LAUNCH EFFECT

How to Be Bold for Your Next Social Event or Party

With today being New Year’s Eve, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some tips if you are going out tonight or to think about going out in the upcoming new year. This has gotten much easier and more fun for me but I can still remember back to when it felt just like I was still that little girl attending a school dance.

Not knowing what to say, what to do, who to talk to, and just feeling like everyone can see how vulnerable and out of place you are.

I’m here to tell you that you can go from shy, timid, and wanting to blend in, or to not even want to go, to getting excited and looking forward to these types of events.

You know the feeling when you first get out of a night out on the town? It is so comforting and the night starts out fun with food and television or a book (or computer), but then as the night goes on, you think about all the fun others are having.

You can see your future self liking all that stuff but not today. Today is another normal, lonely day.

It’s time to put your foot down. This is your time!

This article will help you go to your next social event with more confidence than your last. This is a skill that you can craft and improve the more you try and that is when you can really start to enjoy yourself and have more fun!

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

I Don’t Want to Be an Obnoxious Loud Mouth, Show Off.

No, that is not what we are aiming to become.  We are aiming to be ourselves, not someone we are not.

Somewhere in the distant middle is where we are headed together, with shy, timid mouse and one far end, and loud-and-acting-a-fool on the far, far other end. You will be cutting the edges off of the extremes and working your way towards the middle.

What’s in the middle?

A you that is calm, confident, funny, warm, and spontaneous with your own unique charisma and charm.

Be bold, not obnoxious.

How to Be Bold and Confident at Your Next Social Event

  1. Make a checklist of everything you need to do leading up to the event and take action.

    Nothing beats anxiety or cuts through the thoughts like action. Get all fluff out of the way. Like what to wear, who is going, how you are going to do your hair, how you are going to get there, etc. These are not all necessarily important but by procrastinating and not planning these things, you may cause yourself some unneeded anxiety right before the event.

    If you are going somewhere fancy, maybe consider Rent the Runway to rent a top notch dress to look your best. (Sorry guys, I don’t know the male counterpart to this). Shift around your hair appointment to the afternoon before an event if you can and that’s one less thing you have to do. I did this on accident one day and it gave me that little extra boost of confidence and time.

  2. Have someone to talk to.

    Go with a friend who understands you if you can. If not, then figure out who is already going and ask someone you trust if they will meet you there. Make it a goal to go up and talk to someone new or bring someone new to the conversation and don’t rely on your new friend to do all the work.

    If you still end up going completely alone, don’t panic. You are alone in many situations in life and you can make it in this social event too. Yes, errands are a bit different but make it a goal to find something interesting once you get there.

    Don’t hesitate, get out of your comfort zone and walk up to someone you know so they can introduce you to their friends.

    Walk up to a group you do not know as well and find the right moment to introduce yourself. Don’t stand there alone. Immediately walk up to this group. Ask them how they know one another and let them take the reigns and bring you into their world. Just remember, all these people are just trying to fit in too. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to physically do, but the more you focus on others, the less you will think about these things.

  3. Have something to talk about.

    Be bold and initiate new topics yourself. Lead the direction in some way by simply asking a question. People love talking about themselves and sharing their experiences when there is a prime opportunity.

    Just try this one time and see it as something you can repeat again and again. Head on out to Google Alerts and find a few topics that capture your interest. For example, if you click on Entertainment you can see what’s going on in the world of entertainment.  Sadly, a bunch of awesome people died this week so be aware of what’s going on and keep scrolling until you find something that catches your interest. Bring uplifting or interesting topics.

    You could ask if they were excited about seeing an upcoming movie coming out and how great of an actor so and so is and see where it takes you. Gear the topic somewhat to the event or keep it broad and universal. You may want to avoid talking about science at a fashion party. You get the idea. Just having a snippet of information in your head is all you need. Jump around for 5 or 10 minutes. It’s fun.

    Make polite small talk (ie what is going on in the world), compliment and become very interested in the other person. Show appreciation for their good qualities. Pay attention to their responses and keep the line of dialogue going until you can get beneath the surface. Make it a game to find something you have in common before you share much about yourself. Always put the focus back on the other person and give them the fuel to keep the conversation going.

