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24 Creative Geniuses Who Inspire Boldness (even if you're shy or socially anxious)

mind of creative genius

“Any step in the direction of expressing your creative impulses is a step in the direction of actualizing the genius that resides within you.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer

Genius? Expressing creative impulses? Isn’t that aiming a little high? I’m just trying to survive.

If this represents the tired record playing in your mind, stick around for some major inspiration.

Perfection on the outside, with a sense of burning loneliness or numbness on the inside, is a dead-end approach.  It will sap your energy and leave a big hole in your life and heart.

You get this.

Do you hesitate when something new or exciting presents itself? You might tell yourself you tried before and failed, you don’t know how, or you’ll look stupid.

Imagine you couldn’t fail with others, what would you do?

Make friends and find love.

Have fun at social events.

Not assume you are the problem.

Enjoy speaking with interesting people.

Say yes to your purpose.

Get so good at failing you succeed.

Maybe you would simply be yourself and forget the rest.

But how do you get there?

You don’t do it by masking your feelings or scaring yourself.  

Instead of putting up a wall and carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, lean on geniuses and use your imagination.  We are talking huge growth potential.

These 24 creative geniuses will inspire you to take bold action through your struggles and fears.  They may not all be shy or anxious, but they figured something out through their mindset and actions that you can use.  You are capable of genius and already good enough to take your first step.

See yourself as a creative genius capable of bold action.  

You are unique and here for a reason and deserve a bold and full life as you are right now.  Take action as you become bold, not after.  Set targets, start small, and build.

By the end of this post, you will know what it takes to transform fear of judgment, shyness, and anxiety towards bold action through AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE, and (strategic) ACTION.  Your desires can become greater than fear of judgment.  You can continue to learn how to become more aware and accepting and shift your focus towards what matters.

Apply the steps and mindsets from these enriching individuals until you find what works best for you.  There is an endless source of inspiration to access, so go straight to the source to truly get the best of what they have to offer.  These are all non-affiliate recommendations.

A few disclaimers.  I reference social anxiety, sensitivity, shyness, and introversion, but they are all different from one another.  You can be a confident introvert, a socially anxious extrovert, or a shy and socially anxious introvert.  Over time, you may have come to perceive yourself a certain way and you may have built up limiting beliefs.  It’s time to break free of labels but still build your life up to suit you.  If you are introverted, that is just where you get your energy so don’t fight it.

You can influence the fear and anxiety to improve your circumstances and journey through bold action.  So take different actions, based on what is holding you back.

Consider the possibilities of going on a memorable journey to embellish your imperfect, bold, and creative life.  (Of course, I’m not a doctor, so always seek professional help as needed.)

AWARENESS is Bliss

It’s here, the truth, you can’t turn back now.  You can’t unlearn what you know.  Once you know the truth you will be accountable for your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

If you don’t know what you want, then you owe it to yourself to spend some time on this.

You probably think you don’t want to draw attention to yourself but this isn’t about ego.  Find what you want.  If it has anything to do with how others see you, keep digging deeper to get to the core as you build awareness.

Shift from identifying yourself by how others see you to focus less on judgment and more on connecting with others and living your purpose.

This group will help you develop AWARENESS to stop relying on things outside your control and align with your imagination and true self.

  1. Dan Millman – bestselling author, former world champion athlete, popular international speaker, Stanford University coach, martial arts instructor and Oberlin College professor.  He authored 16 books, including his semi-autobiographical classic, Way of the Peaceful Warrior (released as a film with Nick Nolte by Universal in 2007). Dan has influenced people from all walks of life.  

In Way of the Peaceful Warrior, we see on the outside Dan’s life is set, on the fast track to huge athletic success, but something haunts him.  He finds his future mentor and friend, he nicknames Socrates, in an all-night gas station.  A once-in-a-lifetime friendship and mentorship begins.  Through Soc’s wisdom, lessons, and humor, he learns he was never awake.

An accident proves to be a true test on a larger quest to rebuild everything.  He learns good habits outshine bad, anger is stronger than fear and anxiety, the value of action, and to not take it all so seriously.  He keeps showing up through frustrations, and must SURRENDER HIS EGO and impulses using SILENCE and MEDITATION.

Dan’s paved road offered short-term happiness, but he would not have found peace there.  Break the pattern of the expected path and realize there’s a better life, a WARRIOR, within you.  I’d recommend this wonderful book it if you want meaningful inspiration to meditate and transform.

I also love his other book (and app) The Life You Were Born to Live for clarity and a deep and tailored approach to facing your issues and fulfilling your destiny.  Dan is also finishing up his newest book, The Hidden School, due out in 2017.  Learn more about his books, speaking events and online courses, audio programs and life-purpose guidance at:  www.PeacefulWarrior.com.

