[Coaching did] not just reduce my anxiety generally, but there are also lots of situation where I feel almost no anxiety now, whereas before I felt a lot!” – Callum
— Anxiety reduced by 95% when talking to strangers
— Parties, marriages and other events are now something to look forward to!
— Implemented a system to rationalize fears and insecurities, as to methodically take action.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been coaching Callum. A 28-year-old Brit and fledgling entrepreneur trying to make it in the world of copywriting and SEO. But building a business isn’t easy, you need to get clients. It meant cold calling potential clients. Haha, well that wasn’t as easy as he thought. Heck, it was
A few “how to cold call” Google searches later, he realized it could be learned. But it also reaffirmed he was pretty shy and timid in his personal life. Yet if he could learn to approach customers, why not learn to be more social in the rest of his life?
What was the problem?
So talking to new people, on the streets, at parties or for work – just ‘normal’ situations, would feel horrible! This was more than plain shyness, it was sheer anxiety. Why was this happening?
Anxiety prevented him from enjoying the moment and the company of people. There was no way to relax and express himself if he felt like this!
I’d be conscious about being anxious but I couldn’t prevent it anyway. I couldn’t stop it. I could get physical reactions, my heart would be beating pretty quickly, I would lose my appetite […].”
To understate it:
That took definitely away from the experience.”
For a long time it really didn’t actively register as a problem. He just accepted that being shy and anxious was who he was. He was just a quiet person. That’s it.
My, kinda mindset, was, deliberately or not, I kinda went with the flow of what was happening in my life, without taking any active conscious decisions in my life about stuff.”
I maybe didn’t realize there was something I could do about it. Which is stupid in hindsight.”
But for everyone there is a limit:
Yeah, I guess there comes a point, at least for me, where not being in control, or accepting the status quo was so bad, that it was less risky to take the risk.”
Kicking Social Anxiety out of the system
As Callum was coming to grips that this was something to be overcome, we met by chance. I got to know a funny, genuine but really shy guy. He found a coach that could help him conquer his anxiety.
Because he already took the first self-development steps, he recognized that social skills and confidence can be learned as well. So he grabbed the opportunity when offered, and I started coaching him.
 First, we got to know each other and the background of Callum’s problems. Creating an overview of his life and the problems he was experiencing. But more importantly, building a bond and mutual trust.
 After that, we addressed some specific problems. Callum described situations he felt really anxious about. We walked through the thoughts and emotions he would experience. We analyzed them and worked towards more constructive ways of handling this.
Just being able to talk to you about different situations has been really valuable. I’m sure we’ve done that on pretty much every call I think. […] having your experience and perspective on unique situations allowed me to tackle them individually and keep moving forward real easy.”
 As the lay of the land became clear, we created a system. So we could rationalize the situations and insecurities that were hamstringing Callum in his social life. Using this system we methodically tackled anxieties one at a time. While growing a general sense of calm and confidence.
The biggest thing is, that you thought me; the power of firstly recognizing the situation that caused me anxiety. Then broadly speaking, figuring out a plan to improve, my ability to handle that situation. Put myself in the situation and then practice, until my anxiety level reduced. That process changed everything really. Rather than just being crippled by the anxiety never doing anything about it, it allowed me to take control and do something. Overcome it!”
So what was the result?
So after a few months and coaching sessions, we got some amazing results:
I’m generally a lot less anxious than I was. There are definitely still some situations which cause anxiety, but even with those, I feel more in control of the outcome. […] there are also lots of situation where [I] feel almost no anxiety now, whereas before I felt a lot of anxiety.”
Gradually we are overcoming bigger and bigger fears, but because of him taking action on his smaller fears, his courage and confidence already have grown significantly. Which makes it way easier to tackle the larger challenges.
But rather than you saying, you have to go and do something, the process allowed me to rationalize it as well. Which therefore allowed me to take action I guess.“
So would he recommend getting some help on this:
Without coaching, I wouldn’t be sure I I’d see the same results. […] I don’t think you can replicate one-on-one personalized advice. Maybe that is just for my situation, there have been times I didn’t take action, and you just kicked me. Motivating me basically.”
It has been awesome to help Callum make such big strides in his development. The best thing is, he did it all himself, I only nudged him in the right direction.
Are we done yet? Nope! Callum promised me he will dance at a wedding without giving a fuck. After that, he will learn to network with strangers and finally give a presentation to a crowd while feeling at ease. But knowing what we have achieved so far, we are convinced we can conquer these fears as well!
If you feel you might need some nudging or advice as well, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or sign up for the newsletter and get started with the free ebook on How to keep conversations going. That will help you take the first steps, and the following emails will help you even more.