  4. Be able to talk about yourself.

    Develop and practice an elevator pitch about yourself. I know it sounds hokey but the more you practice, the more natural you can be. Who are you to these people? What value can you bring? Be your best, confident, and sharp self because first impressions are important, whether it’s fair or not. This is not a sob story or an autobiography. Don’t ramble, just keep it short at 30 seconds or less. Get a piece of paper and consider what you do for work and what you do for fun. After you talk about yourself, remember again to put it back to the other person and ask more about them.

  5. Be on the same level.

    Focus on everyone else while realizing you are all on the same level. Don’t underestimate yourself and put other people on pedestals and expect that they are not waiting for you to fail. If they are, then that’s something more about them than you anyways and you don’t need them in your life. Get positive conversations going and as soon as the conversation starts to die down, tie it up politely and end on a positive note. Show appreciation for the conversation and tell them you’d like to talk again soon. Move on to another great conversation. Don’t look for approval from others, remember you are on the same level.

    Get out of your head and focus on everything outside yourself. Make it a point to learn one personal thing about one stranger you meet, notice details about what another person is wearing, and spend a minute focusing on wanting someone you see, a complete stranger, to be happy and in your mind wish them happiness, and notice someone who smiles at you. Have a mental checklist in your head and make it a goal to complete these things. Soak all this in as opposed to avoiding it and allow it to make you feel better about the whole event. You got out of your head and your world here, and here, and there.

  6. Steer clear of self-sabotage and perfection.

    Skip or limit alcohol and other substances that will make you not yourself or do something you would not normally do. Say positive things to yourself and separate fact from fiction. Is it a fact that everyone is looking and judging you? How do you know this? Be positive in your mind and around others. Assume the best in others and project positive energy always.

    Go into this not aiming to be perfect. If you say something that falls flat, how you handle it makes all the difference. You can’t be friends with everyone. Don’t worry about how successful you were at being likable. People don’t care. Don’t set crazy expectations on yourself or worry that you might mess up when meeting a potential soul mate or new best friend. Who needs that kind of pressure? Get your head out of the clouds and consider just having an enriching experience in the moment and walk away from the night with those feelings and how interested you became in others outside of yourself. You don’t need to measure up to anything or anyone. Life is too short and you will gain more confidence in yourself and gain respect when you no longer need it from others. Don’t seek approval outside yourself.

  7. Get into an awesome state of mind.

    Acknowledge worry, that’s ok. Don’t try to not worry in the days and hours leading up to the event. Pretending your feelings away transforms them into something even less helpful. This event will come and go quickly and another will take it’s place. Recognize this.  When you are at the event, if you get nervous, just let it happen and you will become more comfortable as you adjust and focus on being positive, uplifting, and genuine.

    Decide before the event to get into a more optimistic point of mind. Let your true self shine through.  To increase your level of calm confidence before the event, you can also exercise, write about a core value or a moment in your past that brings you confidence or gratitude, and do a wonder woman pose. Run to the restroom and do a wonder woman pose when you need a little confidence boost, just don’t let anyone see you, that would be weird. In the beginning, just remember to fake it until you make it. Smile, keep open and confident body language, use pauses for impact when you convey important points to bring them back in, make eye contact, breathe, and really listen to people.  Keep your head up and believe in yourself.

    When you get home, journal what worked and who you want to be ideally in the future. Create a vision for yourself that you can work towards.

    Have fun and Happy New Year my new friend 🙂

    How about you?

    I would love to hear whether or not you get nervous before a party and what you do to be your best self.

10 Tips For Starting Fantastic Conversations When You Are Shy

Starting conversations with strangers is hard for many people but it’s especially hard when you are shy. Outside the defined roles at work, there is a whole world of unstructured relationships out there. By being able to start conversations with strangers, you can start to open up your whole world to new experiences, new connections, new love, and new opportunities. Even if you have failed in the past, it’s time to get out there and try again.

By having a simple plan to follow, you can break out of your comfort zone and strike up that conversation and leave the rest up to chance.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by this concept.

Who do you talk to?

There are so many people. You only need to do this one person at a time.

