I Can See it in Others… but Me? What?

When we moved to our current town, I was convinced a few ladies I truly wanted to get to know didn’t like me. After a few months, I discovered they were perfectly willing to get to know me when I didn’t give up, and I consider them close friends now. Looking back I can see the things I saw that pushed me away were for totally different reasons than I thought.

But we can’t read each others minds. (Or if you’ve got that super power, don’t stand next to me unless you’d like to immediately crave a cup of coffee I’m probably either drinking or thinking about grabbing.)

Fast forward to the business event I attended last week. I had one of those trippy experiences. A gal told me one night that she really got the impression I didn’t like her when we met. I was quiet and standoffish because I’d been following her online and was intimidated by how amazing and super confident she was. I’m thinking, “You’re so cool!” and she’s thinking, “Michelle doesn’t like me at all.” Wow did I come across wrong!

It’s funny how that can work, isn’t it? While I’d felt that vibe from others, I never realized I was giving it off myself.

So, what’s the point? Why would I share this embarrassing confession?

1. Do someone a favor and be honest with them.

I am so glad she felt comfortable enough (after we got to know each other a bit more) that she told me how I’d come across when we met.

Between you, me, and… well, the world since I’m blogging it… A week ago I wouldn’t have been able to handle that kind of honest feedback. But one thing that kept hitting me throughout the week was that I need to get real with myself about what my problems are and what’s holding me back.

I had been reminded about a hundred times that I need to respond instead of react so I got a good chance to practice that. Instead of being offended and defending my behavior (wrong!) I acknowledged that regardless of my intentions, I have to do better than that.

2. My justifications and excuses are irrelevant and I’m letting them hold me back.

It doesn’t matter why the heck I came across poorly. There are always excuses (I was scared, exhausted, intimidated, I’m a shy person, etc.) but that doesn’t matter. What matters is fixing it. Because I’m letting who I’ve been stop me from becoming who I could be.

3. We often don’t see our real problems — or our real talents.

It’s easy to get so close to ourselves and our businesses that we see X as the problem when really it’s Y.

I tend to keep going after more information, more training, more learning and skills. But the truth is I already have a great knowledge base around blogging, websites, and the technical side of running an online business.

My real problems? I have a big confidence problem, and a discipline problem… I also had a “big picture” problem.

Identify what’s holding you back and then it can be fixed. I contacted a networking coach immediately, before I lost my nerve or wrote it off as something minor. It’s not. I’m actually quite mortified because I’d never intend to give off that vibe.

So how about you? 

If you’re a natural extrovert you might be just shaking your head here.  But introverts, I think you’ll get it.

Have you had to work through any similar challenges?

Image Credit: elwynn/StockFresh

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  1. Great article Michelle, as always I think you’re fantastic!
    Erin OBryan recently posted… Currently Reading The First Days – cuz I’m in a Zombie Kind of mood.My Profile

    1. Thanks, Erin. I appreciate that. And, always room to grow!

  2. Seems like you wrote that just for me Michelle.

    For the past 12 years, I’ve suffered with social anxiety. I’ve got a great life now. I am married to a wonderful woman and we are really great together. I have lots of “real” friends and I couldn’t be happier, but for several years, I was nothing but a recluse lounging around on the sofa all day, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. I would be either asleep, reading a book or glued to the TV and that was my life. I thank God that today, I have a much better life.

    I hope you’re having an awesome day

    Your friend across the pond

    David Verney recently posted… How To Get Connected with Twitter and Build Your Twitter TribeMy Profile

    1. Congratulations on lots of great changes, David. That’s awesome and good for you for being able to move beyond the anxiety and create a better life.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Are These Secret Fears Stopping You From Blogging?My Profile

  3. I consider myself an “introverted” extrovert ;) I am a wall flower when I am dealing with total strangers, I admit it. But I am a totally different person when we get to know each other. And I go through this regularly!

    And the worst part is not realizing what vibe you are putting out to others unless they do say something. It always takes an event like a conference or meeting for your biz or something where you are dealing with lots of people (more than 12 and not your friends LOL) for me to realize such things. It’s hard to change “being shy” and a lot of times its so intimidating with some people because of the vibe they give off, but even just introducing yourself and shaking their hand is all it takes!!!

