Isn’t it fun to pass out business cards and talk to strangers?
I’m kidding, of course.
Breaking into conversations makes me feel extremely intrusive. The fear of not relating to the group, not impressing them, or just fumbling over my words are my common expectations for networking events.
The problem is that without talking to people, I’d never know what opportunities (read: benefits) can come to my life. Staying in my comfort zone only makes me feel better in the moment, but it’ll also limit the possibilities I have to grow.
Getting out of my comfort zone has brought me new work opportunities, side projects, and friendships. I’ve met a valuable list of like-minded people that continue to surprise me with how serendipitous it seems to have them in my life. It wasn’t serendipity though, it was intention.
I’m incredibly grateful that I stopped deciding to skip events at the last minute or tell myself that I’m too busy to attend. But, how did I do it?
THE SHIFT IN MY PERSPECTIVE
There are plenty of online resources about how to network successfully, and they’re a good place to start. However, to really network with confidence, it’s important to examine the internal factors rather than continuing to focus on the external ones.
When we stop thinking about things that make networking difficult, like approaching people we don’t know, we look inside ourselves. Once we do that, we notice that our full potential to connect with our colleagues is blocked by inner barriers, like doubt, fear, and anxiety.
Anxiety is a tool that we need for survival. It took millions of years for our brains to develop this response, and for good reason. It did this to protect us from threats like wild animal attacks and other dangerous situations.
We need anxiety the same way a car or a house needs an alarm: to alert us when there’s danger.
The term social anxiety refers to nervousness in social situations, and everyone has it in varying degrees. It serves an essential function in our lives. It makes us more aware of those we care about and helps us nurture our social connections.
So why does that alarm sometimes make our social lives so overwhelming?
A mix of our personality, demeanor and past stressful social experiences can set our alarm to hypersensitive mode.
Whatever the underlying cause that made your “alarm” hypersensitive, the most important thing to know is that there are effective approaches for overcoming social anxiety and increasing confidence.
FINDING THE RIGHT PATH TO CHANGE
When people face situations that make them anxious, avoidance is the most common action they take. Avoidance keeps people in their comfort zone and prevents them from experiencing the feelings of anxiety.
However, we know that avoiding uncomfortable situations also takes us further away from getting what we want, like socializing with new colleagues.
There are plenty of effective solutions that help individuals build confidence, feel less anxiety in social situations and start doing things they imagined were impossible.
Experts worldwide recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a very effective technique for overcoming anxiety in social situations.
CBT exercises empower you to understand how your mind works and build new skills to react more positively to situations that would usually cause you anxiety.
Participants of clinical studies created new brain pathways through repeated CBT practice. Rather, CBT gave them superpowers to reprogram their brains to feel more confident.
In the context of psychology, a therapist is a person who is trained and licensed to guide a patient through CBT exercises.
Finding the right therapist can often be a lengthy and challenging process. Once someone decides to see a therapist, they may not know where to begin. Moreover, lots of people think that face-to-face therapy is intimidating and can be too expensive.
Digital and self-guided approaches can also be a useful first step if you are unsure whether or not to seek further help. It is a convenient alternative if you aren’t interested in face-to-face therapy.
Research suggests digital CBT can be just as effective as having face-to-face therapy with a therapist.
These solutions are available around the clock and are easily accessible via smartphone or computer, wherever you are. Other advantages include: it’s discreet and confidential.
THE GUIDE TO HELP YOU ALONG THE WAY
Youper is a personal digital solution designed to increase confidence by overcoming anxiety in social situations. Youper re-invented Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to make it fun, interactive and engaging.
Dr. Hamilton, psychiatrist and Youper co-founder, says that building confidence and meaningful relationships can be just like climbing a challenging mountain. It requires time and dedication to reach the summit.
On your journey, think of Youper as your guide and the backpack full of tools. We make sure you reach your destination safely and successfully. You can even fit us in your pocket with our free app.