Introvert to Extrovert : 4 Ways to Take Control of Your Shyness

Have you ever been tongue tied at the thought of approaching an attractive woman and introducing yourself? What about feeling awkward and out of place at business or social gatherings? How about hesitating to raise your hand in class or pick up the phone to make a sales call?

Before we go any farther. Stop! Think for a moment about the cost of this shyness crap in your life. Seriously. What’s it costing you?

  • Imagine what it would be like to be able to approach any woman, any time and engage her in a relaxed funny, sexy, playful conversation that you both enjoy.
  • Imagine being able to speak up for your own needs and desires and getting them.
  • Imagine walking into a business networking meeting and people glowingly referring you to people who need and want your services.
  • Imagine people seeking you out for advice and guidance regarding the product or service you offer.
  • Imagine in a meeting or in a class raising your hand with a key question or comment that makes it easier for the trainer or teacher to teach and for the other students to understand
  • Imagine offering an idea that ends up saving your company thousands of dollars
  • Had an idea that you hesitated to share with your boss or colleagues.You might think you’re shy.

All well and good but first that thing that stops you from taking the risk.

Shyness. (It really does suck, doesn’t it?)

How To Stop Being Shy In Four Steps:

1. Realize you created it. Since you created it. You can change it.

Shyness is not a thing. It is something you do. It’s a process. It’s a habit. It’s a learned behavior. It is not a lifetime sentence. It is not genetic. It is not a disease, even though the shrinks love to diagnose it and call it Social Anxiety Disorder. At some point in your childhood you decided to be shy. You created it because it solved some problems and seemed to keep you out of bad feelings. Again, if you created it (and you really did, didn’t you?) you can change it.

2. Discover Your Program – Uncover your Unconscious process of doing shyness.

How do you do it? I get my clients to teach me how they do their problem. They don’t realize there are a set pattern of steps they go through to get that certain feeling. What triggers it? What do you do first? What do you do next? What comes after that? We care less about why you do it and more about how. Keep going through each step until you get to how you end the program. At some point you stop it don’t you? Write it out as if you are leaving instructions for your temporary worker to come in and do it for you so you can forget about the problem. What has to happen for you to start to not feel totally comfortable and confident? What’s the first thing? Do you see something or someone? What? Do you say something to yourself? What? Whose voice is it? Do you get a feeling in your body? Where? Does the feeling move? Does it have a shape? Does it have a color, a texture? Density? Write all this down so you can see it in black and white.

3. Jam Your Program – At any point if you change a significant element of how you do your shyness program, it will cause the program to jam.

For example let’s say in the past you’d see a hot babe and say to yourself. “oh my god she’s so hot I’ll never be able to get a woman like that,” in that sad hopeless wimpy little voice you hear in your head. Next you’d feel a sinking feeling in your stomach that was the size of a grapefruit with the density of a bowling ball.To Jam it you could do this instead: “Oh my gawd she’s so HOT! with An exaggerated lip licking smirk and then a playfully predatory YUUUUUM! And then shrink down the grapefruit sized feeling to a wiffle ball and push it out 3 feet in front of your body and smack that old crappy feeling with a baseball bat out of the park.Again for the sake of this example, I don’t know what you do specifically. But you know don’t you? Walk yourself through it and write it down. Then mess with it. Play with it. Run it backwards. Scramble it. Do the picture first and then the voice. Try different voices. Mickey Mouse, the Jolly green giant. Some really sexy babe. Repeat as needed.

4. Change your beliefs.

You probably believe you’re shy. How do you know? How do you know you’re not just pretending to be shy in order to get out of having to be successful in all areas of your life? I spend a lot more time on this in my Modern Jedi NLP Training but here’s the least you need to know.

  • Beliefs filter our reality. What you believe becomes so. Change the belief. Change your reality. We represent our beliefs to ourselves internally through the pictures, self talk and feelings we run. For example, I hold my true beliefs directly in front of me on my mental screen. My old beliefs are down and to my left and slightly behind me. Beliefs I want to be true but don’t quite feel true yet are up and to my left.
  • Here’s how to change a belief. When I first stopped being shy. I noticed that the belief that I was shy was right smack in front of me. The belief that I wanted to have, namely that I was the guy with charisma and confidence in any social situation, the guy who could strike up a conversation anywhere at anytime with the most powerful CEO or the most Babe-A-Licious hottie was up and to my left. When I took the shyness belief and slammed it down and left and a bit behind me (to my old beliefs) and powerfully pulled in the desired belief into the very center of my mental screen making it bigger and brighter, I suddenly felt different. Shyness gone. Poof! Holy crap!
  • Results you can notice immediately. It totally changed my experience. Ten minutes later I found myself chatting with a gorgeous hottie as we both got our UPS delivery in the lobby of my apartment building. I did have to practice this occasionally. But so what? What was so cool about this was that I wasn’t forcing myself to talk with her. It was suddenly the most natural and comfortable thing to do. Want some?When you think of a belief that’s true for you notice where on your internal screen it shows up. Typically your limiting belief “I’m shy” will show up in your “true” spot.
  • When you think of a belief about yourself that’s no longer true, (like you are no longer 12) notice where on your mental screen that shows up.
  • Think about a belief you would like to have. Notice where that one shows up.
  • Now move the  crappy belief about being shy to your old beliefs spot. Slam your desired belief about being charismatic and totally confident and comfortable in social situations into the place you hold your true beliefs.
  • How does that feel?

