If you’re shy – you’re in good company. A lot of people are. Take actor Will Ferrell. He once considered himself painfully shy – so he’d do crazy things in public to try to beat it. In college, he’d push an overhead projector across campus with his pants hanging so low that people could see his rear end. Then his friends would encourage people to make fun of him – and that’s how he got over being shy.
Now, you don’t have to go to extreme measures like Will Ferrell did to get over your shyness. But if your timid nature interferes with your productivity at the office, you need to take action. So, here are some tips that’ll help from Psychology Today.
- Figure out what you’re avoiding. Let’s say you need to confront someone in the office and it fills you with anxiety. Perhaps a coworker keeps yapping on their cell phone and it distracts you. According to Peter Desberg, author of Speaking Scared, Sounding Good, weigh the cost of NOT confronting them. If every interruption takes up to 15 minutes to recover from, and they yap just once an hour on their phone, that’s as much as 2 hours of lost work time per day you BOTH lose. When you consider it in these terms, you OWE it to yourself – and the company – to say something.
- Put your boss on your same level. Or anyone else who intimidates you. In reality, everybody’s the same – no matter whether they make more money or have more power than you. Everybody was once a kid, everybody has insecurities, everybody has problems. So see people for who they really are – vulnerable, flawed, and just like you. Once you feel that you’re on the same level, they won’t have that emotional power over you.
- Set goals that are UNDER your control. Let’s say you’re applying for a NEW job. Write down the things about it that make you nervous. Then concentrate on the things you can CONTROL – such as how you describe your accomplishments, and what makes you the best candidate for the job. Then tackle each issue. For example, you might practice giving a mock presentation to a friend. After you do that enough and you start to feel confident about selling yourself, your fears will disappear.