How I Stopped Being Shy — And the Surefire Way to Change Your Life

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I was being interviewed for an upcoming summit yesterday, and I told a story—now nine years old. I was living in San Francisco at the time, and I didn’t know a soul. I had moved there for six months for work, as part of the co-op program at Northeastern University.

So, there I was, 21 years old, making $12 per hour, and trying to afford an apartment in San Francisco. If I had $20 to my name at the end of a month, it meant that it was a really, really good month for me.

But one thing I did fund—one priority I had—was $5 toward a beer every single day. Not because I liked drinking so much—in fact, I couldn’t afford much more than that one beer. But because it gave me the opportunity to sit in the bar just downstairs from my apartment every day. And that’s how I met people.

See, I was very, very shy. And I didn’t know anyone. But I’d force myself to talk to every single person in the bar before I finished my beer.

At first, I only had the courage to talk to maybe one or two new people. But I kept at it. And every single day, that’s what I did after work. Even when I started to have friends, I still forced myself to introduce myself to every new person who came into the bar.

By the end of six months, I wasn’t so shy anymore.

As I told my interviewer that story, she told me that she couldn’t ever imagine me being shy. That I was so confident and energizing as I talked about life purpose.

And that’s the point. Who I am today started long ago. With little, simple actions. Bold and courageous moves—at least as bold as I could make them at the time.

Transformation is very rarely the result of one giant leap; instead, it’s the culmination of tiny acts of bravery practiced regularly.

And sometimes that’s terrifying. And frustrating. We get impatient. We think that we’re not actually transforming at all. That we’re taking one step forward and two steps backward. Or we’re always at a standstill. And nothing is really happening for us.

But the truth is that any act of courage practiced regularly and stemming from pure subjectivity will always move you in the direction of your dreams. That’s so huge that it bears repeating: Any act of courage practice regularly and stemming from pure subjectivity will always move you in the direction of your dreams.

Starting from our own subjectivity is so radical to begin with. Most of us just accept the arbitrary containers imposed upon us. Like accepting a well-paying job. And dating someone who makes sense. And dressing the way most other people do. And we contort ourselves to fit these things. And, honestly, if it ends up feeling meaningful, it’s just dumb lucky. We’re just lucky that it worked out.

But, when we start from our own subjectivity, we’re kind of rigging the system. We’re starting from knowing exactly who we are and what we want to feel, and then we’re building a life around that. That job is no longer arbitrary—it’s a great container for who we already are. We’re no longer trying to mold ourselves to fit the container; we’re molding the container to fit us.

And any tiny steps we take—any at all—that start from that place of who we are, will always have monumental effects if practiced continuously.

If I write every day because it feels good and is an expression of me, it will have massive effects. If I teach the Sacred Circle every five weeks because I absolutely love the work and it helps me become more of myself, it’ll transform my business and life. If I get up and talk to every person in a bar because it helps me be Vulnerable and Free from my shyness, then over six months, it’ll transform me.

It’s radical subjectivity. And we’re starting from the place of ourselves. The inside-out approach.

And I won’t lie—it might not be immediate. We might be shifting long, old patterns. And it can take years of seemingly thankless work to start to notice a transformation. But that’s the thing—a lot of times we don’t notice it. Because the change is so natural and so gradual, we forget where we were before.

Until I told that story yesterday, I forgot how shy I was. Because doing interviews regularly is so easy for me now. In fact, I don’t prep at all. I just jump on and go live. It’s light-years from where I was, but only if I’m paying attention.

Change can feel slow. Change can be slow. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t change. And, because of compound interest, routine behaviors have the most monumental effects on our lives.

So, starting from who you are—starting from what’s right and true for you—what’s one step that you can take? One tiny little step? That is borne from pure subjectivity?

It might not seem very impactful, but if you take one tiny step forward today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. Well, in one year, you’ll be 365 times closer to your dreams.

One step is all it takes.

What will your step be today?

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