It’s like reprogramming the VCR.

What has shyness prevented you from doing?

About the Author: Mark Shepard, NLPT is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis & Time Line Therapy. Read his blog:

41 thoughts on “Introvert to Extrovert : 4 Ways to Take Control of Your Shyness

  1. shelleydelayne

    As someone who's been an introvert most of her life, there's an element missing in these steps, in my opinion. In order to really change a life-long pattern of shyness, it really helps to have a couple of supportive extroverted friends to ask questions of and model behavior on so you have a better idea what comfortable, confident social interactions look like!

  2. AJ Kumar

    Hi Shelley,

    I too was an introvert for a majority of my life. I can understand that having extroverted friends help, but in order to really make a long lasting change, it needs to be done with yourself. So your, it definitely plays a role, but the real changes comes from yourself.

    I was able to change myself from shy to expressive almost instantly because I was just so sick and tired of being that way. I made the decision and stuck by it. I try to place myself in uncomfortable situations as often as possible now.

  3. shelleydelayne

    Hi, AJ!

    Oh, absolutely, change has to come from within! Sorry, I should have been more clear: the advice in this article is absolutely excellent and such a change is absolutely achievable! I just think that having some reference for what you're trying to change your behavior TO is a necessary part of the equation and deserved a mention.


  4. Mark Shepard

    Hi Shelley, I appreciate your comment. My experience with asking extroverted friends for help was that they 1. didn't have a clue about how to help me and 2. it was too easy to be lazy about reaching out to other people because my extroverted friends were just so good at it. I just stayed in the background.

    If we can't break the shyness program on our own then it's time to find a competent NLP practitioner, NOT a talk therapist.

    Mark Shepard, NLPT

  5. Deline

    Great article on this topic. I like the concept of dissecting what someone does that inhibits them from doing what they want, and then coming up with a way to jam that process from happening.


  6. bj brown

    Always remember that Introversion is NOT shyness. Introversion is a measurable neurological trait that we see from birth. However, Mark is correct, expressing our Introversion via debilitating shyness is a choice that we often made as children. We can elect to do something differently.

    Also, asking Extraverted friends is indeed useless. We Introverts simply don't have the neurological wiring to do it like they do. That's why so much training designed by (and therefore for) Extraverts is not very useful to us. Overcoming shyness is not about becoming an Extravert, it's about moving through the world comfortably as an Introvert. If you want to learn how to do it, find Introverts who do it well and emulate them. Their way of being in the external world will work much better for you than trying to imitate a used car salesman or a narscistic rock star.

    By the way Mark, you might consider keeping your images a bit less sexist – I personally can't imagine picking up women as a reason to become less shy and I suspect neither can Shelley.

  7. Mark Shepard

    Thanks BJ for your comments. As far as being sexist goes, please understand that in 90% of the work I do with 1:1 clients who are men the issue of “approach anxiety” comes up. I originally wrote the article for my blog at . The women that I've mentioned this issue to (which is almost a universal problem for shy guys) typically look at me like I'm crazy. Like you they can't imagine it! They don't seem to be able to even comprehend it. So if the article starts with that issue it's because it is a huge issue. All the other points may work for both sexes but including an issue that is particularly painful for men is not sexist. Just as an article that included the pain women feel at being judged for their looks would not be sexist.

    Thanks again for your excellent points.

  8. janicepence

    I love this article!! I am an Introvert – very introverted and was born into a family of Extroverts. It seemed that no one understood the way I processed information – after all that is the biggest difference between introverts and extroverts. Introverts process by thinking, extroverts process by talking.

    Both of my children are extroverts, one being is very extroverted. Talk about turning the tables on me. I am trying to learn to just listen to them without becoming overwhelmed with all of the talking.

