Your Shyness Is Your Super Power: The Power of the Reframe

Maybe you’ve been working on being less reserved. You want to speak up more during meetings, advocate for your business, and become closely connected to the women in your circle. Each of these things can feel like a ten-mile upward hike when you are overcome by shyness. But in a journey to excellence, it’s common to become overly critical…and doing so can cause you to miss out on some of your greatest strengths.

Becoming more outgoing is a rational thing to want for yourself. Consider this, though: you can’t shame yourself for being shy until you suddenly become confident! Talking down on yourself for not getting out of your shell will just drive you further in. You know better than most that all things worth doing take hard work, and becoming Ms. Congeniality won’t happen overnight. But you’re working on yourself right now, not your dream house! You don’t have to wait until the floors are in, walls are painted, and inspection is over before you can celebrate yourself. And though it might not feel like it, you have a lot of things to celebrate yourself for. Because don’t you forget it, there’s a lot of strength in being a shy gal.

We can find the positive qualities in our insecurities while practicing another essential business skill: the powerful act of reframing things.

And what is the all-powerful reframe? When we are working on ourselves, it’s a technique that requires self-awareness, positivity, and at times a lot of patience. When we are working within our business, it’s a technique that still requires positivity and patience, but more practicality than self-awareness. At its simplest, it’s looking at the glass as half full. You take something that’s already there and find a way to make it seem more manageable, if not superb.

Practicing this technique is sure to serve you well in business. Finding a positive way to spin a hiccup can help keep investors and stakeholders dedicated to your business. And above all–finding the strengths working for you during a time of challenge will help you solve problems quickly, even when there are multiple factors working against you.

Maybe you just can’t find a way to feel good about your shyness. All you see are weaknesses. But there are strengths here! Let’s practice that all-powerful reframe. How can shyness be your superpower?

1. Excellent Comprehension Skills

Just because you aren’t the first to speak up, doesn’t mean you don’t add to the conversation. Shy people tend to be great listeners, and conversations are a two-way street! Being a good listener is essential for your business. Understanding the needs of clients or the community is a key aspect of making your stakeholders happy. Harness the power of your listening skills by listening to understand rather than to reply. Sometimes as shy gals we get so nervous about keeping the conversation going, we spend a lot of time thinking up what we want to say next. Asking open-ended questions that pertain to the topic is a great way to show that you are truly listening and interested in the person you’re speaking with, while also relieving yourself of the pressure to reply.

2. A Calculated Analyzer

You think about what you’re going to say before you say it. You make sure what you bring to the table is relevant. Being intentional is a wonderful trait for a businesswoman–it means you have the ability to be calculated. You think about what is going to happen next and consider the consequences of your actions. This will translate into your work beautifully. Making sure each part of your business plan is intentionally aligned with your mission keeps things on brand. It might also keep you from taking unnecessary risks, or making choices impulsively because you are used to deliberating things before jumping in.

3. Courageous and Bold (yes, you are!)

If there’s one thing shy gals know for sure, it’s that introducing yourself in front of a group of people takes guts! Even speaking in front of a small crowd can lead to sleepless nights or pre-meeting anxiety. But you do it, time and time again. Putting yourself out there in social situations takes a lot of courage and the ability to overcome is essential in entrepreneurship! Whether you listen to music before a conference or give yourself a “you got this, girl!” pep talk each time you walk into the break room, you’ve found ways to adapt to the circumstances. And you are a resilient, creative problem solver for doing so. Your ability to take a deep breath, control your shyness, and make an impression is going to serve you and your business well.

4. Independent Thinker

Being the shy gal in grade school meant that you spent a good amount of time on your own. And you know what, that’s okay! It means you know how to entertain, take care of, and be by yourself. This is especially helpful if you are a solopreneur, or starting to take on heavier projects on your own. Knowing how to keep on pushing even with no outside motivators is a talent. Becoming the cheerleader of your own team may inspire others to cheer you on, too.  

5. Radiating Authenticity

Introverted or soft-spoken doesn’t mean you are less than. In reality, a lot of people may see your shyness as a testament to your authenticity. And authenticity is what illustrates the passion you have for your work. Passion is what hooks stakeholders. It also highlights that you are a real, living, breathing person, and not a stone-cold inanimate business. Your realness is what will keep clients coming back. Beyond that? We all know the saying fake it ‘till you make it, and a lot of shy gals out there are working hard at portraying confidence. Have your colleagues or network see you in all your glory, owning your shyness and accepting who you are, is a good reminder to all that success is not one-size-fits-all. You can be shy, soft-spoken, and victorious.

Wanting to become more confident and extroverted is a reasonable goal, and even wanting to grow so badly that you may go a bit overboard with the criticism can be reframed as a good thing. At the end of the day, looking at a situation and wondering what we could have done differently and what we hope to do next time means we are dedicated to being the best version of ourselves. But when we become overly condemning, we lose a piece of our authentic selves in the process and risk shame instead of growth. There is strength in your shyness, be patient with yourself as you grow!

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