    Thanks for sharing this, Michelle! And, please know that you are NOT the only person in the world who deals with this!!! I promise :)
    Kimberly ~ Gypsy recently posted… Quote ~ Einstein on ImaginationMy Profile

    1. I’ve always been shy. I was the one hiding under the table in elementary school. LOL I can tell you the color of the carpet in my K, 1st, and 2nd grade rooms but I don’t remember a whole lot else about the rooms. So I’ve come a long way, but still got a ways to go…

      Like you, I definitely relax more around friends. :)

      Thanks for commiserating. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Don’t Build a Website Without ThisMy Profile

  4. Great post, Michelle. It reminds me of the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” You may mean one thing or come across one way, and someone takes it differently. You’re right than honesty and communication are key. I’m still working on the “respond instead of react” skill. I’m getting better but thanks for the reminder.
    Lisa Kanarek recently posted… Would More Hours in the Day Make You More Productive?My Profile

    1. It’s a challenge sometimes, isn’t it? That one may be a continual work in progress for me. But a good skill to learn.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How Not to Waste Time on FacebookMy Profile

  5. This post is so real, Michelle!
    Just consider spinning these statements into positive: “I have a big confidence problem” – I want to be confident “and a discipline problem…” – I want to be disciplined
    It really worked for me… this is how I was able to learn how to drive! No kidding, I learned fairly recently and at a mature age :)
    And going after more and more learning is just wonderful, I am like that too. I actually love it and it makes me so happy – that’s what counts, right?
    Delia recently posted… Say “Hi!” – Be happy!My Profile

    1. I enjoy the learning too, but have to be careful not to get stuck there and forget to implement what I’ve learned. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Who Can You Serve Better?My Profile

  6. Being an INFP (working into becoming more of an INFJ), even stating my opinion in public is huge! I like to think that I’ve done much more, though — and I have learnt to create a vision for myself in order to have a destination towards which I will be heading.
    Helenee recently posted… The Best Travel Tip You’ll Ever Need updated Wed Jul 6 2011 1:20 pm CDTMy Profile

    1. I’m with you there, Helenee. We can do it though! :) Keep that vision in mind and just keep moving towards it.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How Not to Waste Time on FacebookMy Profile

  7. Great post, Michelle. It reminds me of the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” You may mean one thing or come across one way, and someone takes it differently. | :P
    ghostfighter0506 recently posted… Watch Movie Online For Free Full MovieMy Profile

  8. Michelle, you know what you said about the lady you’ve followed on line and how you thought she was so amazing and how confident she is? There are people who look up to you in that same exact way. Some of the questions I ask you or things I have you repair when I mess things up, I ask you because I have complete confidence that you know what you’re doing. You are that person! You’ve made it! You’re there! People look up to you, like myself!

    I compliment you tremendously on improving acting upon instead of reacting. We are not perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes, we all have many strengths and many weaknesses and that’s why we all need each other. They key is to love yourself for the many talents you have and all the help you give to others.

    Many years ago I was also Very shy. Didn’t know how to be the first one to speak (actually didn’t have the confidence) and was looked upon as an unfriendly person, when I really was a very friendly person, just shy and insecure.
    Rhonda Neely recently posted… Marriage Advice Column – He Can’t Enjoy Today…My Profile

  9. Many years ago I was given some advice by a wise older lady, who knew that I was quite shy (but was tactful enough not to tell me that!) – she said – always assume the person you’re in front of is feeling shy and insecure, even if it appears they aren’t, and make it your business to make the feel comfortable and included, and be interested in them! I have to say it works wonders – really helps me get out of my own way!
    And Michelle, you are SOOO knowledgeable on your core topics, and so very personable – girl you’ve gotta package that up and SELL it to folks – they’ll be snapping your hand off :-)

    Tanya Smith recently posted… Blog Your Way to More Clients – Blog Marketing Made EasyMy Profile

  10. Michelle –
    I have described myself as an extroverted introvert for years. I can get on a stage and present to 100s with no problem (must have been the tap shoes that mom put me in years ago…) but get me in a networking situation and I become awkward and uncomfortable. Our conversations in CA and after have helped me step up my game.

    So often, it is easy to think that someone does not think positively of you without any real evidence. I think that is an insecurity that many have, but we don’t realize that others do too! We also don’t often see our own strength. I’m so very glad that you are having all of these ah-ha moments and sharing them openly with everyone. That takes guts and it helps everyone know that they are not alone. Keep them coming! Your writing hits to the heart and that is where transformations happen.
    To your success!
    Stephanie LH Calahan recently posted… Do You Speak for Your Business? Then You Don’t Want to Miss This Time-Saving TrickMy Profile

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