How to Express What You’re Thinking When You’re Shy

Often when you are shy you can use the written word to express your feelings. The problem isn’t really being able to write out your thoughts and feelings – it’s the part where you share them.

Sharing your inner most thoughts and feelings is to let them be judged by someone else. It also means you take the chance on sounding weird, odd or just being told how wrong you are. At times, it’s easier to remain quiet. Easier than trying to put yourself forth into the noise of everyone else. It’s easier to fade into the background and not be heard. Except, we do want to be heard, be part of the world around us. Our opinions and ideas are worth hearing too.

Communication needs to be a two way street. Someone listens while someone else speaks. Then there is feedback to confirm the communication. As a shy person, I find the biggest challenge is to be heard. People don’t stop to listen. Instead they interrupt, they don’t listen and they don’t really hear what you say when you do manage to say something.

You try written communication, hoping this is a way to be heard without being interrupted or having to be face-to-face. But, there is still the big drama of waiting for feedback and not knowing what kind of reception your communication will get. Was it wanted? Were you understood, or misunderstood?

Often, writing it down isn’t enough. You need the instant feedback and the first reaction to know you have been heard and understood.

How to Talk to Someone Important When You’re Shy

Practice what you want to say beforehand. You can write it down and then say it out loud, see how it sounds. You might shorten it, change the wording around or choose an entirely different way to say it. Know what you are going to say, but don’t have it so memorized it sounds like a scripted speech.

Talk to the person when they are alone so there are fewer distractions and no one else to jump in and offer their opinion, welcome or not. If you can’t be sure of having time alone, or privately, make an appointment, schedule the time to talk with them.

If you really need to say something important and can’t get yourself to start, bring a friend along to break the ice and then leave or stay out of it when you’re ready to begin.

When it comes time to talk, stop thinking so much. Don’t analyze every word, don’t get obsessed with small details like how you’re standing or sitting, where you put your hands or whether or not your teeth are white enough, etc. Put the little things out of your mind and think about something else, like the coffee you’re going to enough later, or how nice the garden looked, anything simple and pleasant to keep you from getting too focused.

Realize that you are not the centre of the universe – the world is not watching you and waiting for you to fail. Other people in the room, in the area, are more worried about themselves and the possibility that they have spinach in their teeth to be wholly focused on you and what you are doing or thinking or saying. Though, they will wonder what you are thinking if you look at them too long and make them feel a little paranoid.

In the end, take a breath, stop thinking and start talking.

Communicating as an Introvert

Great Things to do While Unemployed (or Underemployed)

I read a sensible post about things you can do while you are unemployed. It was sensible. Probably practical even. But, it did not deal with the issue of keeping your soul alive, your spirits up and your creative energy high while you go through the ups and downs of being unemployed.

Being without a job is bad enough. You need that nice, lovely pay cheque. (Yes, that’s Canadian spelling).

However, the worst part about being unemployed is how it makes you feel. Some days you just don’t want to do anything. You don’t want to talk to anyone or be seen by anyone. These kind of days you could happily wear your pajamas and check email from under the blankets in your bed all day. But, that won’t be a good thing.

The more you close yourself off the more you disappear from the world and become cut off from everything. At the time it feels like this is just what you want. But, really, it isn’t what you want at all.

We all want to be vital and important and someone who is up and coming and out there. We all want to be a somebody!

Just because you are unemployed, somewhat financially challenged and feeling kind of down… that doesn’t make you an instant hermit.

So, this is the time in your life when you most need to push yourself out there into the world. Like a baby chick just leaving the nest, you have to step out of your comfortable, reliable nest and dodge cats, watch out for cars and other hard objects in your flight path and find your spirit again.

This is a time to bring yourself out again. Dust off who you really are versus the person you became to suit the job you used to have. We all change to suit, like a chameleon. Now is a great time to snap back into your non-chameleon self.

Rediscover who you are.

