I was once asked to deliver a speech. Naturally, that meant walking up to the podium and facing a massive turnout of people staring at me so intensely. As I looked above their heads, all I could feel and sense was fear echoing in my head and dancing around in my composure. Symptoms of this fear followed, which included stammering, my mouth suddenly running drier than a desert on a sunny day, and all I could think was, “Please, could these people just stop staring and give me momentary glancing looks?” Apparently, my thoughts failed miserably at coming into a sensible existence. Shyness!
Facing your inner demons
Breaking a barrier has to do with lifting the embargo we have inadvertently placed on various cargoes; shredding off weighty skin that can make or mar what is about to be initiated. If you want to break a barrier you have to be a barrier yourself! You would have to take cognizance of the fact that you are human, who is both emotional and cognitive, and so you must choose the latter and refuse to be held back by the former. If you can get this straight first and foremost then you are on your way to controlling stage fright and the devil called timidity. ‘For there would be no ceasefire without a truce being met….’
In addition to this, get out of your comfort zone and try out that difficult task of meeting new people and getting to them deeply. Get a hold of other people’s feelings; understand them. Know and understand yourself even better. So doing, you stop whoever may wish to exploit your feelings. I think that sometimes, people see your being shy as a result of low self-esteem which might actually not be true. Some of us would be like ‘I am shy’ at every slight detail or problem we need to surmount. This kills!
Furthermore, know when to change your tone while interacting with people. You do not always have to use the ‘mom-and-dad bedroom approach’; I say so because the moment this starts whirring, instead of you getting bold, you retreat even further into yourself. Be more persuasive, persistent and consistent. Even out the odds and do the maths before spitting out words. That preparedness goes a long way too. What you say would either impress or infuriate you depending on how you say it.
Do not sabotage yourself by subverting or obstructing your mind or opportunities to grow. Consider yourself a victor and not vanquished before you step out before the masses. Let no one obstruct or persuade you to do what you do not want to say or do. Be extremely cautious of your vocabulary and try to reflect daily on every slight detail you churn out. Know your strengths and accept your flaws. Impress yourself and not others. I believe this way you are a step away from breaking that barrier.
Lastly, avoid erroneous comments and chipping in stuff that unnerve you. Maybe jokes, riddles can do too, to draw your audience even closer. With this, your audience will discern you really know what you are up for or against, and they would be more inclined to listen. Be bold, and any setbacks you encounter in the process should be a chance for an even greater comeback.
Written by Lamina Ifeoluwa, a medical student at Olabisi Onabanjo University.