I’m Nadia Finer. And I’m on a softly-spoken mission to help my fellow shy people be more mighty.
Shy people don’t need fixing. We don’t need to change who we are. But, in a world filled with noise and hot air, it’s time for us people to speak up and stop hiding.
I’m not one of those loud, confident people who lectures and shouts about how you need to be brave.
Far from it.
I know what it’s like to struggle with shyness.
I remember the day I made the limiting decision to hide away and keep myself small.
I was 14 years old and was in the middle of a French conversation lesson at school. I loved French lessons. I think it was because I fancied myself as some kind of chic, Parisian film buff, with a Breton stripey top, a gamine crop, and big shades.
We were in the brand new, shiny language laboratory. (There were cassette players, which shows how ancient I am!) We were told to record ourselves speaking about a film we’d seen recently. Bliss.
I recorded my conversation (in the most English of French accents) with utter confidence. Then, I hit ‘play’ to listen to it.
All I heard was a little kid talking. Where was the sophisticated conversation I’d just recorded?
My immediate reaction was to assume I was listening to someone else’s tape, or that I hit the wrong button.
But then, it dawned on me. That was MY voice. What the actual %$+@?!
And there it was. That was my defining moment..
At 2pm on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, I realized there was something weird about me. And that was it. Limiting decision made. I vowed that from that moment on, I would hide myself so that nobody would notice me and my little voice.
Never again would I phone someone I didn’t know, speak up in front of people, be in any kind of show or performance, present my work in a group situation, or (horror of horrors) leave a voicemail message. (And let me just say, when text messaging was invented I breathed a massive sigh of relief!)
Rationally, I know it’s not a huge deal, and some people tell me they don’t even notice my voice. But, over the years, I’ve been sent off to all kinds of elocution lessons (against my will) to help me get some gravelly gravitas. Talk about giving a girl a complex.
Imagine, being “encouraged” to spend hours lying on the floor like Colin Firth in the King’s Speech, breathing deeply into my stomach in an attempt to transform my tone.
While my little voice might be perfect for cartoon voiceover work, professionally, it has made me feel really shy. I always worried people wouldn’t take me seriously.
Like the time when a former boss actually announced to a client “She might sound like a little girl, but she’s got a big brain.” I wasn’t sure how to feel about that one.
Like me, you might have convinced yourself that success is equated with confidence and extroversion.
Whether you’re at work, at school, running a business, or even doing a sport, so much emphasis is placed on being seen, showing up, putting yourself out there, building a following, raising your profile, and self-promotion.
It seems even more like that these days, with how much of a role social media plays in our lives and business. We’re all supposed to become influencers and marketing machines.
Confession: Even after 12 years of coaching, I still struggle with visibility. When people are looking at me, I feel super awkward and self-conscious.
I don’t like bragging about my achievements. In fact, it makes me feel all kinds of uncomfortable.
Showing up online for my business is a constant challenge.
My shyness hasn’t disappeared. It still shows up when I need to promote and market my work. When I worry about being judged. When I question my worth. When I compare myself to others, I view as more successful. When I’m faced with exciting-yet-scary opportunities. When it’s time to share my ideas and opinions.
But I refuse to let my shyness be the thing that holds me back.
It was only when I realised that my shyness and my little voice are part of who I am that I was able to create a vision of success that works for me.
I decided to make a change
I decided to embrace my insecurity and be myself.
I decided it was time to stand up, speak up and stand out. And show that shy can be mighty.
The truth is that the world needs a mixture of personalities, perspectives, and skills to function.
Success is not just about who can shout the loudest or bulldoze other people out of the way.
As a shy person, I don’t need fixing. And I’m certainly not going to change who I am. No way!
I’m not a confident person – and I’m not sure I ever will be.
But, rather than hide behind my insecurities, I’ve figured out how to embrace my little voice, push past my fears, and tap into my hidden strengths.
As a result of embracing this thing that could have held me back, I’ve built a career as a successful business coach, author, podcaster, and international speaker. I’m also possibly the least likely boxer ever to step foot into the ring!
I’ve discovered that being yourself is the only way to succeed in life.
And that the only person who can get in the way of your success is YOU.
That’s why I’m not here to lecture you, boss you around, patronise you, or force you to do things that you’re uncomfortable with. I know that you need gentle support and encouragement to coax you out of the shadows and towards your goals.
Recently, I was invited to give a talk to hundreds of teenage girls at a big conference. The topic: my journey from little voice to big impact.
In that moment, I realised that sharing my story could help a lot of people. What’s more, people don’t often hear the big stories shy people have because we’re usually off somewhere hiding.
I knew that if I could bring myself to talk to hundreds of teenage girls… then I should take my mission a step further.
So, I created Shy and Mighty to help shy people of all ages overcome their self-consciousness and self-doubt and to give them the courage to share their ideas and talents so that they can achieve big things in their own unique way.