    Great article – I loved the topic. I found great resources on the Myers Briggs definitions of Extroversion and Introversion – they sum up the information for those in the dark.

  9. MarkShepard

    Thanks Janice! I appreciate your thoughtful response. In my training we determine an introvert Vs. an extrovert by this question. Do you recharge your batteries alone or with just 1 other person? Introvert. Do you recharge your batteries in a group? Extrovert.

    Let's just say I truly enjoy spending time alone! But once I'm all charged up, I'm ready to go out and be with other people.


  10. Jack Sparrow

    The best way to change from introvert to extrovert is to try to conquer your fear . to conquer you need to make an effort and pray for the grace to help u come out of this ..

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  13. ClassicBeech21

    oh lord im really introverted ..i got problems. im rarely even around one person. and when i try to put myself in uncomfortable situations i panic and have to leave. i havent always been this way. it happened when i met my boyfriend. he was older and way smarter and thats a big blow to your head when your so comfortable with who you are and then someone slowly picks you apart until you dont have any confidence in yourself or anything you do. it my own fualt i guess for staying but now i realize i have a real propblem and i need to concentrate on a solution. ive even tried anxiety medicine it dont work. Does it really help to jsut make yourself stay around people your uncomfortabe with even if your thought start racing and your brain turns retarded on you? i mean does that just go away? any idea il take any ones input but please no smart but ones cuz ive been through alot in life to get me where i am. mostly bad no poking fun plz

  14. Randy S.

    I’m an Introvert and proud of it…I have a few friends and that’s all I need in life, and I love my alone time. Introvert is not the same as shyness, and introverts do now how to talk and communicate, but they only like people in small doses.

    Is this a crime? Why is it that in Western Culture that introversion is looked upon in a negative light?

  15. Crazy Rerick

    While introverts are often labeled as shy, aloof and arrogant, Rauch explains that these perceptions results from the failure of extraverts to understand how introverts function. “Extr[a]verts have little or no grasp of introversion,” Rauch suggests. “They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extr[a]verts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood.”According to estimates, extraverts outnumber introverts by about three to one. Introverts often find that other people try to change them or even suggest that there is something “wrong” with them. Nothing could be further from the truth. While introverts make up a smaller portion of the population, there is no right or wrong personality type. Instead, both introverts and extraverts should strive to understand each other’s differences and similarities.

    1. Crazy Rerick

      It is important to note that introversion does not necessarily equate with shyness. In their book, The Development of Shyness and Social Withdrawal, authors Schmidt and Buss write, “Sociability refers to the motive, strong or weak, of wanting to be with others, whereas shyness refers to behavior when with others, inhibited or uninhibited, as well as feelings of tension and discomfort.” Shyness indicates a fear of people or social situations. Introverts, on the other hand, simply do not like to spend lots of time interacting with other people. However, they do appreciate being around people to whom they are close. They find engaging in “small talk” tedious, but do enjoy having deep, meaningful conversations.

  16. Chris OC

    I don’t know if I’m an introvert or shy…to me it means the same..I’m ok until I see someone, same sex same age, that is totally comfortalble. Comfortable enough to make jokes. This is not me, I am usually so uptight my sense of humor is completely unaccessible. But my roommate is the opposite, he laughs at movies or sitcoms where there are jokes, and you’re suppossed to laugh, but I rarely do. It basically makes me feel worse about me, because I’m watching someone act and behave with impunity, but to me the slightest put down stops my world from turning…it really will I ever find a girlfriend while I’m like this?


  17. Rim

    The misconception is that introverts are shy and have social phobias or something along that line, when in fact introverts are just introverted 🙂 and no there are plenty of us who are not shy at all, we just need “alone time” to recharge/relax and contemplate. Its just a preference, there is nothing wrong with introversion and it doesen’t need fixing. Shyness does, the two things are not the same (as I said). There are shy and phobic extroverts ya know.

    Furthermore there are no pure introverts or extroverts, all of us do some of both, this simply comes down to what the individual prefers more.

    With that said I prefer reading a book or writing, drawing, painting, taking a walk, doing something solo, having a chat with a good friend to “going out and socializing”.

    1. Carol

      I agree, introversion does not need to be fixed only understood, in the general U.S. culture it is difficult to be introverted while in other cultures much more accepted.

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  19. Carol

    Introversion and Shyness are NOT the same thing.

    Introverts are not necessarily shy or timid. that is just how extroverts perceive them. Introverts need time alone to recharge and they think more than they speak, but it’s not a lack of confidence, as is implied by the example, “oh my god she’s so hot I’ll never be able to get a woman like that”. An introvert example would more of an analysis of the girl, not their lack ability to get the girl.


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