This year has been a big year for me. In many ways.
I have always been a very shy and nervous person when it comes to meeting new people or new situations. This mainly stems from a major fear of being judged or making a complete fool out of myself. I know I am not the only person that feels this way either, everyone has moments that make them second guess themselves. For a Public Relations student, this is kind of rare. I would confidently say most of my peers are very outgoing and don’t mind meeting new people or jumping into new situations. I am the complete opposite, I have a hard time putting myself out there or talking to new people. However…this year has been a positive growing experience for me. For example, I am currently writing this in a local Starbucks BY MYSELF. A year ago today, I wouldn’t have even left the house alone because of the fear of “the unknown”. I was too scared to go do homework alone because I didn’t want to be judged or do something weird (which I always do even when I am with people…so I should get over that). But, ladies and gents, I am here alone and having a good time being alone. BOOM, GROWING! If you relate to this you should know, I learned a lot from school experiences as well as a new book I am reading. Majority of the inspiration for this post came from Girl, Stop apologizing by Rachel Hollis. This book has been a game changer.
I have experienced a lot of growth this semester. I planned an entire event with zero budget, less than three months to do it, and while having 15,000 other things due for school at the same time. Luckily, I had a group that helped with a lot and we pulled off a pretty cool event, or at least I think it was cool. This “project” was for an event planning class and boy… did it challenge me! I didn’t get the nice introduction of how to be “social” with actual professionals. I got an extremely stressful introduction that went something like:
“WE HAVE LESS THAN THREE MONTHS TO PLAN A LEGIT EVENT… NOW GO!”
Surprisingly, instead of hiding behind other people I decided to step up and do as much as I could. This was the spark that started a rollercoaster of new feelings. The shy and immature 16-year-old me (read my “20 things I have learned before turning 20” post and this will make sense) was desperately trying to get out. But, I stood tall and told myself to suck it up, buttercup. If I want to be in Public Relations then I need to learn how to take charge and communicate with strangers without fear holding me back. Rachel Hollis said in her new book that we use a hand full of excuses to not go after our dreams and be the best version of ourselves. I have used pretty much all 9 excuses she discussed!
These are things I have learned that work for me when I need a confidence boost or am facing a new situation. I try to remember that I am always learning and growing, I will have bad days and good days. But these help me over-come everyday fears:
1. Forget about being judged
This is so, so, SO freaking hard for me to remember. I still catch myself asking others for permission on things I want and trying to force approval from them to get the reaction I want. I was terrified to start this blog and I still catch myself trying to hide it from people I know. If I love this blog, why am I hiding it? If someone judges me then that’s their opinion of having a blog, not of me. I can’t control their opinion so I am not going to let it control what I want. You also don’t need permission from others for dreams you have. This won’t be dramatic overnight change, you have to find how to be your own kind of confident. I am still working on this everyday.
2. Stop underestimating yourself
I can’t even think of all the times I have been too nervous to send an email or a text to someone new because I was worried of messing up or looking dumb. I usually try not to take on new things because of a fear of failure. This year, this has not been the case! The only time you could fail is if you don’t try. I understand putting yourself out there is new and unpredictable but it shouldn’t scare you from taking charge. I always go for the easy tasks and underestimate what I can handle. This semester I have learned, I CAN HANDLE A LOT. I never thought I would be good enough to get the co-op position I wanted, but I did! Underestimating yourself is just as bad as not trying.
3. Remember your success and use that to keep your growth going
I had a goal to start going to the gym more this school year. It was really hard to organize school, work, gym, and friends, but I feel so accomplished that I have been able to juggle everything! I know I still have a long way to go until I am a “professional student” but this semester I felt like I had my stuff together! I felt like I was more organized and was really able to handle whatever life threw at me while still focusing on my goals. Being fit and healthy was a goal for me, I am seeing positive change in myself because of how hard I worked towards this goal! I remember the success I see and reach everyday because it will help me in the future when I doubt myself. I now know what I want for myself, what I can handle (and can’t handle), and what I need to do to reach my goals, that in itself is how I push myself to over-come my fears.
I know what I want for myself, what I can handle, and what I need to do to reach my goals, that in itself is how I continue to push myself to over-come my fears.
I hope you can use this to be more confident and overcome any fears you have! Being shy is not a permanent trait, there are things you can do and tell yourself to over-come your fears. As you face new situations and mature, you will start to come out of your shell more. I am so happy that I can see positive change in myself and I love who I am turning into. I hope it continues because I have a lot of plans for my future!