This is the second post of a two-part series about Jason Comely, someone who faced crippling social anxiety and his remarkable story of how he got over it. To read the interview, click here
It always helps to learn from the best. If you want to achieve something spectacular, wouldn’t you want to learn from those who have hit it out of the park?
Some of the most successful people constantly do this. When Tony Robbins (whose businesses are worth over $6 billion) wanted to write a book about personal finance he interviewed and learned from the best in the finance industry like Paul Tudor Jones and Carl Icahn.
Tim Ferriss the NY Times best-selling author, TV show host, and entrepreneur has made a career off of interviewing and studying people who are the best at what they do.
You can do this too and I want to help. Interested?
I want to share a remarkable story about Jason Comely.
It’s a true story of someone who suffered from crippling social anxiety and beat it by doing something someone with social anxiety would never even imagine doing.
Let me paint you a picture of Jason’s former life:
This is Jason’s current life:
So how’d he do it?
Jason beat his social anxiety by getting rejected on purpose…over and over again.
If you’re interested in hearing the whole story, click here for my 1-1 interview with him.
Modeling people who have achieved what you badly want to achieve is a great way to improve. so today I want to share 7 of the best takeaways from our interview along with actionable tips you can use to beat ANY fear you’re facing in your life.
Small wins are met by setting “micro goals.” Using small wins helps you build momentum and motivation so you can build upon each of the small achievements and start creating larger goals for yourself.
In Jason’s story he was terrified of getting rejected but knew the only way to get over this was to turn it into a game. He started off by asking for small favors like a piece of gum or handing out a flyer and then he made his asks even bigger and more audacious. Starting off small gave him confidence to begin asking for medium and larger sized asks to achieve his ultimate goal of rejection.
Small wins can be attained by setting micro-goals. They must be:
Come up with 1 or 2 micro goals that you can achieve in the next 10 days. Write them down and be specific. Make them achievable, specific, set a deadline and have a small reward tied to the action itself rather than the result.
Here’s an example:
Getting specific will prevent you from making excuses when you want to go after your goals because you’ll know exactly what you should do. It also makes it really easy to measure, you’ll clearly know if you achieved the goal or not.
Giving yourself a deadline will force you to do it sooner than later. Making these goals achievable is vital to boost your confidence and to reduce your fear of failing.
Have you taken the time to reflect lately? I know this sounds really cheesy, but it’s so necessary. Jason credits self-reflection when he talks about finding his “aha moment.” We always seem to have the music or TV going to distract us and we fail to ask ourselves simple questions that can change our lives.
The questions we ask ourselves shape our lives. If you ask yourself questions that are based in fear you will be afraid. If you ask yourself empowering questions that help you take action, you will be able to make great change.
Just spend 10 minutes this week to write out some answers to these questions:
If you haven’t done this exercise before, I can guarantee your answers will surprise you.
Let me tell you a true story about Jason Comely, someone who faced crippling social anxiety:
Jason would feel angry and fearful when interacting with others, he’d get so overwhelmed in social situations physically and mentally, that he’d literally walk away. When talking to people his mind would be racing with endless negative self-talk, he’d feel out of breath, he’d feel a wave of numbness come over his body. He purposely avoided social situations. Can you relate to any of this?
He would retreat to his apartment alone, trying to keep himself busy because he had no friends to hang out with. He felt bad for himself. He felt that life was unfair. He was frustrated, angry and hopeless. To top things off, his wife had left him for someone else.
This was a few years ago. If I introduced you to Jason today, you’d have no clue that he once struggled with social anxiety and social confidence.
His story of conquering social anxiety is not only informative, but proves that anyone can get over social hangups and become socially attractive like he is now!
In this candid Q&A We’ll talk about:
This is part one of a two part series. In the second post, I will highlight the key takeaways you can learn from Jason’s experience and how to make them actionable in your own life. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, let’s hear directly from Jason Comely.
Q: Give us an idea of what your socially anxious life used to be like
A: I had just moved to a new city and started a new IT business. I was having problems meeting people and closing clients. I would get panic attacks when I was around people. I’d feel nervous, frustrated, even angry sometimes. My body and mind would react negatively in social situations and I’d literally lose my breath so much so I had no choice but to walk away and leave.
I took the easy way out and I’d retreat back to my apartment since I had no friends. I’d do busy work to mask the fact that I had no social life. I was trapped in this comfort zone that felt like a cage.
I was frustrated and hopeless. To be honest, I felt bad for myself. During those dark days I was very angry— at myself, God and the world.
Q: That sounds scary. What did you do about it?
A: I wanted to learn more about this so I started doing some online research and realized that I had severe social anxiety and that I had been dealing with this for years.
