Gift For Those Shy Ones Who Feel Alone

People are often surprised to hear that I am shy at heart. Yes, it's true. Hard to believe, I'm sure – but true all the same. Being the picked on kid growing up, meant that I walked around in constant fear of people noticing me. Because if they noticed me, they picked on me. And so when attention turned to me in class I stammered. My neck got red. My pulse raced.

I was a horrible hugger my whole life. Friends and family would tease me by trying to capture me for a hug, just to watch my distressed reaction.

I got over all of this in college. Blame it on the beer or "liquid courage" is it has been called. I'm not proud, just honest. It was here that I grew in confidence and turned from being the quiet one to the Jim Belushi one that everyone wanted at their parties. And every year after that, my confidence grew and I became more outgoing, more comfortable in social settings, and eventually brave enough to stand on a stage as a motivational speaker.

But I am still shy at heart. I still walk into a room of strangers and my heart pounds. I still look out on an audience and my stomach clenches with worry that they will not accept me. I would still rather do stomach crunches than attend a cocktail party where I must walk around and make small talk with other couples. I still stand in the middle of thousands of people and hug necks and exchange dreams, and long to draw away and retreat to my hotel room. I still find myself craving to crawl into a corner where  nobody notices me.

And what a beautiful gift I received when I read Seth Godin's blog post this week called "Sea of Strangers."  How eloquently he put my feelings into words. And so today I want to share his post with you – or specifically to those of you who need to hear this right now. May it bring you encouragement like it did me.


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. Am I ever glad you found that liqud courage in college that brought you closer to all of us! And I know that if you'd prefer stomach crunches to small talk, you're serious about this feeling. Your blog brought back a memory of sitting in the school cafeteria…by myself as a tenth grader. Second time in three years as the new girl in a new school who knew no one holding back tears.I glanced up to see Star Leturno (seriously, her name) before me saying, "You must be new. Care if I join you?" Star and I never became close friends, but I always gave her the biggest smile when we passed in the hallway, and I'm eternally grateful for her willingness to approach a stranger and make small talk. What an unforgettable gift she gave me that day.

  2. People would think, Kelly, that because you are a motivational speaker you must be really outgoing and unafraid. And how loving of you to share with us the fears that led you to where you are today. I think you really do exactly what Seth is talking about. You do reach out first. Inspite of whatever residual fear or anxiety might be there – you, Kelly absolutely reach out to make others feel comfortable. You are such a gift to this planet.

  3. Gosh. What sweet comments. With you two in my back pocket. I will never lack for self confidence.  Hopefully, this post helped some other shy people out there. Once again, I find that we have to act before we feel. Act brave and you'll feel brave later. Don't wait to feel 100% confident – fake it till you make it. Good-night ladies. I sure do appreciate you.

  4. From one giant Dork to another, I feel your pain and celebrate your success!   This is such a powerful post that allows others to realize what you see may not be a true representation of what is going on behind the scenes, and that we should all keep putting ourself out there.   And I think it is so important to be reminded of this often, as it may get easier, but it never really goes away.  Looking forward to sharing a little liquid courage with you soon, my friend : )

    I once wrote about my shyness:

    <<The thing about having a fairly public professional keynote speaker persona, is that no one believes I am shy.  And I don’t mean ‘Oh, isn’t that cute’ shy.  I’m talking hand-shaking-as-I-reach-for-the-entry-door, can’t-swallow-because-my-left-lung-is-squeezed-into-my-throat, I-think-my-hair-is-sweating kind of shy. As soon as Jodi disappears into the swells, I begin to feel the manic shouts of the small but mighty introvert that lives huddled down at the base of my spine.>>

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