You may be an extra-ordinary performer at work, but if you are not good at social skills you will not go very far. Getting good at social skills becomes difficult when you don’t know how to overcome shyness at work. Shyness is a form of programming. You were not born shy. You learned the habits and you grew up in such environment, that the product of your childhood made you shy.
Now you don’t have any idea how to overcome shyness. But you are not alone. There are many who suffer from shyness at work and they with diligence and persistence effort overcome shyness. You can too. That’s why we brought this article to you so that you can learn through and through about why you feel shy, what are triggers of being shy, how shyness stops you from becoming the best version of yourself and ultimately how you can overcome shyness.
We will cover it all. Just sit back, relax, and grab a pen and paper. If you can, take some notes. Let’s overcome shyness together, right away.
Why you feel shy?
So, here’s the golden question and if you can answer it rightly, half of your problems will go away just like vapour. Let’s see how where your shyness comes from. We strongly recommend that you think through and have a pen and paper as you go along reading this article. The purpose is to go to the root of the problems and find out the actual reason.
Here are possible hints.
- You suffer from shyness because maybe you have had a very difficult or insecure childhood. Go back to your childhood and find out 3 stories that you still make you feel emotional. Have you ever bullied by anyone? Have you ever called by any names in childhood? Have your parents or relatives or teachers told you that you are shy, dumb, stupid or not good enough. Trace back to your childhood and find out any clue which you can relate to your shyness now. If you find something, write it down.
- You may have always told yourself that you are a bit shy. Since the beginning of your awareness, you have been calling yourself shy. If that’s the truth, shyness is your second nature by now.
- It may so happen that you have still been suffering from some childhood trauma which doesn’t let you express yourself completely. You feel confined within guilt and if you feel like doing anything new, you get caught by guilt for your past again and again and as a result you keep expressing yourself as a shy person.
The hints we gave is just to make you aware that shyness is not a disease. It’s a by-product of one or more of your limited beliefs. Think about the ideas we gave above and ponder. Does something come in mind? Use the following questionnaire to go to the root of the root –
- What exactly do you feel when you feel shyness?
- What is the one thing that stops you from becoming the highest version of yourself?
- What is the worst thing you remember as a child when you were growing up?
- How do you define yourself?
- What one thing that has to happen right away to be able to sweep away all your shyness from your personality?
No, we are not talking about any magic bullet. Rather we are talking about the thing that bothers you most is not shyness, but what you hide behind that camouflage of shyness. You need to find that out before you do anything else. Sit back, take some time and do some soul searching. Once you get to the root of the root, you will understand that shyness can’t be overcome and shyness can be thrown away like a worn out cloth.
Now if you have been from shyness for all your adult life, you would be able to point out when you get triggered to exercise shyness. You may frown and say that – “but I am not doing it deliberately, it naturally happens!” Do you remember how you learned to drive a bicycle? When you started it was hard. Someone has to keep you balanced from behind so that you don’t fall down and break your bones. And then you practiced and practiced. After few mishaps and few adjustments, now it’s automatic. You don’t need to worry about sitting on your bicycle and drive.
It is similar with your shyness. Even if you don’t realize this, you have practiced being shy at few key areas in life and then now it’s automatic. What we want you to do is to find out the social triggers that makes you feel more shy. For example –
- You have gone to a party and there you are and no-one is talking to you. You feel really boring and you don’t want to stay there for long. Seems familiar? Consider the next one.
- You are in a meeting. It is a professional event. But even if you have prepared for the meeting, you don’t want to open your mouth because a lot of speakers are already presenting great and you don’t want to feel a clown among them. Again, makes sense? Consider the next one.
- You are sitting with the interviewer and you are not able to look directly into her eyes while speaking. You are looking at her and putting down your eyes on your shoes again and again and again.
These things are not triggers. What happened before these events are! For example, take the interview scenario. You are not being able to look into the eyes of the interviewer while speaking. What is the reason behind that? Just before you speak, you told yourself that you are not good enough or you don’t know whether you are saying right or maybe you don’t have slightest idea how to speak confidently in front of the interviewer. No matter what it is, you need to understand the issue and deal with it right away. It’s not the shyness but what you tell yourself before you feel shy makes all the difference.
How shyness stops you from becoming the best version of yourself?
