I have always been a shy person. My social anxieties were at their worst in secondary school when I'd sometimes go whole days without speaking to anyone (unless I had to) and would blush bright red when picked on in class. At college I was even nicknamed 'silent Laura'. But by the time I left home and started university I finally began to find my feet and open up more to new people.
Over the years my shyness has waned and I've realised that most people feel shy, they're just good at hiding it!
One thing that still gives me the fear though is speaking in front of large groups of people. So last month when I was asked to run a workshop on social media for a group of ten I began feeling a little out of my depth. What if I couldn't get through it? What if the group found it boring?! But I knew I shouldn't say no to something that could improve my skills so I agreed to it and did some preparation in the weeks leading up.
And it really wasn't so bad! The group were all lovely and although I was nervous, I got through it (tip: bring biscuits, they definitely help the learning process!). I even got an email the next day from some of them thanking me for running the session. Hurray!
The second (slightly smaller) scary thing I had on my list this week was trying out contact lenses. The first time I tried it, things didn't go so well. I had bumped into an ex boyfriend just before my appointment and was feeling a little on edge, so when the assistant attempted to put the contact into my eye I couldn't cope, and burst into tears! Almost ten years on I decided to give it another go, and this morning I actually put in the lenses all by myself, I was pretty chuffed.
In this TED talk, Dr Ivan Joseph talks about methods of boosting confidence. His first tip is to persist with things that seem scary. Anything that takes you out of your comfort zone will inevitably make you nervous but the more we put ourselves in those situations, the easier we find them. Tom is always telling me the same thing, that if something scares you, you should do it more! And he's right. Even if it's a small achievement it's still something to be proud of.
Do you ever lack confidence, which then stops you from trying something new? Or have you recently tried something outside your comfort zone?