“Hi, I’m Kimberley Dawn, it’s 2011 and I’m a scaredy-pants. I’m terrified to put myself out there and get rejected. I spend days before parties torturing myself with “what-ifs”. I have a pocketful of small talk topics at the ready, and have already pre-assessed room seating for an easy exit.”
I’m an introvert with extroverted tendencies: You can call me an ambivert. I LOVE to meet new people, but there are times when I’m just not up for it. I love to get into deep conversations, but realize small talk bridges you to the good stuff. So, what was it about new situations that got my panties in a bunch? Oh, right…
I didn’t know who I would meet, if they would like me, or if I would stick out like a sore thumb. The question is, why did ANY of this matter to me?
Because I cared; I cared TOO much about what others thought. Why? Because I wanted to be liked and accepted. Who doesn’t? But the reality was the more I pre-planned my interactions, the less authentic my conversations became, and the less likely someone saw me for who I am. It was a vicious cycle.
How did I break the cycle?
Practice! Lots of practice. I’ve compiled a list of my wannabe-extrovert and confidence tricks. I’ve used these tricks whenever I’ve needed to be outside of my comfort zone of small, intimate gatherings over vino. They work great at parties and networking events, even interviews!
Let me know how you go! Or if you have other ideas, let me know in the comments! 🙂
[One] – JUST DO IT!
Schedule your “scary thing” in the morning – first thing. You will barely have enough time to get ready and out the door, so there’s not much time to stew in your own fearful juices – so to speak.
[Two] – RELAX
If you can’t plan the timing of your event, plan your “filler time” until that point. Do something that you find outrageously fun or relaxing like a walk, or sweat it out at the gym. Do ANYTHING that puts your mind at ease for your “frightful” event. You’ll take that zen with you wherever you go.
[Three] – DOUBLE-TAKE
Check-in with yourself. is this event worth your time and energy? Explore if the fears you have are justified or just nerves. You’ll be surprised how many times it’s just nerves or even… dare I say it, EXCITEMENT!
[Four] – DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Dress up. When you look good, you feel good – about yourself, about life, about nearly everything! Take a little time to find an outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks. If you want people to like you, you need to
like LOVE yourself. People can sniff out low confidence levels. If you’re oozing it, there’s no way you’ll be left on the sidelines.
[Five] – GET YOUR ADRENALINE UP
En route, pump up the volume and boost your adrenaline with some tunes that energize you. Music has the ability to fill up your energy tank, and make you feel invincible. Be Beyoncé. You’re a survivor! ????
[Six] – SHIFT THE FOCUS
This is probably my favourite strategy of them all. Shift the focus. Point the spotlight on someone else by asking them about their lives and passions. Introverts/ambivert are attuned to the energy in a conversation and pick up on hidden meanings – people are puzzles; untapped stories (we like stories..) Put your introvert/ambivert skills to use and dazzle as the party’s top conversationalist! All without putting you and your story on display.
The best part is these tips don’t require any elaborate or unfortunate “my friend got into a car accident!” fake-outs. Embrace your inner Sheryl Sandberg and “LEAN IN!” Instead of kicking into flight mode, take a breath and lean into that fear. You got this! And be gentle with yourself. Practicing to be a social butterfly is hard work!
Introversion, extroversion and everything in between is a spectrum. It’s key to listen to what your intuition is telling you about a situation. Sometimes it’s just nerves and sometimes there’s more to it.
Take the time to check-in with yourself, run it by a friends, take care of number one. And then…
You tried, and that’s half the battle.