It’s essential in entrepreneurship to create opportunities, go for what you desire, and be willing to take risks. But not everyone feels confident to speak up or be seen and heard in certain business situations.
We all have areas that we find easy, and others we don’t. You may have ease telling your fighting kids to cut it out, take charge and make sure you are heard and that your message is received. But at work, you may find it much harder to speak up in a tense business meeting, or voice your differing opinion to a large team of people. Or maybe you love connecting with clients and customers, but when it comes to making a presentation or speech at an event, it’s all sweaty palms, panic and the desire to just disappear.
What does it take to overcome those moments or areas where you feel hesitant, or not capable of speaking up authentically? With some simple tools, you can begin to outshine your shyness to have your voice in any part of business:
Stop believing your stories: Most people can tell you at least one bad experience they’ve had in business where they choked up, dropped the ball, or were not well received for sharing their ideas, opinions or for offering their unique perspective. The problem begins when you hold onto that story and replay that experience like a song on a loop over and over, influencing the choices you make in the future. Sometimes the loop has been playing so long, it becomes second nature, and we don’t hear how judgmental or negative we are actually being against ourselves. Pay attention to your thoughts. Every time that negative loop starts playing, choose to hit the “stop” button and change the song. The more you are willing to be aware of the thoughts you use against yourself, you can begin to take charge and not let them be the significant influence in your mind.
Replace judgment with gratitude: In place of the negative thoughts and judgments, you have been using to keep shyness in play, start acknowledging you. Where do you have ease and confidence that you haven’t acknowledged? What are you grateful for about you? Give yourself kinder inner feedback. Gratitude is an excellent antidote to judgment. When you have a moment of true gratitude and acknowledgement for you, it’s impossible to judge you at the same time. The less you judge you or give time and energy to fears and other negative mind-chatter, the less reason you will have to hide yourself in the quiet, comfort zone of not speaking up. Get into practice of having gratitude and enable it to grow until it becomes a regular, consistent part of your day, replacing self-doubts and criticisms with more empowering thoughts.
Imagine the worst-case scenario: This may seem a counterintuitive move, but sometimes letting your mind fully indulge in the worst-case scenario can make you realize how ridiculous your fears can be. What’s the worst that could happen if you spoke up? Would you make a fool of yourself? Get laughed out of your job, out of town, have to run away and start over where no one knows your name? In reality, it’s more likely that you won’t even mess up, or if you do, people will either not notice, or appreciate your vulnerability and willingness to make mistakes. If you are willing to speak up, and not judge you, whether it’s good, bad, right or wrong, you become very attractive to people and they will seek you out because you are being an authentic and real voice that is very different most people around them.
Get in the driver's seat: If you are in business, then deep down you already know where you want to go and it’s time to stop pretending that being in the passenger seat and waiting for others to lead the way forward is enough for you, or all that you are capable of. Connect back in with your unique voice, don’t assume others know more than you, and trust what your inner GPS is telling you. Ask questions every day the empower you to take the lead: “What am I aware of here that others may not be?” “What do I know about this?” “What do I know is possible that I have never acknowledged?” Then take action – even if that means speaking up and stretching beyond your comfort zone.
Overcoming shyness to speak and act authentically becomes easy when you don’t allow any point of view, judgment or doubt to become more significant than you. What are you capable of that you have never acknowledged? Stop listening to your negative stories, have gratitude for you, empower you and trust you, and shyness will hold no power over you in any situation.
Norma Forastiere is a business mentor, natural therapist and certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs, including Right Voice for You, Joy of Business, Being You, and Access Bars®. A self-proclaimed seeker, Norma began practicing mediation at an early age and then went on to study metaphysics and several energy healing and natural therapy modalities. A native Portuguese speaker with a proficiency in English and Spanish, Norma offers workshops and consultations for those willing to explore greater possibilities in life, communication and business.