I came across a related forum and there was this really nice guy talking about his struggles with social anxiety. In his profile picture he was smiling, but I knew that deep down he was feeling the way I was feeling. He seemed like a guy who had so much to offer but just couldn’t seem to make that connection with other people because of his fear.
I took some time to personally reflect as well. I asked myself: “Why am I so scared?”
I came to the realization that it was a fear of rejection.
Have you ever read a book that completely changes your life or perspective?
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is that book for me. It helped me realize that almost every single thing we do, every single day revolves around our habits. Habits can be good or bad and we rarely think about them, we just do them.
They’re engrained so deeply in our brains, that even people who have brain damage still stick to habits they had prior to the damage!
It blew my mind. Habits are typically things we don’t even think twice about. How much mental processing happens between rolling out of the bed and brushing your teeth? Not much, you just do it automatically.
I started getting really excited about a field of psychology called “change psychology.” There are so many awesome books in this field and they all cite credible studies of effective change and the behavior that helps you make change.
I wrote a post using the best tactics from change psychology that you can use to transform your social skills.
This is an in-depth post with really detailed information and action tips. It covers:
Life is not fair.
People would rather work with someone who is more likable, but less competent compared to someone who is less likable but more competent.
The Gallup organization has conducted a personality factor poll prior to every presidential election since 1960. Only one of three factors – issues, party affiliation, and likability, has been a consistent factor of the final election result:
People with more social capital happen to make more money, get promoted faster and have a better social life than those who don’t.
In this guest post I write about how you can start developing the skills you need to start taking advantage of these competitive advantages.
I also address:
There’s something really intimidating about putting yourself out there.
It’s something that I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Blogging has encouraged me to start coming out of my shell and telling my story which I have always been hesitant to do.
The impetus for this was helping a friend of mine get over a lot of social anxiety she was facing. It was really rewarding for the both of us. I was able to help, and she was able to overcome a lot of her obstacles.
I dug into the topic of social anxiety and social confidence a lot more. I’ve read countless self-help books (i.e. Tony Robbins and other NY Times Best Sellers), books about how to make change and transforming habits, and have dug around Reddit forums. The one thing that I realized was that it’s a real problem that many people struggle with.
I have also interviewed numerous people who struggle with social confidence and if they didn’t confide to me that they had an issue with it, I would have had NO idea.
They could socialize and have a great conversation without any problem at all, but what they shared was what happened after that conversation. Replaying what they said over and over again, dissecting if they said something silly our out of line and berating themselves over something I probably didn’t even notice.
Although I didn’t struggle with social anxiety to this degree, I could totally relate. I had to get over a lot of my social confidence struggles when I wanted to start a business. I shared part of that story in a guest blog post that was published today.
You’d be interested in it if:
I used to consider myself an introvert before I started my own business and had to put myself out there. To be honest, I didn’t really like making new friends, I was pretty quiet unless something really irked me enough to speak up, and I had a pretty small professional network. Starting a business and having to raise capital forced me to change all of that. But I’ll never forget how deathly afraid I was at the first few months of networking events and meeting new people.
But I was able to do it. I raised capital for our business, built a pretty deep professional network with awesome advisors, and now feel really comfortable in social situations. It’s great now but all of this took time, practice, and a strong commitment. I learned something:
Socializing and communication are skills, similar to learning a new language and it’s something you can learn, practice and improve.
Do you walk into a social setting and think any of these things?
Don’t worry you’re not alone. I used to think all of these things. Recently, I have spoken to people in my network, have dug around Reddit and read numerous forums. Trust me, you’re not alone. But the real question is do you want to improve this? The important thing to remember is that social skills are skills, meaning they can be learned, practiced, and perfected.
Now that we’ve gotten over the tough stuff, do you want to make a significant improvement in your social and communication skills? If so, read on.
I want to give you 3 actionable tips you can begin using NOW to start taking the baby steps towards improving your social skills. But before we dive into those tips let me preface it with a few caveats:
This may sound anti-climactic right? You probably thought I was going to tell you how to make someone laugh or how to get the business card of a VIP. Let’s start with the basics. Based on my research I noticed time and time again that people who struggled with effectively communicating developed debilitating stories about themselves or the way they were perceived by others. Things like:
Do you ever send emails and never get a response back? It happens to the best of us. Whether it’s a potential customer, partner or even someone you’re trying to connect with or talk to email is usually the easiest way to get your foot in the door. But many times, we won’t get a response and will have NO idea why. To increase your odds of getting some sort of response I want to share 5 tips that I constantly use to write effective emails.
Now I can’t guarantee that if you do these things you’ll always get a response, but I can guarantee that you’ll have a much better chance of getting an answer back. I have had success using these same exact tips when emailing VIP’s like Marc Cuban and Arianna Huffington. So if you’re gonna write emails, give it your best shot!
1. Keep it short- Don’t bother with lengthy emails, they will not read it. Do you?