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How I Overcame Social Anxiety and Became a Confident Coach to Help Others Do the Same

“The struggle with social anxiety prevented me from forming meaningful connections and enjoying the richness of life’s social interactions. It wasn’t merely a fleeting discomfort; it was a pervasive and persistent presence that tainted my experiences.”

Hello! Who are you?

Hi, Iโ€™m Katy! While I currently reside on the island of Montreal, Canada, my roots trace back to a small town nestled along the majestic Temiscouata Lake. 

After having conquered the challenges of social anxiety, I discovered my life’s purpose. Today, I am a proud Social Anxiety Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist. 

Being able to guide others on their journey towards self-confidence is not just my profession but a genuine passion. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness the transformation and empowerment that my clients experience as they break free from the shackles of social anxiety. 

Through coaching and hypnotherapy, I empower individuals to rewrite their narratives, step into their true selves, and discover the strength they never knew they had. The sense of purpose and fulfillment I derive from this work is beyond words, and I feel truly blessed to walk this path.

As for happiness, it was not always the case, but my journey has led me to a place of contentment and joy. Life’s twists and turns have taught me that happiness isn’t a constant state but a series of moments we must savor.

Today, I find happiness in the connections I forge, the smiles I share, and the positive impact I have on the lives of others.

In this beautiful journey of self-discovery, I’ve learned that true happiness comes from embracing our authentic selves, and that’s a gift I strive to pass on to those I have the privilege to coach and support.

๐Ÿ’ก By the way: Do you find it hard to be happy and in control of your life? It may not be your fault. To help you feel better, we’ve condensed the information of 100’s of articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet to help you be more in control. ๐Ÿ‘‡

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

I used to struggle with social anxiety for as long as I can remember.

I felt an intense fear of judgment, criticism, and a belief that I didn’t fit in or that something was inherently wrong with me. The fear of being singled out or negatively evaluated in social situations was constantly present in my life. This fear manifested as physical symptoms like trembling, blushing, and rapid heart rate when I had to speak in public or engage in conversations.

I was always a shy and introverted child, which continued into adolescence. My struggle was significantly influenced by growing up in a small town where I felt like I didn’t fit in.

My racial background set me apart, and I internalized the belief that being different was something to be feared and ashamed of. The fear of judgment and criticism from others deepened during these crucial years, leading to a heightened sense of social anxiety.

Over time, my social anxiety developed into a pervasive force that impacted every aspect of my life. From avoiding social situations to self-censoring in conversations, it became a constant companion, restricting my growth and happiness.

However, the turning point came when it started impacting my performance at work. I had trouble expressing myself in meetings, and my boss told me to find a solution. I decided to confront and address this struggle head-on by joining a Toastmasters club.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

My struggle with social anxiety made me feel utterly isolated and profoundly unhappy. It was as if a dark cloud of self-doubt and fear constantly loomed over me. I felt like an outsider, disconnected from the world around me.

The anxiety was relentless, and it gnawed at my self-esteem and overall well-being. Happiness seemed like an elusive dream, something that others could experience but remained out of my reach.

The impact on my happiness was severe. I found myself avoiding social situations, which led to missed opportunities for personal and professional growth. The sense of isolation and loneliness was overwhelming.

The struggle with social anxiety prevented me from forming meaningful connections and enjoying the richness of life’s social interactions. It wasn’t merely a fleeting discomfort; it was a pervasive and persistent presence that tainted my experiences.

For a long time, I tried to hide my struggle from those around me. I didn’t want to burden others with my internal battles, and I was ashamed of my perceived inadequacies.

It wasn’t always clear to others that I was grappling with something so significant since I had been struggling for so long. They were not able to notice any changes. I

It wasn’t until I started my journey of self-acceptance and sought help that I began to open up about my social anxiety. It was a liberating step towards healing and recovery.

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

The fear of speaking up in meetings or making presentations became a significant barrier to my career advancement. I knew I couldn’t let this anxiety define my future any longer.

