Don't be shy! Overcoming Shyness!

SarguImage via Wikipedia
As my grandfather once said, "The secret of life is learning to make a fool of yourself gracefully." James Redfield "The Celestine Vision"

Shyness is sometimes known as social phobia or social anxiety disorder.  But whatever the name, lots of us know the feeling.

Shy people may only fear one specific kind of situation - say speaking in public.  But others may be troubled by a whole range of different situations. For example;
  • Having to perform  stage
  • Dealing with authority figures like doctors or headmasters
  • Eating and drinking in public
  • Writing an important and formal letter
  • Meeting up with the opposite sex and dating
  • Going to parties and other social events
Shy people feel sure that other people are going to judge them and find them lacking in some way.  They think they will feel embarrassed or humiliated and that others expect them to behave perfectly.  Shy people expect and look for negative reactions in others and often miss positive signs.

Where does shyness come from
The roots of shyness are complex – research suggests that partly it could be inherited, but then family behaviour and later negative experiences play a part. Shyness tends to begin in childhood or adolescence. According to the World Psychiatric Association (1995), roughly 40% of social phobias begin before the age of 10 and 95% start before the age of 20.

What can you do about it?
Well first of all you can overcome shyness!  Here are some things to try
  1. Start by building up your overall self confidence – there are lots of resources on-line to help you – here is a link to our own Confidence Coach
  2. Have a goal and a project to meet new people – try speaking to one new person each day at work or near your home.  
  3. Smile and show a real interest in the people you meet – you’d be surprised how grateful they will be.
  4. Start doing some voluntary work in your community, it is a great way to meet new people while you know you are doing something worthwhile for others.
  5. Use a relaxation technique when you are face with a situation that makes you anxious – you can find one here at this link.  
  6. Before each event that might be troublesome, form a picture in your mind of the occasion being a great success for you.  Make that picture really strong and colourful in your mind - hear the sounds, smell the coffee.  The more often you do this, the more successful it becomes. 
If these tips don’t work, then please consider working with a coach or therapist.  Please don’t let shyness limit your ability to be successful in life and to be happy.

If you have overcome shyness, please share your tips with others here in the form of comments.  We are wating to hear from you.
    I do my thing and you do your thing
    I am not in this world to live up to your expectations
    And you are not in this world to live up to mine
    You are you and I am I
    And if by chance we find each other
    It is beautiful
    Frederick Perls´ Gestalt prayer

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach with an interest in leadership and in change - both personal (career and life out side of work) and within organizations. You can email her at this link or ring ++44(0)2084610114 


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