I know it sounds kind of silly, but take some personality quizes. There are lots of them online. Take the silly ones and the serious ones. Try the Myers Brigg personality test and find out your four little letters.

Use all this information. Weed out the stuff that doesn’t sound like the real you. The stuff that is leftover from the employed you.

Now go do something that the real you would like to do.

Rediscover your hobbies, your passions and the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning.

Think back in your life, what did you love when you had time to love something outside of your regular family and work life? Think all the way back to when you were a kid if you have to go that far back. Did you write penpal letters, did you fly remote controlled airplanes, did you crochet?… Somewhere in your past there is something you love and have had to put aside while you focused on work, career or business instead.

Bring your old passions back into your life now, when you need some passion and motivation.

Keep a plan, a schedule of some kind each day too.

Writers can spend one hour writing each day, for instance. An artist can go to a new location each afternoon and paint, photograph, etc. Read up on new skills in your area of work. There is always something new you can learn. Join a local group involved in something in your field of work. Get out there and attend the meetings.

Or, become involved in local issues. Go to the town meetings, find out about the issues in your area. Become involved in change. Be a voice people will hear. (But, don’t be a jerk about it).

Volunteer somewhere. Don’t look at lists of places actually looking for a volunteer and leave it at that. Go to community groups, associations, societies, etc. and ask if they would like a volunteer. Suggest things you could do, things you would like to do and things you are good at doing. Yes, it’s a good way to keep involved and you can keep on top of skills you have and build up your experience, those are all good, practical reasons to volunteer. But, really, it’s about having something to do, a schedule and people who will be counting on you to appear and accomplish things.

Even if you do nothing else – get out of your home area at least one hour every day. Don’t become a gradual shut-in hermit type. That just isn’t you. Plus, you’ll get that weird smell.

Meet new people.

Just smile at someone as you pass by, for a start. When you buy a coffee, start small talk with the cashier. Cashiers are great at small talk. So you don’t have to do much once you start the ball rolling and begin the conversation. A short, simple conversation while you pay for your coffee, groceries, lumber, whatever. A small thing like that can make a big difference in how you feel. Without some kind of social (real, not online) contact you can start feeling disassociated, cut off from the rest of the people on the planet.

Try something new to you.

It may be an art like photography, or a craft like knitting, or skill you can learn like bookkeeping. Keep your brain evolving. Trying something new and having to make your brain work is a good thing. Failing and then learning and continuing to try are also great things for you now. You won’t like the learning curve while you work on this new skill but the accomplished feeling you get once you become good will be well worth the momentary frustration of learning something new.

Create a Crazy Resume

You’ll be writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing your resume countless times. So take one of those times to go crazy with it. Play and have fun with the whole resume thing. Break the rules.

Add colour to your resume. Doodle on the margins, Highlight words, whatever you like. Print it on coloured paper. Use coloured fonts. Draw in crayon on it if you want to.

Add silly skills to your resume. Add things like master teeth brusher, independent car washer, amateur kite flyer, anything you have actually done but would never add to a resume. You may even find yourself discovering a skill worth adding once you stop being so serious about analyzing your skills and experience. But, that isn’t the point. Make yourself sound all puffed up and important for the bits of nothing, the silly skills and all the other stuff we take for granted about ourselves.

Stick your crazy resume up where it can be seen. Someone will laugh about it. Someone will be slightly jealous over your creativity and someone will copy the idea. It’s all good.

You probably shouldn’t send that resume to anyone, in a professional sort of way. But, aren’t you curious about what would happen it you did? You might actually hear back from some of those stuffed shirts who never reply to anything. Kind of tempting isn’t it? Of course, I can’t officially recommend anyone actually sending a crazy resume…

It’s Just a Silly Job Interview

Get together with friends and do job interviews for jobs you make up or would never actually apply for. Go big and interview to the the new owner of McDonalds or WalMart. What does it matter? Go small and interview to be the under-manager of shower curtain inspection. Something silly and non-existent (I hope. Surely there isn’t someone going around inspecting shower curtains in people’s homes).