Even if shyness is just a by-product, it causes a lot of troubles. First of all, you don’t feel confident in all the situations, meaning you feel awkward to even be in the mid of a crowd. Second, you are not able to express yourself completely. Third, you miss out on meeting a lot of people who can make you become an extra-ordinary person (have you heard about the power of association!).
All these things happen to you because you feel shy to overcome them. Now why you feel shy and why you talk to yourself like that in social gathering? The first and foremost thing is you feel inferior about yourself amid the entire crowd. You don’t feel important enough and you don’t have any interesting thing to share. Actually it’s just a façade, it’s not real. You are not at all inferior to anyone of the people present in the gathering. And you have ideas to share. But because you feel inferior and you think yourself too less that you don’t come out of this typical habit.
Let us ask you a simple question – “What’s the pay off?”
You may wonder that you might be having a pay-off in being shy. But it’s true. If you don’t have a pay-off in being shy or if you have better pay-offs in not being shy, you will not exercise the habit of shyness. You will be jovial. You will meet new people. And you will talk to them about your ideas even if the ideas seem silly.
Write down your pay-offs. Most people don’t realise this. But if they can go deep and find out the return they are getting by remaining shy, they can think themselves out of their shyness by conscious effort.
How you can overcome shyness?
No, there is no quick fix. But you can do the following things right away to feel more powerful. Ready? Let’s get started.
- Go beyond your comfort zone. You don’t to be like you always used to be. Change your roles. If you are never speaking up in gathering, start speaking. Even if you speak a word that would do. Just start. And you will be on your way to overcome shyness.
- Decide to do one thing that you fear in social gathering. It can be as little as saying hello to the peer you have never talked about before or felt shy talking to. Just do one small thing that scares you and you are done for the day. Over time you would see that you would be able to do some amazing things which a shy person can never think of.
- Get to know yourself better. Every now and then go on a self-date. Read a great book, have a cup of coffee and eat dinner at your favourite restaurant or else you can sit on your bed with a questionnaire answering who you are and what you want to become. No matter what you do, you need to be comfortable in your skin to be able to be comfortable with others in social settings.
- Start talking to strangers. It can be as silly as asking them about the time. Go out on a holiday. Don’t wear a watch or carry a phone (or put it in your pocket). Pick any stranger and ask her about what it is. If you become shy in front of opposite sex, try this out with three strangers in a day. See how it feels. Say thank you and smile.
- Ask questions if you are in a gathering. It’s a great way to know people and strike a conversation. And thus you would be able to overcome your shyness.
- Don’t try to overcome your shyness forever. Take one incident at a time. Talk to yourself – “I won’t feel shy in this situation.” And that’s all. If you talk to yourself before going into a situation, you will always overcome shyness. The key is to take one event at a time and be master of that event instead of trying to focus too much on forever.
- Start a small talk in a gathering. Go to a party and look around. Don’t just stand or play with your smart phone. Find someone who is standing alone. Go and strike a conversation. It may feel awkward in the beginning. But eventually it will feel amazing. Simply start with – “Hi, I am _________. What brought you here?” or say “Hi, I am __________.” You may think that what the other person may feel about it. But the other person will feel awesome. Here’s why. Imagine yourself standing in a party. You are standing alone and you are about to pull out your mobile from your pocket and someone comes up to you and says – “Hi, I am this,” wouldn’t you feel wonderful? Definitely yes. It will improve your social skill and will also help you deal with shyness.
- Shyness is actually a wrong perception of situation. If you criticize yourself too much, most probably you will end up being a shy person. You criticize yourself for two basic reasons. First, you were criticized too much for anything you did in your childhood. Second, you didn’t achieve much in your life till now. We can’t do much about the first. But if we take action on the second, we will be able to overcome the first eventually. Every day before you go to sleep, write down 5 things you accomplished that day. It can be a tough conversation with your boss, a project you have completed or you completed reading an article. No matter what it is, take note. Taking note will remind you that you are achieving a lot more than you are realizing and that single exercise will make a huge difference in your self-esteem.
Overcoming shyness is not a rocket science. All you need to do is to be aware of the roots of shyness, the pay-offs of being shy and the self-talk you use before you go into any situation. Take care of these and you will reach a new level in your professional and personal life.