I’ll mess up or I will be stuck talking to someone I don’t like!

The interaction doesn’t have to be with the perfect person and it doesn’t need to go perfectly either.

Instead of seeing this activity as painful process where you are in the spotlight, as an opportunity. Realize there is another person on the other side of this. It is up to them as well. See the good in people and don’t expect them to disappoint you.

It’s important to start trusting yourself as well in your relationships. See yourself as interesting, it just takes willingness and practice. I guess it all comes down to seeing relationships as something positive, as a way to build a network of love, support, caring, good times, and laughter while being your true, interesting self.

Starting conversations can be intimidating. I don’t believe I initiated any of my childhood friendships. It doesn’t have to be this way. You could have had double the relationships and maybe with people like you. I haven’t had too many shy friends and I guess that’s because I left it up to them to come find me. Make the choice to become a leader in your life.

Treat people the way you want to be treated and really get to the heart of who the real person your spending time with is. Don’t wait to be perfect or better to make friends. You are worthy of strong relationships and strong friendships wherever you are. Your real friends will care about you, flaws and all and you should care about them, flaws and all.

Starting Conversations is all about two people genuinely connecting.

Connection starts with truth. Be yourself, tell the truth, and more than anything it’s about listening, really listening to what they are say.

Here are some great tips to build a genuine connection with a conversation with anyone, one person at a time. You will not regret taking that step and you never know who you will meet and where it will lead.

1. Establish a connection. The first step is really just about not being stand-offish. Be approachable by keeping an open posture and making eye contact and of course, smile. Think upward and outward because it makes a world of difference. If you can control the environment, great music, drinking coffee or sharing an appetizer can go a long way but we don’t always have control over these things.

2. Introduce Yourself. Ok, this seems obvious but you need to introduce yourself. Say your name and ask them for theirs.

3. Build Rapport. I heard that if you subtly mirror or match the tone, expressions, and behaviors to the person you are speaking with, you will naturally gravitate to one another and you’ll both perceive it as a more positive interaction. Subtle is the key word and just don’t let it take you away from what they are saying.

4. Be Interested in Them. By this, I’m talking about paying attention, becoming absorbed in what they are saying. Really listen, imagine, and get curious. The more you do this, the more you will effortlessly. Get out of your head and start to really get to know this person. Also, it will help you connect and find that you potentially have things in common. Make learning more about them your number one priority. Want more on this? I like this podcast from Arel Moodie on The Art of Likability podcast to start conversations. Check out How to Start a Conversation with Anyone to get the conversation started naturally and How to talk to anyone to keep the conversation going. Get opinions and advise from others. Things you really want to know. Use softening statements.

5. Ask Open Ended Questions. Instead of asking “So, what do you do?” Ask if they are working on or planning anything exciting. This is more personal and less generic sounding and you are likely to get a more interesting answer that will take the conversation in a more exciting direction. Remember, it takes two. This isn’t all about you so do a lot of listening.

6. Give and Take. This is just about not oversharing. Pay attention to the other person’s response to you. If they start to wiggle in their chair or look away, maybe scale back a little. Consider what would apply to them. Too many details about your trip to grandmas will cause them to tune out. Be sure you are asking them open-ended questions when they respond and really listen. Don’t feel the need to share every relevant story you think of when it pops in your head. Self-edit yourself. Listen, share, and find a sweet spot balance. This is a two-way conversation.

7. Natural Humor. I say natural because you don’t just want to tell structured jokes. It should just flow naturally as you enjoy talking to them. Just keep the humor respectful and genuine.

8. Limit or Exclude Alcohol Entirely. There are so many reasons to not drink when you are shy and anxious but we’ll save that for another day. You want to remember the conversation and the person, you want to be yourself, and you want to be your best self, not a drunken, sloshy person (I speak from experience).

9. End the conversation on a positive note and move on. You won’t click with everyone. That’s ok. If you found something in common, maybe you could mention doing that thing sometime. Naturally grow this relationship. Exchange numbers and move on. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, then genuinely thank them for the conversation and move on to the next activity in your life.