Do all the really awful interview questions.

  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What do you consider a weakness in yourself?
  • Are you a team player?

But, have fun with it all. Poke fun at the interview process and the questions they ask. Laugh about it all.

Freelance, Consultant or Start your own Business?

Consider going freelance, setting yourself up as a consultant or starting your own business. This is a time when you might find DIY works for you. Sure it’s a risk and you could fail. But, you have time to make plans, find resources and see how much you can do without spending a lot of money.

Go to the library and read information online about freelancing and consulting. What areas of existing business could really use your skills, not as an employee but an outside contractor?

Look around your neighbourhood, what service is needed that you could provide? Where do you see a need you could fill? Keep it practical. Don’t go over your head when it comes to the money you would need to start up or the time and energy it would take to maintain your business/ service.

Start with a business plan. What do you want to do and how feasible is your idea? A well thought out business plan can really help you understand what you are doing, the risks, the chances for success and how other people with similar businesses and services can fit in with your new business or service.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to start the next Tim Horton’s (huge Canadian coffee shop), or be your own Mr. WalMart, etc. Your business just needs to bring in the income you need for your needs. It’s perfectly ok to think local and think small. You don’t have to go in for a world domination plot. Leave that pressure for the next generation.

It’s All About YOU!

Bring, and keep yourself, out of your shell. Don’t sink into a depression, or a decline like a romance novel heroine of old.

Use this free time to your advantage to build yourself up and bring back the creativity, inspiration and passion you had to suppress while you were being a devoted worker bee.

Not only will you feel better emotionally and physically but you will sound better when you do apply for a job and write a real resume. It’s funny how your attitude and emotions leak out even when you think you are being the perfect professional. So, keep yourself feeling strong.

Best wishes to you!

Bookpacking is Such a Great Word

winter readingI first heard of the word, bookpacking, in the Suite101 post which I have linked to below. I think it is great to have an actual, understandable, word for something I have been doing since I learned to read.

In the bookpacking post the writer combines bookpacking with exercise. I haven’t always done it that way, at least not deliberately. I do take the bus, walk along downtown, go shopping or even take a day trip or road trip. I always pack a book with me (and my camera for the past several years).

Bookpacking is such a great word.

Are you one of the people who typically carries at least one book around with you, where ever you go? Even if you might not get a chance to settle in somewhere and have the alone, or quiet time to read… do you always have a book, just in case? I do.

I don’t think you can take an eReader on a bookpacking excursion. It might get bumped and banged around, it could get wet or you may not have enough battery power to keep the lights on. Besides, there are always times when the old reliable paperback is just what you need.

The Elements of Successful Bookpacking

First, the book you want to read. Not just any book you happened to pick. You need a good book and a book you are in the mood to read. You could pick a book which is well written and seems to have a great story… but you just aren’t in the mood to read it for some reason. So, you need the right book at the right time.

Second, you need something to carry your book and other accumulated gear around with you. These days we often carry around more stuff in order to be green. I keep a backpack with cloth bags for grocery shopping, sometimes a reusable coffee mug too. The mug doesn’t work out so well if you stop at a second place before you have washed it out.

My backpack gives me space to stash my purse inside it too. If I’m on a longer trip I carry a map book, my camera, paper and pens and assorted other standard stuff (for me).

Make sure whatever you use to carry around your stuff is easy to carry around. Don’t pick something which is already a bit heavy, even before you pack it up. It’s only going to get heavier.

Next up is location. Not everyone can read just anywhere. I like semi-quiet. A little distraction with people watching is nice too. I tend to pick coffee shops. I really like enjoying a coffee while I read. Other nice places are libraries, museums, restaurants… pretty much any place with a comfortable chair, table and a niche that blocks out noise if it’s a busy place.

Assorted Extras

Bookmarks. Of course, you can turn down the top of a page. But this contributes to making books dog-earred. Meanwhile you can use anything slim enough as a bookmark. You could even use a real, actual bookmark.

