Friday, January 18, 2019

5 Ways to Become More Outgoing

I have come to find that the key to "confidence," or better yet appearing outgoing, really lies in the simple matter of faking it until you make it.  It seems silly, but whether you identify as an introvert, socially awkward, a total homebody, a complete extrovert, or just somewhere in-between, I truly believe that these mindsets and labels are more or less controlled by what we have made up our mind to be or what we individually view as comfortable.

I have always been amazed at how much of an impact being personable and approachable can have in life, especially in regards to careers and relationships.  And, it seems this is only magnified as an adult.  Preface this with the simple truth that I in no way consider myself super outgoing.  As a young child, I was painfully shy and constantly in awe of my peers that could so freely put themselves out there.  But, as I have gotten older and realized the true value of a confident appearance, I have developed a few practices that continually push me to come out of my shell.  While there is no magic pill for transforming into the most social of butterflies, here are a few little tips + tricks that have worked for me:


Feeling confident starts with being you.  Be genuine with others.  Ask questions.  Listen.  Take an interest in those around you and build them up. Bond over shared experiences, good or bad. The more attention you have invested in a conversation, the less time you have to think about yourself, and consequently feeling socially awkward or analyzing the potential to say the wrong thing.  It always amazes me the relationships you can build or simple conversations that can be shared based on common life experiences or the often mind-blowing six degrees of separation theory. 


Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says "you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."  (Woah, that's intense but SO true).  You tend to become like the people you spend the most time around.  Start spending time with some of your most outgoing, confident besties and take some notes, join in their convos and above all, allow them to rub off on you.  I have some of the funniest, most bold and outgoing friends, and I adore getting to spend time soaking up their contagious energy.  


If you are anything like me, the idea of public speaking makes you cringe, hearing yourself talk on a video is an instant stomach ache, and being chosen at random from an audience is means for a full-on panic attack.  However, I've realized what a confining life this becomes.  The best way I've found to conquer these social fears is to force myself into uncomfortable situations.  While I may still occasionally get sweaty palms before a presentation or have a mild panic before public speaking,  I find completing these tasks successfully so exhilarating and the boost of self-confidence that follows inspires me to push myself further in areas of my life that I feel could still use work.  Need a starting place? Try a 30-day challenge of doing one thing a day that scares you or breaks you out of your comfort zone.  Keep a log and document each item. You'll be so impressed with how brave and strong you truly are in these kinds of uncomfortable situations.


Smile.  Smile.  SMILE.  Make eye contact.  Walk tall, with your shoulder back.  Yes, it all feels ridiculous, but I can assure you, it also makes you look approachable.  


Of all the practices I have integrated into my life in an effort to come out of my shell, this is by far the hardest for me but, when accomplished, the most freeing.  I tend to overanalyze and it is exhausting, not only for me but those closest to me as well.  It is so easy to get caught up in self-image or a fear of failing, that playing it safe often seems like the most rational option. As I have gotten older, I have found solace in the total truth that no one is going to remember the little things like I do.  They won't recall that time I misspoke during a presentation, or how nervous I appeared over cocktails at a fancy charity event.  People WILL remember the kind of person you were/are and if you made an effort.  So, let go of those fears, trust me, they do nothing but hold you back.


Like anything in life, I have found that pushing myself to become more outgoing is a continual process.  Sometimes I falter.  And, there have undoubtedly been times where I have phoned a friend to apologize for being "quiet" during a social gathering and found myself blaming feeling uncomfortable or "not knowing anyone".  But like any life skill, becoming more confident and outgoing can be achieved with the proper mindset and practice.  Trust me.

So, why of all the possible topics, did I write this as the first post of UEandtheCity?  Valid question.  Probably because this is why UEandtheCity did not exist sooner.  Uncoded Era has long served as my outlet for the obsession I have with fashion.  But, there are so many other aspects of my life that I am equally as obsessed with: my career as a creative in the cosmetics industry, my life in Nashville, my little family of two humans and too many animals to count, and our modern home.  And, I would be lying if I said there are not elements of all of those pieces of my life that I want to share because they all flow together so freely.  I chose to write about confidence and steps towards being more outgoing because that is exactly what UEandtheCity is for me; a chance to show how all my worlds collide, influence each other and inspire growth.  And, I hope it does the same for you!


- S


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