10. Don’t Break The ChainYou will get better and better at this the more you practice. Jerry Seinfeld makes a big 365 day calendar every year and uses a big red market to make a big red x for each day he writes a joke. The idea is to not break that chain. There is a free app out there for this as well. Make a goal to have a conversation with someone every day and see how your conversations improve every day and where it leads.  Instead of having lofty goals, just start one day and one conversation at a time.

Find a direction you want for yourself. A future you want. Friendships and relationships you want, all while being your three-dimensional self. Not being held back from being your true self. Practice and become connected, comfortable, relaxed, smiling, laughing, and enjoying life around others, even around strangers.

Eventually you will feel less judged and judge others less and less. You will look back on your shy and hesitant self in a whole new light.

Do you feel a strong desire to change? Resolve that enough is finally enough. You are entitled to rich experiences and friendships. What will your relationships look like if you continue on the path you are on in one year? Five years?

What if you take a new path towards building that first relationship?

You can even become that strong person who helps other people who are shy.

What are your strategies for starting conversations?

Share your experiences in the comments below!

8 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Lifestyle Vision

Just because you are shy, socially anxious, or socially phobic, doesn’t mean you are destined to not go after your dreams like a fierce animal in pursuit of its prey. Let’s look at eight simple steps to building up your vision so nothing, not even fears will hold you back from it. Overcome or work through your shyness and anxiety towards your dreams. That’s the whole point right?

Make it so crystal clear what you are going after that achieving your vision becomes inevitable. Consider what you really want and where you hold yourself back due to fear.

Do you want to visit somewhere new? Meet your soulmate? Start to check things off that bucket list? Do you want to make friends and get ahead in the career of your dreams? The solution is building a vision and taking simple and smart actions every day. Go from waiting for things to happen to making decisions in your life.

So let’s not waste another second. Start to design your ideal lifestyle today!

1. What Top 4 Things Do You Want to Have, Be, and Do?

I’m sure you have some type of huge bucket list like I used to have. But, following the Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Workweek model, let’s move form long lists where nothing moves to Dreamlining. Set dreams that get you excited about life and then put deadlines on them. If there was nothing holding you back, what five things each you would have to have, be, and do?

Now, narrow that list down to the top four dreams to achieve in six months and twelve months. The four things that would change it all!

Also consider what is holding you back from your vision. Lewis Howes gave himself a goal of making $5,000 for a speech when it was something fearful for him and now he has turned speaking into a massively successful book, podcast, summit, and business empire.

So, what do you want to have, be, and do over the next 6 months and 1 year? Make your list. Go get it!

Need inspiration to develop your vision?:

For a copy of the Dreamlining tools:

http://fourhourworkweek.com/4-hour-workweek-tools/

Image Credits (from left to right, top to bottom): 1. Dream it, Do it; 2. Map Me There!; 3. Let’s Picnic!; 4. Camera and red nails

2. Make Visual Representations of Your Dreams.

Making your dreams visual will help them to become inevitable. Write them out as if they have already happened and take daily action. Developing a visual is very powerful. Create a pull versus a push towards your ideal lifestyle. One so powerful that nothing will get in the way. Not fears, not shyness, not doubts.

So make your vision board. This can be a 3 dimensional board or a virtual one and print along a certificate of achievement along with the deadline of your dream. There are vision board apps like Jack Canfield’s Free Vision Board App. Jack is best known from the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series.

Take it a step further and make your goal your phone and computer background images and spend time visualizing the steps you will take to make it happen every day.

Credits (from top to bottom): 1. Jack Canfield’s Free Vision Board App; 2. Free Printable Certificates; 3. Unsplash: Amy Treasure

3. What To Do: Today, Tomorrow, and the Next Day.

Maybe like me you create huge lists of things to do and then don’t take action on them at all. I have so many lists of things to do. Instead of impossible, lofty expectations, just figure out what you need to do today, tomorrow and the next day and the take that action! It can be 4 things, one for each of your 4 goals. Make it tangible and make it work for your schedule. These dreams are not going to happen on their own 🙂

What to do:

Today:

  1. Dream 1:
  2. Dream 2:
  3. Dream 3:
  4. Dream 4:

Tomorrow:

  1. Dream 1:
  2. Dream 2:
  3. Dream 3:
  4. Dream 4:

The day after tomorrow:

  1. Dream 1:
  2. Dream 2:
  3. Dream 3:
  4. Dream 4:

4. Create Away-From Motivation and Sticks.

What is more motivating, to work towards something or prevent something really bad from happening. I don’t know about you but the image my stomach hanging over my jeans is pretty motivating. The fear of sitting on the couch and never going anywhere the rest of my life horrifies me as well. Create away-from fear motivators and consequences for not achieving your dreams by their deadline.