Image Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

  1. Thandie Newton – actress known for roles in The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission: Impossible II, and Crash, in which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Thandie shares her difficulties being seen and fitting in, promoting awareness and oneness in her TED talk.  When she was younger, she felt rejection, panic, confusion, shame, anxiety, and hopelessness.  Things changed when she began expressing herself with dancing and acting.  She stopped getting in her own way and became present in moments of expression, afterwards returning to her “gnarly, awkward self’.

Thandie explains we’d think it was about fitting into an ideal but it’s actually a clever way our brains try to cheat out of the “reality of death”.  The solution is to find our ONENESS.  We will always be searching until we connect to the Creator through awareness.

She also mistook her ability to feel others’ pain as lacking substance herself but learned the very feelings she was avoiding was that awareness and connection.  She says when we practice more and more, swapping desensitization for living from our essence, incredible things will happen.

Image Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

  1. Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D. – was a 21 time best-selling author who helped millions find their inner gifts and destinies.

Wayne Dyer was called the ‘father of motivation’.  It is inspiring to learn he was bouncing around foster homes after his mother left him, his siblings, and alcoholic father for a time.  Many would take a different path, blaming others or hating their situation, but he chose boldness.  He learned self-reliance and took full ACCOUNTABILITY for his situation.

He taught millions to honor their spirit and know the power of the limitless mind to create anything and transform beyond labels.  His book The Power of Intention: Change the Way You Look at Things and the Things You Look at Will Change will help you to use your energy effectively.  A moment of insight led him to see INTENTION as a field of energy to access, beyond your ego, to reshape your life.

Respond to doubt by saying “intent” or “intention” as a reminder to be at peace.  Replace negative thoughts with abundance.  If you are not sure what you want, sync your energy up to your inner dialogue.

Talk to your ego and take control.  Let go of the need to win, acquire, or care if others judge you.  Wayne told us to see ourselves as infinite and connected to the Source and to use the power of IMAGINATION, over ego and willpower, to influence action, change, and peace.

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  1. Steve Flowers, MS, MFTauthor of The Mindful Path Through Shyness: How Mindfulness & Compassion Can Help free your from Social Anxiety, Fear & Avoidance.  Founder and director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic in California.

Steve helps people with chronic shyness and social anxiety and learned to let his negative thoughts and feelings just be.

Due to difficult circumstances growing up, he developed a fear of judgment.  He put up a wall and hid from fearful situations. When he stopped being so hard on himself, and trying to correct himself, he learned to connect.

Break out of automatic pilot and shift towards what matters using mindfulness.  Build a MOMENT-TO-MOMENT AWARENESS to see how your thoughts and emotions impact your experiences and apply kindness and self-compassion.

I related to Steve’s story and his advice on MINDFULNESS BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY (MBCT).  He provides first hand insight with great and humorous analogies that stick with you and activities to perform to build your awareness so you can break out of the prison you created to protect yourself.

  1. David K. Reynolds PhD – author of Constructive Living and A Handbook for Constructive Living. Leading Western authority for Japanese Psychotherapies.  Constructive Living articles have appeared in top magazines.

When Dan Millman gives you a recommendation, you take it.  I’m so glad I did because Constructive Living is an excellent book of common sense actions to outgrow problems (yes, please).

David recognized similar social tendencies he had with the Japanese culture and became an anthropologist and studied the mindful Morita Psychotherapy.  He helped himself and developed American Morita to help others, based on the solid Japanese history.  Constructive Living will help you to learn to solve the root of your problems with exercises to learn the principals.

If you put on a false front and stay small, this book can help you be yourself.  If you dream of impossible goals, it will help you take grounded actions.  It can help you to stop comparing yourself to others, noticing the tiny errors you make, and wondering why or wishing you weren’t shy or anxious.

Accept our uncontrollable FEELINGS and instead INFLUENCE THEM with ATTENTION and ACTION.  Consider the possibilities of redirecting your sensitive energy so you can respond better each day, help others, and build a rich and emotional life.  Check out the site for books, tapes, and quotes.  “You must take responsibility for what you do no matter how you feel.”

Image Source Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

  1. Amy Cuddy – Harvard Social Psychologist and best-selling author of Presence: bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges. Her groundbreaking research is published in top academic journals and has brought much praise and recognition.

Amy’s TED Talk explored nonverbal communication and the POWER POSE and it became one of the most popular talks ever.  It was clear this resonated with all types of people.  She poured into her research and wrote Presence.

After a traumatic brain injury, as a passenger in a bad car accident, her whole life turned upside down.  She left college, doctors doubted her outlook, and her IQ dropped thirty points.  She had to go through various therapies and her closest friends pulled away.  Confused, anxious, and frustrated she did her best to fit in but felt like an impostor.

