“Building confidence in yourself helps you develop the right mindset to master life’s challenges, opening the floodgates for an outpouring of opportunities to make enduring connections”
If the thought of interacting with others sometimes takes you out of your Comfort Zone, you’re not alone. Most people are susceptible to moments of self-doubt. Nothing is more excruciating than being ready to seize the moment and ending up losing out on an opportunity because your confidence falters under pressure.
If you find making comfortable connections with others is a breeze, you might want to skip ahead. However, even to the supremely confident, certain situations might inspire cold feet, a knot in your stomach, or at the very least, a bead or two of perspiration: entering a room full of strangers, dining with a prominent dignitary, delivering a presentation to a roomful of potential clients, or protecting your personal boundaries when others overstep them.
Even after a connection has been established, those pesky “maintenance issues” can arise, requiring a shield of confidence for masterful handling. Ashadow of doubt crossing your mind can erode your confidence. Flooded with emotions ranging from slight apprehension to a full-fledged anxiety attack, you begin to doubt your social or professional prowess, which can significantly diminish your effectiveness.
Unfortunately, even momentary bouts of timidity have an impact. Negative thoughts can take control of your behavior and steer you in directions you don’t want to go. Consequences ripple down the years, causing exponential damage to your future. Fearful of meeting new people or tackling new adventures or taking the lead on a project because you might make a mistake, you hold back, limiting your prospects for achieving the life of your dreams.
Building confidence is an essential building block to a dynamic destiny. Shaky self-esteem is a roadblock that can steer a promising future and promising relationships off course. If you find yourself stuck at a roadblock on the path to success, courage is the driving force to move beyond it. Courage is the energy that fuels your “connect-ability” and propels you upward and forward, determining the trajectory of your life.
Fortunately, courage also has a multiplying effect. When we meet life courageously, we learn to appreciate our skills and what we can offer others. We begin to relish the prospect of meeting new people, broadening our social and professional horizons, eagerly seeking new challenges on which to exercise our talent. We feel better about ourselves, more pleased with our increasingly confident self-image. Every success brings out a new luster in us, and reminds us of our glowing possibilities. Yet without some strategies to shore us up when our confidence does take a beating, self-doubt can take root. When you’re feeling insecure, it’s difficult to think about connecting with new people, let alone connecting meaningfully. Because anxiety also has a multiplying effect, each time you pull back, unable to extend yourself toward the unexplored horizon, you jettison another opportunity. Since each opportunity is potentially rich with other possibilities, withdrawing means you might be limiting a whole chain of opportunities.
Shyness is a learned response, made up of a combination of attitudinal, emotional, behavioral, and physical responses that work together to protect you from the unknown. You learned many of these behaviors when you were young, or in a distant past that has long since faded from view. Your life has changed dramatically since then, as have your strengths, skills, abilities, and your unique worldview. If you underesti- mate your rich storehouse of gifts, talents, and capabilities – in effect, if you withhold your treasures – you lose out and so do those around you. With some practice, a focus on courage, and a firm commitment to increasing your “connect-ability” skills, you can replace undesirable behaviors with a new code of conduct. With a little determination and careful application of the steps and strategies in this book, you can turn your own personal Comfort Zone into an authentic and thriving Connection Zone.
We know that by bolstering your confidence, you’ll be better positioned to share your unique gifts and special qualities with the world. We want to make sure that you especially connect with those people who can make a difference in your life. Equally important, we want you to remember and embrace the enormous value you can bring to the lives of others, simply by reaching out and being present in their lives.
Woody Allen said that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” Though simple, this is a formula you can apply for the whole of your life. Our prescription is that you “show up” with the intention of reaching out, interacting, and connecting with the people in your circle of influence. The greatest contribution you can give the world is the gift of your wisdom, radiance, and personal presence.
We work with many people who are uncertain as to how all this “relationship- building” stuff works. Our methodology begins with a simple truth that may help clarify the matter: everyone wants to shine, and sometimes all any of us needs is a little more polish to radiate absolute brilliance.