Reaching out to people felt near impossible because I felt uncomfortable initiating conversation.
I was young (and awkward).
My reserved and shy nature made it hard for me to build my confidence.
I didn’t want to share anything on social media.
I hated the phrases “Go out there”, “Just talk to people”, and last but not least, “Don’t be shy!”
Alas, there had to be another way.
There had to be a way where shy, introverted people like me could succeed too.
But being shy and introverted didn’t mean I could stay comfortable and complacent in my own little bubble.
So I got out of my chair and started attending events around the city that I found interesting. I just wanted to be an observer in the crowds.
One night, I found myself at a lecture hall listening to an amazing photographer talk about her career.
At the end of the presentation was Q&A.
I desperately wanted to ask if I could work with her (something I almost never, ever, ever do at large presentations is ask questions because I’d be much more comfortable being hidden in the crowds).
I was nervous.
I was anxious.
I was so shy that I let everyone else go in front of me so that I could prolong my waiting time in line.
Finally, one of the event organizers realized I was silently waiting around while everyone went home.
The crowd was now 4-5 people, much smaller than it was just half an hour ago.
As soon as I checked the time on my phone, I felt 2 strong hands behind my back.
A force so strong that it propelled me forward several steps until I was inches away from knocking over the presenter herself.
I was pushed (literally) towards an opportunity in front of me.
It was my turn to go out there, talk to people, and not be shy.
So I did it.
I asked my question, got a yes, and can now talk about that small but impactful moment in my life.
In all of this, I realized that the antidote to my own shyness was the very thing I felt uncomfortable doing.
AKA, going out there, talking to people, and trying to be less shy.
I still hated it, but it did the trick for me.
If you’re anything like me and want to shed your shyness, I hope you’ll do something that discomforts you.