Create an anti-vision board and pay an anti-charity like donating to the opposing political party or to a friend by the deadline. There is a site that can make that happen for you stickk.com and it’s a really fun way to involve others for massive accountability!

5. Journal Your Journey.

Journal your journey so you can enjoy it along the way. Pay attention and feel the good and the bad and document it so you can learn while pursuing your dreams. Be open and honest, this is for your growth. If you notice that something is hard, that may be a skill to learn and develop.

Image Credit: Unsplash, @calliframe

6. Implement Habits and Pursue Skills To Help You.

Think of what daily habits you can incorporate to get you closer and closer to your visions. Consider if there are skills you can learn, a class you can take, or a person who has these skills that you can learn from and spend time with them, even though this may be hard for you.

7. Get Up When You Get Knocked Down.

Get up when you fall down, and expect to fall down, it is all a part of the process. This takes practice so allow yourself to fail and dust yourself off. Start again tomorrow. Commit to yourself to acknowledge your feelings and being okay with messing up.

8. Pay It Forward and Let Us Know How It Goes!

Once you achieve your goal, you can repeat it again and again. It’s a gift you can continue to experience in your life to build your ideal lifestyle. Not it is time to truly reap the benefits by paying it forward. Share your experiences in the comments below, share this article with your friends, be their accountability partner, and subscribe below for more!

Top 100 SASSY Samurai Quotes to Overcome Social Anxiety

Become a SASSY Samurai!

You are entitled to an AMAZING life. Overcome Social Anxiety, Shyness, and whatever else is holding you back from being yourself and living a creative, bold life.

Be AWARE, ACCEPTING, and take ACTION with truth, courage, and love

    AWARENESS

      Know the Truth

  1. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”– Alice Walker.
  2. “Samurai are born to die. Death is not a curse to be avoided — but the natural end of all life. Death is not eternal . . . dishonor is.”  ― Rick Remender, Tokyo Ghost, Vol. 1: Atomic
  3. “The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” ― Shannon L. Alder
  4. “Your greatest awakening comes, when you are aware about your infinite nature.” ― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations
  5. “Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” ― Ramana Maharshi
  6. “Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself, and wait for the answer in silence. – Byron Katie
  7. “Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.” ― Osho, The Buddha Said…: Meeting the Challenge of Life’s Difficulties
  8. “Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach.
  9. “Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.” – Sonia Choquette.
  10. “The Universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

    Grow Your Courage

  11. “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn.
  12. “You will never follow your own inner voice until you clear up the doubts in your mind.” ― Roy T. Bennett
  13. “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation
  14. “Ghost Dog: In the words of the ancients, one should make his decision within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break through to the other side.”
  15. “Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weaknesses. – Madame Marie du Deffand.
  16. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin.
  17. “I am willing to put myself through anything, temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.” – Diana Nyad
  18. “Fighting isn’t all there is to the Art of War. The men who think that way, and are satisfied to have food to eat and a place to sleep, are mere vagabonds. A serious student is much more concerned with training his mind and disciplining his spirit than with developing martial skills.”  ― Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi
  19. “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” – Caroline Myss.
  20. “It’s a hard thing to explain to somebody who hasn’t felt it, but the presence of death and danger has a way of bringing you fully awake. It makes things vivid. When you’re afraid, really afraid, you see things you never saw before, you pay attention to the world. You make close friends. You become part of a tribe and you share the same blood- you give it together, you take it together.” ― Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
  21. “It’s worth making time to find the things that really stir your soul. That’s what makes you really feel alive. You have to say ‘no’ to other things you’re used to, and do it with all your heart.”
    ― Roy T. Bennett
  22. “One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go.” – Sheila Murray Bethel.
  23. “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” – Helen Keller. 

