I wrote this after I got off of work today and didn’t intend to share it because it’s nothing incredibly profound, but sometimes, you just need simple reminders of things you’ve forgotten.
I’m really introverted, so speaking with people I don’t know very well or have just met on the phone or in-person is scary to me. But I also love listening to people and hearing their stories, which just so happens to be what I do for a living, so phone calls and in-person conversations with strangers are pretty inevitable.
The only thing that has made it easier is practice. When I was in college, I realized I needed to shake my anxiety about social situations if I ever wanted to be successful in my career by just facing them head-on again and again and again. Eventually, it really does get easier.
Now, I can pick up the phone and order a pizza like it’s no big deal. In college, I would have most definitely argued with my roommate extensively about who was going to make that call. Now Seamless exists, thankfully, so introverts everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief, keep calm and order pizza online.
When I was working as an assistant dance instructor in high school, my studio had this policy for correcting young dancers. We would give one compliment about something they did well, then a criticism about something they could work on and end with a compliment about something we like about them.
This way, they would be encouraged to be receptive to constructive criticism at the beginning of the conversation and encouraged to push themselves to be better by the end of the conversation.
You wouldn’t lie to them, obviously, but it would force you to not immediately focus on what they are doing wrong, but also think about two things they are doing right. At the same time, it would encourage them to think that way too.
As silly as it sounds, I’ve gotten into the same habit at work of giving myself one compliment after every interview about something I feel I did well, then thinking of something I can improve upon and finishing with one reason why I believe I am good at what I do.
Trust me, I’m aware that it’s super lame, but it really works to boost my self-confidence and help me become better at my job. I tend to beat myself up a lot because I am a perfectionist at work, but then I read an article that asked this question:
“If you treated a friend the way you treat yourself daily, would that person want to continue being friends with you?”
I thought, “NO WAY!”
Once I started rethinking my thought process, (That’s right – rethinking my thought process. Just like inception.) I watched my internal monologue shift from “I generally suck at this” to “Hey, I’m pretty good at this. But I can be better.”
That realization has been incredibly liberating for me.
Because even if you have nobody else, you still have YOU!