shyness. Keep it for a week. Mark two things every time you feel shy: 1/ what sets off your shyness and 2/ what how you respond. For instance, a diary entry might show that your shyness was set off by a colleague you don't know well asking you about a report. You responded by blushing, stumbling over your words, and feeling you made an idiot of yourself.
2/ Analyse Your Diary –
Look over the past week. Can you identify any pattern when it comes to your shyness and reactions to it? Do you, say, experience more shyness at work then in shops? And what are your most common shyness responses?
3/ Challenge Yourself –
Taking the area that causes you the most difficulty, let's say work, think of ways you can challenge yourself. You need to put yourself in situations where you're actively seeking contact with others at work. Make a list of these challenges and order them from the easiest to the most difficult challenge.
Also remember to start taking opportunities to face smaller, daily challenges like speaking up at work about your favourite TV programme when people are talking about telly. Give your opinion when people are talking politics or anything else. Keep in mind your opinion is just as worthy!
4/ Tackle Your Challenges –
Beginning with the easiest challenge, make a point of doing it daily. It might be to actually stop and say Hello to a colleague rather than rushing past their desk every day. Take a moment privately to imagine yourself doing it. Visualise yourself stopping by their desk, and confidently saying something simple like, "how are things?" Or ask them if they’re going to a particular meeting. By keeping it simple you'll take small, manageable steps to break free from your shyness.
5/ Raise the Goalposts –
Once you've managed your first challenge set some fresh goals and that challenge you further. You can’t stay with the ‘baby steps’ you have to start taking some leaps! A bigger challenge might be to ask a colleague to join you at lunch, or put yourself forward to present part of the project. Don't be daunted instead practice privately taking yourself through that challenge. Again visualise yourself successfully managing the new challenge. Keep adding challenges as you go about your day. Each time you have the chance, speak to someone - even chatting to the salesgirl at your favourite make-up counter rather than refusing her help.
6/ Reward Yourself -
Breaking free of shyness takes effort and self-discipline. Keep this in mind and you’ll succeed. But your efforts deserve some reward so make sure you give yourself loads of self-praise. Remind yourself how well you're doing. Challenge any thoughts that, "it's never going to work." Definitely give yourself some little treats. And plan some fun challenges like taking up an evening class or going dancing.
7/ You're in Good Company -
Many shy people feel very alone. Nothing could be further from the truth! Next time you come across a supposedly confident person - and envy their confidence - remind yourself that inside they may feel anxious. They might’ve battled feelings of shyness, too. Accept yourself and grow your confidence where you need to in your life.
Never feel you have to you changed your essential self. But do gain the skills to get on and meet that special person, get that job promotion, whatever you've been holding yourself back from.help your confidence grow.
A similar article was published in the Express newspaper
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