    See and Choose Love

  24. “If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” ― Leo Tolstoy, Essays, Letters and Miscellanies.
  25. “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
  26. “Earth’s crammed with heaven…But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” ― Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh.
  27. “You are never alone. You are eternally connected with everyone.” ― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations.
  28. “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” ― Maya Angelou.
  29. “The Universe contains three things that cannot be destroyed; Being, Awareness and LOVE” ― Deepak Chopra.
  30. “The true meaning of the ‘samurai’ is one who serves and adheres to the power of love.” ― Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace.
  31. “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” ― David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.
  32. Whether we love, or close our hearts to love, is a mental choice we make, every moment of every day.
  33. “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart. 

    ACCEPTANCE

    Accept the Truth

  34. You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer.” – Byron Katie.
  35. “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem.
  36. “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.”– Erma Bombeck.
  37. “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  38. “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” ― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss
  39. “Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.” ― Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m
  40. “I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me. Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.” ― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  41. “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ― Lao Tzu
  42. “Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ― Deborah Reber, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
  43. Always concentrate on how far you have come, rather than how far you have left to go. The difference in how easy it seems will amaze you. – Heidi Johnson.

    Accept with Courage

  44. “You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.” ― Stewart O’Nan, The Odds: A Love Story
  45. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
  46. “Because creative living is a path for the brave. We all know this. And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it. We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  47. “The best way is not to fight it, just go. Don’t be trying all the time to fix things. What you run from only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
  48. “It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  49. “For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  50. “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
    ― Ann Landers
  51. “Don’t confuse poor decision-making with destiny. Own your mistakes. It’s ok; we all make them. Learn from them so they can empower you!” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
  52. “Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, So what. That’s one of my favorite things to say. So what.” ― Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
  53. “Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
  54. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Accept through Love

  55. “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner. – Colette.
  56. Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get. – Ingrid Bergman.
  57. “I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.” ― C. JoyBell C.
  58. “Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.” ― Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
  59. “The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.” – Barbara De Angelis.
  60. “How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.
  61. “When you forgive, you heal your own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again. It’s like spring cleaning for your heart. – Marci Shimoff.
  62. “Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling.” ― Anthony de Mello, Awareness.
  63. “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson.
  64. “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. – Anne Frank.”

    ACTION

    Truth about Action

  65. “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”― William James
  66. “Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion.” -Oprah.
  67. “Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it. Shake things up today! Be You…Be Free…Share.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
  68. “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! – Anne Frank.
  69. “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen.
  70. “You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.” – Ethel Barrymore
  71. “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
  72. “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou.
  73. “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin.
  74. “There are two ways of spreading light. To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton.

    Courageous Action

  75. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou.
  76. “You can always die. It’s living that takes real courage.” ― Nobuhiro Watsuki
  77. “And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk more.” – Erica Jong.
  78. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” – Helen Keller.
  79. “Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
  80. “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou.
  81. “You do not need anyone’s permission to live a creative life.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
  82. “Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” ― Susan Sontag
  83. “Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble. Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents (eating the couch, digging a hole through the living room floor, biting the mailman, etc.). It has taken me years to learn this, but it does seem to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind).” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
  84. “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” ― Joss Whedon
  85. “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
  86. “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage.
  87. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking. So that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson.

    Love in Action

  88. “If one wishes to know love, one must live love, in action.” – Leo Buscaglia
  89. “We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.” – Marianne Williamson.
  90. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa.
  91. “One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Say, “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, “I appreciate you”, “I’m proud of you”…whatever you’re feeling. Send random texts, write a cute note, embrace your truth and share it…cause a smile today for someone else…and give plenty of hugs.” ― Steve Maraboli
  92. “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
  93. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” ― Joseph Campbell
  94. “Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
  95. “It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on Earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
  96. “Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?” – Caroline Myss.
  97. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman.
  98. “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’”. – Erma Bombeck.
  99. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Sally Berger
  100. “The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

*Image credit Alejandro Alvarez Unsplash.com

Do a Random Act of Kindness to Gain Time, Feelings, and Confidence

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Essential Kahlil Gibran

If you are struggling with shyness or social anxiety, it can be tough to put all that aside and do something for someone else on an everyday basis, especially for someone you don’t even know. Not to say you don’t, but it’s easy to get off track once you get stuck in your head.