Those real on-the-go sort of bookpackers might want a portable chair. However, this isn’t practical for the added weight of hauling it around yourself. For those with a vehicle to haul a portable chair around for them, it seems a bit redundant when you already have a nicely padded chair in the vehicle. But, it could be nice if you are on a bicycle or motorbike and want to take a break to read in the great outdoors. (Even then it occurs to me that a picnic blanket would be a better choice for it’s weight and multi-purposeness).

One thing I can not do is read on a moving vehicle. So, you may find yourself enjoying to read on the bus, ferry, and so on. There really are endless great locations to pull out your book and read a few pages or a few chapters if you have the time. If you do discover you can’t read on a moving vehicle either, just put your book away and try to look off into the distance for awhile. You may need to abandon the vehicle for at least a short time. Stop off at a coffee shop and read awhile, outside the vehicle or while the vehicle is parked.

On a Side Note…

There are a few times and instances when you shouldn’t bring out a book and read. Your brother may not think well of you if you bring a book to his hockey game and sit in the arena with your nose stuck in a book, not really watching his hockey game more than the odd quick glance up. Every once in awhile this comes up in my family. But, I am the only true bookpacker in the group. Still, its good to remember that not everyone is into bookpacking.


Bookpacking Combines Travel With Reading | Suite101  by Nelson Shogren

Easy ways to Stay Motivated…

Here are some easy ways to stay motivated….

  • Treat yourself to a new supply, book or tool
  • Recognize your progress
  • Pick ONE goal
  • Give yourself a reward

Getting things cleaned up is a much bigger help to motivation than anyone who is already tidy and organized would think.

I work in chaos and clutter. I have piles of paper related items all around me it seems. I’ve got them on the surface of my desk – where I could have my little scanner set up and just keep the gear for my camera and nothing else but a hot mug of fresh coffee, if I cleaned it all up. I’ve got books in stacks on the floor because I was going to get to them much sooner than this. Something else comes along and they are moved, shuffled around and soon become part of the landscape rather than something I’m working on currently.

I’ve even got clothes to put away, sort out and disinter from my closet. It’s time for the clothes I haven’t worn in ages to make an appearance out in the world, where someone else can use them.

Clean is a big deal. Not being clean is nothing but a monumental distraction and a drain on your energy.

What are your #FirstWorldProblems?

I found this on Twitter. #FirstWorldProblems may have started from First World Life, I’m not sure.

How many First World Problems can you think up?

  • My coffee gets cold too fast but one of those coffee cup warmers won’t fit on my computer desk. #FirstWorldProblems
  • I wanted to just do nothing today but I have to go out for fast food with friends. I hope it’s air conditioned. #FirstWorldProblems
  • I had to figure out how to transfer money between my accounts – it took forever! #FirstWorldProblems
  • The kids wanted to run in the sprinkler today. I had to figure out how to hook up the new gadget to turn on the hose. #FirstWorldProblems
  • I couldn’t decide what to wear so I threw on something so I could go to the mall and buy a new outfit. #FirstWorldProblems
  • Decluttering is tough. I had a car load to take to the thrift store and still have more to sort through. #FirstWorldProblems


How to Start a Fresh Blog Post When You’re Stuck

Everyone hits a blank now and then. Don’t get impatient with yourself. Take a quick break, make yourself another coffee, start a load of laundry or walk around the block once or twice. Then come back and use one of these to give your post a fresh start:

  • Use a statistic you find somewhere. Look for a surprising statistic, something unexpected or controversial.
  • Share something from your personal experience. Work on your storytelling.
  • Ask a question. The best questions are those which are sincere, something you really do want to know.
  • Write a description. Don’t forget all the 6 senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Share your vision.
  • Write a critique or review of something. Be honest and fair.
  • Rant about something. Throw your passion into it.
  • Use a metaphor, an analogy or a simile – remember your high school English classes and get clever.


