I never felt good about myself.
I didn't have a girlfriend in high school. (Yet every other guy did. So bummed!)
I was a latch key kid lonely for friends. (I was really good at being alone, but I didn't want to be.)
I never scored goals in junior high floor hockey class. (A major source of frustration at 13 years old.)
I purposefully walked the other way when I saw someone I knew. (A lot.)
The evidence was clear. I was introverted, shy to a fault and lacked social skill. I saw other friends thriving in all these areas. Like they somehow emerged from the womb extroverted and in control of their lives. Why didn't I feel that way?
Every time I walked the other way I'd tell myself, "oh, god, I'll have to talk to this person and what will I even have to say?"
Every time I saw a friend with a new girlfriend I'd say, "I'm just not attractive enough."
Every time I'd find myself home along I'd say, "being alone is better than being exposed."
Mindset of a self-doubter.
I learned this behavior somewhere. Scientists believe it's before 7 years old. That's when patterns are downloaded into our subsconscious minds.
It would take me years and years to free myself of these false thoughts and beliefs.
College gave me some better social skills. I didn't like learning to speak in public or working in groups, but it created a way for me to practice a new skill. It started working.
My early professional career enabled me to learn to build rapport - small talk - even though I wasn't sure what I'd even say. It worked, too, and I felt easier about meeting new people.
The core of my former professional career asked me to be a leader. That felt really uncomfortable until I realized I had something special - the ability to connect with people from the heart. An unintended outcome, leadership taught me how to empower people and to give them the energy they need to blossom.
But, it none of these changes I ever wanted to make. The "programming" of my subconscious mind was so deep, so engrained that I literally felt hot and sweaty trying to exercise these new social skills.
Thankfully I stuck with it. The fear of remaining a wallflower was enough to inspire me into action.
As one of my mentors says, change never happens unless there is enough tension and pressure. When I felt the pressure increase to uncomfortably painful levels, I changed.
The question I have for you is what do you want to change that you feel you can't? What's the risk if you don't change it?
Somewhere in the introspection of the "risk" is a bold answer. It's what inspired me to grow in unbelievably fulfilling ways. More on that soon!