How I Overcame an Extreme Shyness Disorder Through Entrepreneurship
Until several years ago, and as far back as I can remember, I was incredibly uncomfortable in crowds…and in small groups and in classrooms of my peers and around anyone who wasn’t my mother, my father or siblings.
To say I was “shy” would be a complete understatement. Hiding behind my parent’s legs, gripping them tightly and being (literally) pulled away from them…my hands tearing at the fabric of their clothing until someone peeled my fingers loose…was a daily occurrence at school drop off. Though many well-meaning teachers, parents and grandparents thought it was a phase I would outgrow, they were wrong.
All the way up until I was in the awkward throes of puberty, I just wanted to be with the people who knew me, and as I moved through primary school and into college, it got progressively worse and nearly kept me from graduating high school or pursuing higher education.
I went from spending time hiding behind books, behind my hair, behind my clothing…which was always far bigger than my slim frame…to staying indoors. I experienced bouts of anxiety, panic attacks, profuse sweating, heart palpitations and was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD.
And without knowing it, I was truly SAD. Very sad, indeed. I thought for such a long time that I was just what the people around me said I was…”shy.” I knew I was introverted and preferred the company of people I knew and had grown up with in school, but I wasn’t aware of how extreme my “symptoms” were until I had no interest in leaving my home.
All of my family members, and the few friends I had, however…and I do mean ALL OF THEM…were the polar opposite. They were extremely extroverted. In retrospect, I can imagine our differences were very hard on them, since we began to drift apart as we grew older.
In college I was in a car accident. One minute I was on my way to my part-time job as a bookkeeper and the next I was waking up in the hospital. This was a life-changing event for me.
And that’s when I also had another set of letters applied to my life. I had what many people refer to as a Near-Death Experience or NDE.
This is also when I feel like I was reborn.
While I had to overcome some internal injuries and still suffer from a slight limp that will likely never improve, this accident was an opportunity. What I experienced while unconscious made me come out of the shell I’d been occupying for 26 years.
Without going into the details of my NDE,…since it’s only the door that led me to the happiness I’ve created in my life, to date…I woke up a different person. I WOKE UP and I was a different KIND of person.
I no longer suffered from the excruciating fear of being among people or meeting new people or sharing space in a crowd of people.
It was this revelation that led me to seek any and all opportunities to bond with others…to make up for the years I’d lost living like a turtle. I sought out my extroverted friends and went from a life of solitude to a life of companionship.
In my search to make as many connections with others and live out loud, I was led to the network marketing industry. It’s important for me to say that it wasn’t always easy…I mean, I still had to overcome wrapping my mind around doing things differently and thinking differently. Every now and then I ponder “the old me” and my emotions run the gamut from anger and resentment to gratitude for having seen a side of life that taught me how to be a good listener and to let others stand in the spotlight. These lessons are all integral to the success of my home-based business in relationship marketing.
…except I RARELY stay at home to run my business. I run my business from wherever I happen to be, and I am typically anywhere but at home. I spend more time out among people, exploring new neighborhoods and cuisines and taking classes to learn things like, pottery. I just took a class on how to tie flies for a fly-fishing trip with friends in Montana!!!
The network marketing industry has been the perfect platform for me to fulfill my deepest desire to connect with others and make up for lost time while earning an income. I get to travel. I have a healthy income with bonuses, and I gather with other people involved in the industry several times a month. We have the most FUN!
The personal development and camaraderie has been the glue cementing my belief in this way of living and working. If I can be successful in this industry…after overcoming so many personal struggles and obstacles to get me on this path…then ANYONE CAN DO THIS!
I encourage anyone who has let the fear of uncertainty keep them from stepping into the unknown, to try dipping even just one foot into this world of freedom! You can start small. You can go at your own pace. You can jump right in and go ALL IN! You tailor the effort and amount of work you want to do. You will be embraced by incredibly positive and uplifting people who can guide and support you, and love you, where you are on your journey.
And if you aren’t ready to “get out there” this business is PERFECT for people who DO WANT TO STAY HOME! You can work from home, from your sofa, your office, your bed, your kitchen table, deck, front porch, wheelchair, recliner, lounge chair, pool float, piano bench…the toilet, for that matter. If you have a phone or a computer then you have an opportunity to build a network, a business, an income, a nest egg, etc.
Regret is the absolute worst feeling in the world. I can’t do anything about the years of lost opportunity, but there is still time for me to be what I might have been, and I’m already (at least) three of those things (and counting)!
This industry has given me a new lease on life and it can do the same for you….whoever you are! ~Helen