Social Anxiety: Is It Killing Your Career?

Social Anxiety: Is It Killing Your Career?

“Don’t let the world change your smile.  Let your smile change the world.”  A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

Social anxiety is common.  People who are shy are not the only people who experience social anxiety.  People who are confident about what they say or do around friends and family may feel social anxiety when they are among strangers or in front of an audience.

Social anxiety can make you avoid opportunities for work, fun, and networking.  It can cut your opportunities for leadership roles.  Your anxiety can generate signals that make it harder for people to reach out to you.


“I’ll take a person with humor much more seriously than someone without one.Networking is a Contact Sport by Joe Sweeney

There are many things that you can do to calm your jitters.  Perhaps the most overlooked way is simply to smile.  People smile when they are happy.  And equally important is that smiling can help you feel happy.  “Fake ’till you make it” is an ambiguous term.  Some people see it as a disingenuous way of faking your skills.  Another view, is that faking confidence can help you gain confidence. A smile triggers thoughts that generate happiness.

The smiley face emoji says to other people you approve of what they have to say.  Smiling has a similar effect.  It tells people you approve of them.  It creates trust and helps people open up to you.

You are generating charisma.  People find your presence attractive.  Your smiling helps people feel more confident and comfortable being around you.  In turn, they smile and you feel confident from their signal of approval.

A frown will chase away friends.  Ah, but there is something about a smile that attracts people and draws people to you.

So, let it go.  When you see people, start with a smile.  As people approach, nod and smile.  When you are shaking hands with people, look at them and smile.