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The Big 3 (brand, business & leadership) Blog

Overcoming shyness

The other day I was in the City meeting a friend, who was delayed in traffic.  By the time she got there I was engrossed in conversation with a group next to me.  After exchanging cards with one of my new acquaintances and moving to sit with my friend I noticed that she seemed a little pensive.  Soon she confessed that, had she been the one waiting, she would have been uncomfortable.  Rather than make new contacts, she assured me that she’d have buried herself in the newspaper she always carries around for exactly such occasions.

In essence, my friend admitted that she was extremely shy, which sparked a long conversation on the subject.

If you can relate to my friend, then think about the situations in which you consider yourself “shy”.  According to Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, shyness has three components:

  • Excessive Self-Consciousness – you are overly self-conscious, particularly in social situations;


  • Excessive Negative Self-Evaluation – you have a tendency to view yourself negative; and/or


  • Excessive Negative Self-Preoccupation – you tend to concentrate on all the possible mistakes you might be making when with others.


If you are shy, whether your shyness encompasses one (or all) of these components, the only way to begin overcoming it is to quit focusing on yourself and instead focus on the other person.  When you start thinking about making others feel comfortable (and appreciated and important), then you automatically begin feeling more comfortable yourself. 

If interested, check out my previous post on this topic. Further, several chapters in my Juggling the Big 3 for Lawyers addresses issues of gaining both confidence and charisma.

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