This is all about doing a random act of kindness (RAOK), but this is not a goodie good post.

I’m writing this to you because I’d been very selfish. I put off being a better person until I felt ahead enough.

Making conscious choices over a long period of time will help them to become unconscious choices.

When you become more outward more often, giving and focusing on others will become a part of you and your lifestyle.

We will walk through the value of incorporating this into your life so you will know how doing random acts of kindness will improve the value of your time, help you feel more connected, and help you look outside yourself.

Be a little easier on yourself and start the cycle of giving to feel again.

These acts of kindness can impact many lives positively, but let’s address your needs first.

What about me?

You may feel you are a giving person, but you haven’t been able to get back to that because you are just trying to keep up yourself.

You might feel that you are missing out on things you need, like someone to lift you up or something you wanted for yourself.

By becoming a leader here and helping someone else, maybe even someone struggling in the same ways you struggle, you can start to get these things you need back in return.

It may not be immediate, but just start to give with that thought in mind.

Not only will you get things in return, but you’ll loosen up.

Reprogram your mind through habits and there’s no better habit than one that gives you a break from analyzing and judging.

Gain confidence by making a difference and contributing while not wanting anything in return.

What if you feel you don’t have anything to give?

I don’t have the time or the resources.

I know, you want to stop messing around and start making things happen in YOUR life.

You’re thinking you’ll have more to give once you are successful, but if you start giving you will be successful by making the difference in someone else’s day.

That’s powerful!

Even little contributions are a great way to make better use of your time because time is all about quality.

I hated the whole “let me get the door for you” interaction over the years, so it may not look like a lot to someone else, but I’ll go out of my comfort zone and see it as an opportunity to exchange kind words and make someone else’s day better.

Implement a random act of kindness each day and your priorities will start to shift around towards quality.

If you don’t know where to start and you don’t have anything to give and feel you need things first, then this is the best time to start.

Yes, you must take care of yourself, but give what is unique to you based on your resources.

This doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Compliment a stranger or buy them a coffee. Put kind sticky notes in random places for people. Write a letter to a friend or anonymously to someone hurting that you see on the news.

This is not to mean you don’t already give, but you can shift your giving around more meaning.

I already give and everywhere I turn someone wants something from me.

If you work in an office, you know what I’m talking about. Potlucks, birthdays, showers, etc., etc., etc. What gives?

Yeah, people are always asking and wanting things from you. Part of saying yes is to say no too, but when you do say yes you can mean it and feel good about it.

I tend to automate most things in my life and sadly, donations became just another bill. I was donating to a girl overseas but she left her community and no longer needed the contribution. Even though I was sad to lose my girl, I chose to use that money intentionally each month. I plugged these events into my calendar. Writing in my calendar events like “I will save an animals life through my contribution”.

You can create something to look forward to and connect with each time you give. When I was challenged to donate the backpack, I personally bought the items in the store. I thought about the person that would receive it and how they would need those things.

You will feel the difference when you are more mindful and participate more in your contributions. This is all a part of focusing outward towards the difference you can make. This can also be a secret, it can be anonymous, and you don’t have to feel obligated to do the same thing again.

Just make it personal and meaningful.

Don’t keep score or point to what’s not fair.

What does doing a random act of kindness have to do with shyness or anxiety and isn’t the act of giving to feel better about myself selfish anyways?

Oh, you analytical darling you. You are even worried about being judged for giving!

My answer to that is that getting more involved will help you break out of your head, which is where your stuck a lot of times when you’re shy and anxious. By giving, you can start to feel connection and excitement versus how successful, attractive, smart, etc. you are trying to be.

Do something nice, even if it is to selfishly look like you’re going something nice. The more you do, the more you will trust yourself and open up to do it and do it for the right reasons.

