How to Go From Incredibly Shy to Insanely Confident So Your Business Can Thrive
Embody intrinsic confidence and spark new levels of growth in your company.
When I ask my clients the question, "What are the five words that best describe the man or woman you want to step into and embody?" The number one answer that stands out beyond the rest is "confident." "Loving" comes second, with "successful," "happy" and "compassionate" also coming in the top five.
Being shy really held me back in my business. I would get so far, making enough to pay my bills, but I wasn't creating the kind of impact I wanted. When it came to doing the things that I needed to break through to the next level, I would shy away. There was always a little voice of doubt that stopped me. My performance levels were low, but I knew I was capable of more.
I played it safe, and that created frustration and a vicious cycle that I couldn't seem to break. Deep down, I knew that my confidence was the issue, but I couldn't put my finger on what I needed to do. People thought that I was confident, but there were many times when I would sneak out of events because the anxiety got to be too much. If I was asked to go on video, I would come up with an excuse not to even though I knew it would help my business.
Extrinsic vs. intrinsic confidence
Radical honesty is an important stage of finally starting to be grounded in calm confidence. Social media is the playground for those who present confidence on the outside, but it's clear that what is happening behind the scenes is not a representation of true confidence, especially when you meet them in person. I was like this: I had a Ferrari, a mansion and expensive watches, but in reality it was all a way for me to seek validation becuase I didn't feel good enough inside and needed to be validated by "things." This is extrinsic confidence and often described as "material success." Intrinsic confidence is when we use the power within us to take action that isn't stopped by fear. Fear may exist, but we notice it and still move forward.
When I went through a breakup, I soothed that emotionally challenging event by going "external" — buying another supercar and moving into a bigger home. Unfortunately, if we don't break this cycle, then it will continue. If entrepreneurs lacking in self-love and intrinsic confidence start to make a lot of money, often what happens is they end up losing their way, becoming addicted not only to the purchases, but also to the attention that those bring. It's a good start to write down all of the ways that you use "extrinsic confidence" to make yourself feel better. This self-awareness is key.
Identifying the cause of extrinsic confidence
For me, bullying was the root cause of my extrinsic confidence. At a young age, I was ostracized by a teacher at school, and that led me to be bullied in my early teens. This then caused me to start to isolate myself, and I'm a firm believer that this is what shifted me to "introvert" because prior to these events, I can remember being completely different.
In working with many entrepreneurs, when procrastination hits and someone expresses that he or she is shy, my first step is always to discover the "turning point event." Through a timeline exercise, and sometimes using meditation (because we tend to want to shove that moment down), we identify the moment when the original shift in energy happened.
Put simply, life is going normally, and then something happens to interrupt that energy in the body, and we don't recover. Using the traffic-light system, we go from "Green" energy to "Red" energy, and sadly many stay trapped here.
When one of my clients was struggling to get her real-estate business moving, I discovered that at a very early age, she had been bullied by two girls. She had not recovered from that event and found herself frozen in situations that others would normally take action on. Many don't realize that they get financially stuck when energy is stuck, and this realization is monumental for those who have spent most of their lives struggling to get to "the next level." We go from feeling like our finances are on thermostat "hold," and suddenly this gets released.
The difference in performance levels is hugely impacted when we activate and sustain intrinsic confidence, and you will start to notice a lot of new opportunities naturally open up when you start to change your internal dialogue.
Resolving the event from the past
Once I've identified the event from the past, I need the inner child to come to "resolve" what happened so that the nervous system relaxes from fight or flight. At the moment that the event happened, energy was trapped, and now I release this energy by taking them through a process called "The Healing Room." In this room, we face the event from the past (it doesn't matter how long ago), and stay in the room until the event is "cleared."
An example would be a father leaving when someone was young; the energy was trapped from the loss. We go into the room and see, hear and feel what we needed to feel at the time to get our power back. Sometimes this means saying something we didn't say, feeling something we didn't feel or seeing something we needed to see.
When this happens, the body relaxes. Typically, what can happen after this is a cathartic release, and now that the trapped energy is free, people start taking action the following day like they haven't in years.
Other factors that play into intrinsic confidence
While trapped energy does play a factor in most cases, sometimes changes can come in other ways, but in most cases, courage will play a major factor in gaining important momentum. Lack of confidence puts us into a cycle of inaction that keeps us in a repetitive lifestyle loop. We do pretty much the same thing every day, and life gets mundane. It's important to start to make small changes that can build up over time.
All of my clients start a meditation process that builds up from 10 minutes to 60 minutes over six weeks, and this is a critical element of intrinsic motivation because we start to connect with our true self, which is the foundation for calm, authentic confidence.
If you want to embody confidence that's real, raw and based on your true self, the first step is to get honest and make a power move that breaks your current cycle of behavior. That will be tough, sometimes scary, until it's not.
In the words of Ray Bradbury, “Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor