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Breaking the Shyness Barrier

by bevbarnes on May 16, 2013

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I was so shy as a kid that teachers sent me on errands during class time so that I would talk to other teachers.

I was so shy as a kid that I don’t remember talking (except in my head) until I was 11.

I was so shy that the boy I had a crush on all through high school (that I’d never spoken to btw) wrote in my yearbook “You are probably very nice but we’ve never spoken so I don’t know”.   I’m not kidding about this.

Being shy was my private agony. I had really good close friends who explained to me that other people just didn’t know me because I was so shy.

I dreamed of ridding myself of the discomfort, emotional pain and the noise in my head. When you are shy you are talking ALL THE TIME – in your head, about YOURSELF. It’s like a constant diatribe from your inner lizard, that inner critic that is with you 24/7. It speaks so loudly that it drowns you out and you have no idea what to say to other people.

I spent most of my youth saying nothing. Observing people. Being bombarded by that voice in my head.

And then I got unexpectedly cured.

At 19, my mother sent me out of town to take a summer job that I’d applied for months before. I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t have another job at home. She kicked me out of the nest.

Resentfully, I left.

I ended up in a small town 200 km from home for three months. I had to find an apartment, a roommate, learn the job and adjust to small town living.

And I did it.

When the summer was over I wasn’t painfully shy anymore.

My close friends said that I was the same person as I was before except that now I showed who I was.

I’m telling you this story because as a Coach Mentor, I hear from so many new Life Coaches that they hate “putting themselves out there”.

They have the same emotional pain and fear about marketing as I did about being shy.

When I started my on-line business my old shyness voice raised its head again and I had to slay that dragon one more time. It was hard, but it was easier this time because of what I’ve learned.

I’ve put together some tips help you slay the shyness/marketing/letting people see you barrier. Even if you aren’t a new Life Coach, you can use these tips to help you connect to the people that you are yearning to connect with.

1. Do it. Push yourself out of the nest. You have to leave “home” to discover what is waiting for you. At a certain point you need to stop preparing to start and just go. What you don’t know, you’ll learn by doing. Being pushed out of the nest and actually leaving home, is what helped me the most in breaking the shyness barrier.

2. Figure out why you are doing this. Why are you creating a business, becoming self employed, re-inventing your life? Who do you want to help? Why is it so important? Is it just a hobby or is it a calling? What is your motivation  to do this? Are you motivated enough to connect to people that you don’t know yet?

When I took that summer job, I needed to connect to people to find a place to live. Getting unshy was a survival issue – the bottom and most critical rung of motivation from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. My motivation to have a home was more than my discomfort at connecting with strangers.

3. Focus on your People not on your Self. I learned that to lower the volume on that critical inner voice, all I needed to do was ask people questions. I didn’t need to tell people anything. I just needed to be interested in who they were. As soon as I did that, we were connected and they started to ask me questions too.

It’s the same with marketing – or as I like to call it – connecting with the people that need you. It’s not really about you.

Start connecting and communicating with your people, the ones you want to help. Once you do, people will finally be able to see who you are, and you will start to fly.

I love hearing from you. Tell me what your thoughts are about “getting out there” below in the comments.

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