Break that wall by taking action. The more you get involved, the less you analyze the reasons and perceptions and it becomes a part of your automatic actions and it will infiltrate your day in the best way.

Through my Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness class I was reminded to do these random acts of kindness and I noticed positive changes with getting out of my shell more. I was challenged to donate a backpack filled with things someone would need to get back on their feet and to do a mock interview to someone in need of a job. These both turned into a new connection for me with the city. It created a bridge for me and it will be easier to repeat again and again.

So challenge yourself to do it a certain number of times per week. It will help you come out of your shell, interact near or from afar, and start to connect in your own way.

What’s next?

So, now that you can see that a random act of kindness, even if it appears selfish or is selfish, will help others, will help you get out of your head and take a break from judging yourself, and will eventually become easier, ingrained, and will grow in value and impact. These are great reasons to start.

Your lack of resources, how much you are already hounded, and waiting until you are more ahead socially become the very reasons to start the habit of doing a RAOK.

So keep some granola bars with dollar bills rubber banded to them as a backup, write some kind stickies, write a letter, or whatever you want.

If you do a RAOK ideas search, there are a ton more ideas. Here is a site I one used.

Taking action is vital to overcoming social anxiety and shyness and what better action to take then one that is free from needing to be perfect or shiny.

To track this new habit, you can consider a productivity type app. I use Productivity Wizard and there is a free version. You can simply plug in a number of times per week goal and track it over time. This is also what I use for goals and action planning. So get out there a start a RAOK weekly habit and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

How to Be More Humble and Interesting

Is it hard for you to accept compliments or to admit mistakes in your day?

The little overcompensation we do when we don’t know the answers. The pushing away or making excuses for the compliments we receive. It all comes down to not wanting to be judged. Not wanting to be seen as trying to be better than others or being judged for being less than others. Avoiding the spotlight and attention, those piercing eyes of judgment.

The solution to this is HUMILITY.

By incorporating humility into your life, you can start to melt away the fear of judgment and come across better to others in the process.

I don’t want them to think I’m a snob

Right now when you are complimented, you may think by accepting the compliment that others will think you think you are a big deal. Wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t care? Like many people, accepting compliments may feel counterproductive, but when you compliment someone, is that what you think about them? No, you think they are worthy of the compliment and you have to realize that so are you. Accept what they have to offer as a gift, it will deepen the relationship. The next time someone pays you a compliment, try this: look them in the eyes, clear away all other thoughts and distractions, pause, smile, say thank you, and feel the gratitude. See how different this feels. Test yourself and learn to accept these gifts.

I don’t want them to think I’m an imposter

It’s one thing to get the spotlight for something you did well, but it’s a whole other beast to get that spotlight when you did something wrong or for not knowing something. You feel like an imposter, like they finally figured out you don’t know what you’re doing or what you’re talking about. Don’t be caught in a simple lie like the Greg Focker character in Meet the Parents. Those simple lies will snowball and next you’ll find yourself spray painting a cat’s tail and saying, “Oh yeah, you can milk anything with nipples.” Be yourself, even if that means you’re a Focker, at least it’s honest and something to work with. Get in the simple habit of giving yourself no other choice. Next time you are in a situation to tell a white lie to save face, just say the truth or that you don’t know.

I don’t know where to start

Just start as who you are and where you are. Don’t say you can lift 100 pounds and set yourself up to look like a fool. Say you can lift 20 and work every day on building up to a 100. Accept yourself wherever you are because that is the only place you can build upon. This may sound like a lot of work and a little too overwhelming, but that’s just because you haven’t started. Start to flex these muscles and it will become easier, just practice consistently. Whenever I get out of my workout habit, I start over with tangible goals. If I averaged a sedentary 6000 steps per day last week then I’ll set a new daily average of 7000 until I can work my way back up to 10,000. This works when you can have some easy wins in your day to build up your confidence and your habits.

So swap overcompensation for humility. Accept praise and compliments gracefully, with open arms, and by just saying thank you. Accept your mistakes or lack of knowledge. Go from fearing judgment about being a snob or being caught for being an imposter to just being your amazing and humble self. A strong person with integrity that is working on getting stronger. People like people who are down to earth, honest, and that make mistakes like them.

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