One of my CDFs is confidence/boldness, but I battle daily with shyness and awkwardness in social situations. What are some ways you’d suggest I overcome my sheepish ways?
First, I want to ask, what’s wrong with being shy? Start by addressing the judgement and emotional charge around ‘shyness.’ It’s not a deficiency. It’s where you’re at. A more compassionate approach might help limber you up for both more self-love and more boldness.
And, by the way — you can be shy AND bold. I know that sounds crazy contradictory, but look at performers. Plenty of rock stars are full tilt and bold on stage, but are actually quite shy in every day life. So perhaps there are conditions and circumstances when you’re bold, and when you’re shy. And you plan for those conditions.
But I hear you — your core desired feelings are confidence / boldness. Let’s get to that.
3 IDEAS FOR GENERATING BOLDNESS
Small steps. Let’s use speaking up at a staff meeting as an ideal occasion for boldness. Just thinking about voicing your opinion in front of your peers or boss could create anxiety. Start with baby steps. In the meeting, just write your opinion down in your notebook to yourself. Next meeting, email your boss afterward. Next meeting, speak to your boss afterward. Next meeting: speak up in the actual meeting.
Not every bold person you know or see was born that way. For some of us, it’s a muscle, built over time.
Courage, not fearlessness. Being bold and confident doesn’t mean being fearless. (And fearlessness, BTW, is a myth.) You know the old saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”? That’s what boldness requires. If you wait for fear to vanish before you make the bold move, you’ll never make the bold move. Knees rattling, dry mouth, fear of rejection making your heart pound and…GO TIME! Desire boldness and self expression more than you want to stay safe.
Emulate idols of boldness. (Sounds like a Greek soap opera, Idols of Boldness.) Whose bravery or brazenness turns you on? When I used to do one-on-one strategizing with Fire Starter clients, so many women said they loved Angelina Jolie because she was so bold — sexy AND socially conscious. Maya Angelou and Oprah came up a lot. Steve Jobs — all bold in their own ways.
Sometimes, not for extended periods of time, but sometimes emulation is great soul medicine.
Who is living up to your core desired feelings? What would Angelina do? Or Lara Croft? Or Jason Bourne or Clooney or Wesley from The Princess Bride? Goddess Kali? Emulate your way into acts of boldness.
And from boldness, comes confidence.
A note on awkwardness: I’ve had enough human conversations with humans about humanity to know that vastly, sadly, people feel awkward — a lot. All of us. Successful people who feel socially awkward out of their realm of success. Extroverts who feel awkward with introverts. Confident people feeling awkward with tenderness. It happens to all of us.
When you’re feeling awkward with someone, just ask yourself, “I wonder if they’re feeling awkward, too?” We’re all in this together.
For shyness — which may be natural introvertedness, read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
Questions for your Desire Map quest? Share them HERE.