The change began when I decided to join a Toastmasters club, which provided a supportive environment for me to work on my public speaking skills and overcome my social anxiety.

My decision to take the initiative to join this club was a pivotal step, and it was driven by my own determination to break free from the limitations social anxiety had imposed on me.

My struggle with social anxiety had impacted me for several years before I found the catalyst for change in joining Toastmasters. It was a journey that had accompanied me from my youth into my professional life, so it took a considerable amount of time before I recognized the need for change and took that first step toward overcoming it.

Once I started on this path, however, the positive changes and improvements began to accumulate gradually, transforming not only my social anxiety but also my overall outlook on life.

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

Overcoming social anxiety was a transformative journey, and it was a culmination of various steps that, when taken together, allowed me to break free from its grip.

One of the most significant actions I took was joining a Toastmasters club. This provided a structured and supportive environment to improve my public speaking and communication skills.

I started small by attending meetings and gradually progressed to giving speeches, which were initially nerve-wracking but eventually became more comfortable. The club’s positive and constructive feedback helped build my confidence and minimize my fear of judgment.

Seeking professional help was another pivotal step. I consulted a coach who specialized in anxiety. During our sessions, I learned to identify and challenge irrational thought patterns that fueled my social anxiety. My coach helped me reframe these negative thought patterns and taught me strategies to manage anxiety in real-time.

Additionally, self-acceptance played a critical role. I learned to embrace my uniqueness and let go of the need to conform to societal norms. It was a process of acknowledging that it’s okay to be different and that my differences were not something to be ashamed of. I shared my story with like-minded individuals at Toastmasters, and their acceptance and support reinforced the idea that it’s okay to be myself.

If someone is in a similar situation, I recommend taking these steps as a starting point. Join a supportive group or organization that aligns with your goals, whether it’s Toastmasters or another community that allows you to practice social interaction and public speaking.

Seek professional help from a therapist or coach who specializes in anxiety. Their expertise can guide you in managing your anxiety effectively. Most importantly, remember that self-acceptance is a powerful tool.

Embrace your uniqueness, seek support from a like-minded community, and challenge negative thought patterns. These steps, when combined, can pave the way for significant progress in overcoming social anxiety.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

I did not initially feel comfortable discussing my struggle with social anxiety with friends and family members. It took time and a growing self-acceptance to feel comfortable sharing my journey.

The first time I talked about it was in a speech in my Toastmasters club. Sharing my experiences in this supportive environment was a relief and helped me feel less isolated. Everyone was supportive and understanding; it helped me connect with them.

Eventually, as I began to overcome my social anxiety and gained more confidence, I became more comfortable discussing it with more people. I started writing about my experiences in a blog.

This process of opening up about my mental health struggles was a journey in itself, one that reflected my progress in managing social anxiety and finding self-acceptance.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

If I could offer one piece of advice to someone who is struggling with social anxiety, it would be to embrace self-acceptance and self-compassion. What I know now that I wish I had known earlier is that our harshest critic often resides within ourselves.

For years, I believed that social anxiety defined me, and it took a toll on my self-esteem and happiness. I wish I had understood sooner that it’s okay to be different, to have unique qualities, and to not fit into societal norms.

Understanding that social anxiety is not a life sentence and that it can be overcome through self-acceptance and finding a supporting community was a game-changer for me.

Recognize that it’s perfectly normal to have fears and insecurities, but these should not dictate the course of your life. Seek support, whether through therapy, coaching, or sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member.

You don’t have to face social anxiety alone, and there is a path to healing and self-discovery. By accepting yourself as you are, you can transform your relationship with social anxiety and unlock a world of possibilities.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think: This book provides practical techniques for identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to social anxiety. It helped me learn how to reframe and replace unhelpful thoughts with more positive ones.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

You can read more about me on my website, or find me on Instagram.

๐Ÿ’ก By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. ๐Ÿ‘‡

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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