SketchCrawl: Drawing Marathons from Around the World

The basic idea: to record nonstop everything I could around me with my pencil and watercolors. A drawn journal filled with details ranging from the all the coffee I drank to the different buses I took. After a whole day of drawing and walking around the city the name seemed quite fitting: “SketchCrawl” – a drawing marathon. The crawl was more tiring than I imagined but also more fun and exciting than I had thought. Giving yourself this kind of mandate for a full day changes the way you look around you. It makes you stop and see things just a tad longer, just a bit deeper … needless to say I loved it.

I soon figured out it was much more interesting to do the marathon with a group of artists instead of all by myself! And so SketchCrawl turned communal. After a whole day of drawing it proved to be amazingly interesting and inspiring to share and compare other people’s drawings and thoughts. Different takes on our surroundings, different details, different sensibilities.

The next step was making the SketchCrawl a World Wide event: having people from different corners of the world join in a day of sketching and journaling and then, thanks to the Internet, having everyone share the results on an online forum.

So here it is, we have a website now, a few Crawls behind me, some by myself some with friends and artists from around the world … and hopefully plenty SketchCrawls ahead of us.

– Enrico Casarosa, San Francisco, California – February 2006

via SketchCrawl™ – drawing marathons from around the world.

You’re the Star of your Documentary

I read a post about documenting life through the photographs we take. I got thinking about how small things that happen can mean a lot and shouldn’t be too easily overlooked. The place you go for coffee, the spot you always like to sit and the same coffee mug they serve you with. Right now it’s common place, every day. In a few years when your life has changed and you live in a different place or whatever else may have happened to you in between… it would be nice to come across a photo of yourself in your coffee place and remember when that moment was nothing special, just every day ordinary.

Think about the things you do which aren’t special. Document them. Write about the event, the situation, all the details – think of it as leaving your future self a note. Then take a photograph too. Or, get someone to photograph you so you can be in your own documentary.

What Do Happy Pills Look Like?

Do you write better when you are light headed and starving? I think not. Yet, here I am, writing on a day (so far) of fasting. I’m not cleansing. I’m just being a bit lazy about making anything edible. Later I need to get out, catch the bus and get coffee. I’ve been putting off the trip since this morning. Not so much a lack of energy as a lack of bother. Some days I really could just be a happy, little hermit.

New legal anabolic steroid now available in the US– Yes that’s a paid link. Although I do take steroids (in my asthma inhaler) I really don’t know anything about them. I don’t read about the side effects and I really don’t want to know too much about long term effects. I’m not much of a health nut.

I don’t read much about nutrition either the technical details about things like proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates and so on. Sometimes I read about making better choices with food and things like hidden salt and sugar and types of fat. Not a lot. I think I don’t really want to know too much.

I do take vitamins. I have multi-vitamins which I tend to forget until I realize they’re about to expire in another month. Then I try to put them in a spot where I will see them and remember to take them. I still don’t remember. Usually I’m just busy with something else at the time I think about them and then, I don’t remember them later when I could take a break and grab a vitamin. But, I do sporadically take Apple Cider Vinegar as an antioxidant and Wild Salmon Fish Oil for Omega3. Mainly, I hope the fish oil will help my skin. I’ve always had dry skin. it does seem to help, but I’m not really sure how much.

There are sites online where you can order all kinds of pills, vitamins and supplements, like Predator Nutrition. I’m always surprised by how much there is when I look down the vitamin and nutrition sort of pills in the drug store or the grocery store even. I’m sure it’s a growing industry when I see it all spread out down the length of the whole store aisle.

Still, there isn’t a magic cure for anything yet. No pill that will turn you from fat to fabulous in a day. I did see a movie where they had a machine like that. It’s the only part of the movie I actually do remember. But, it was a pretty bad movie.

If there were a magical pill that would give you whatever change you want, overnight… What would the pill look like? We all think about quick cures but when do we imagine what they would look like? 

Note: The happy pills in the photo come from KawaiiCloudShop on Etsy.