Her abilities returned as she focused on relearning and building her interest in Psychology.  She graduated and focused on presence, power, confidence, and doubt.  Amy explains people will see through fake confidence and real relationships are built on presence.

The goal is to shift your attention from the desired outcome to the present moment to harness your power.  Let your body tell your mind how you feel and your mind drive your behavior.  This book provides powerful tools, so become IN SYNC with YOURSELF and cut your anxiety by standing like a starfish and connecting with your core beliefs.

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  1. Lewis Howesbest-selling author, lifestyle entrepreneur, former world record holding pro athlete, and White House and Presidential recognition as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the US under 30.  He has been  featured in major media outlets, and top self-help podcast host of The School of Greatness.

One year into a professional football career left him in a cast, in debt, with a lost dream of turning professional, and living on his sister’s couch.  Instead of thinking his dream was over, he chose to zoom out his perspective.  He shifted his VISION over to greatness.

He used his instincts, worked hard, and built and looked to his network for advice.  He went from reacting to responding and ego was no longer a barrier in his life and business. He promotes honesty, vulnerability, and overcoming fear so we can apply the ‘shameless urgency’ needed for success.  Tackle it on a small scale, incorporate positive habits, and build until you are skilled and equipped to hold yourself accountable to handle success.

Lewis learned from the greatest thinkers and doers in the world.  His book The School of Greatness: a Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy is the accumulation of that education.

He promotes a win-win attitude to build relationships and to step out of your comfort zone to grow your mindset.  The book provides everything needed to develop a meaningful purpose and the routine and mindset to support it.  Learn the power of awareness towards your vision.

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  1. Kain Ramsay – among the top UK’s best selling course creators, strategic life & Career coach.  Helps thousands overcome anxiety, cut stress, and increase self-confidence.

When Kain left the British Army, it shook his sense of identity.  After transitioning to business, he found he could not break out of the cycle of judgment and perfectionism.

He decided he could no longer define himself by what he did.  He shifted his IDENTITY to be based on WHO HE WAS.  Now he knows if he makes a mistake, it does not define him.

He transitioned again to Psychology & the Social Sciences, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Counseling and Theology.  His knowledge, discoveries, and storytelling skills allowed him to create and sell various life-changing self-improvement courses to over 25,000.

He overcame his limiting beliefs and shows how small changes in thinking can bring massive results.  In his course, Unshakable Confidence | The Ultimate Self Esteem Formula, he teaches the value of shifting from fear and security to FAITH and FREEDOM.

ACCEPTANCE

Accept yourself as you are to develop intuition and tune into your creativity.  How can you take bold action if you don’t accept who you are? You can fake it in the short term, but we need to overcome the ego as the driving force.

It’s time to take a good look at how you treat yourself.  What are some things you tell yourself?  Are your thoughts fear-based or based upon how others perceive you? Are you afraid anything good might be taken from you at any moment? Maybe that there is no point and nothing ever works.

Become more kind to yourself.  Your whole world will open up in unexpected ways.  You will start to build true connections with others and life a more full life built for bold action.

Learn to accept and love your fear, instincts, creativity, heart, imperfection, good situations, bad situations, different personalities, and yourself.

These eight will help you to heal your wounds and find joy so every day can be fresh and open for boldness, unexpected turns, feelings, and growth.

Image Source © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders 2015

  1. Elizabeth Gilbert – best-selling author who gives you permission to live a vibrant and creative life.  She is best known for Eat, pray, love: one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia and Big magic: creative living beyond fear. Named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.

Elizabeth collects experiences and pursues stories near and far when curiosity strikes.  By the end of Big Magic, you will think you made a cultured and hilarious best friend.

As a child, she feared everything, but her mother would not allow her to use that as an excuse.  She offers that fear is boring but important to address it so it won’t run the show.  She shares the most hilarious letter to her fear.  You need to GIVE YOUR FEAR ROOM to join, but not make decisions.

Elizabeth says we are all ENTITLED to CREATIVE LIVING and it takes BRAVERY to FIND THE STRANGE JEWELS buried deep within us.  That magic ideas are floating out there wanting to find a home but need you to be open to them or they will move on to someone else.

Dive deep and apply all of yourself to discover them.  Greet your fear with a letter and crack open a world of curiosity to pursue your creative life.

  1. Danny Raede – CEO and co-founder of Asperger Experts, National Council on Independent Living’s Diana Vietz Award winner.  He shares his passion for leading a full and rich life and has earned over $1 million in revenue helping parents better understand their children.

What Danny has learned to apply to Asperger’s can be very helpful to those dealing with Social Anxiety.

Danny believes self-knowledge is a great gift.  He educated himself on how to take action and overcome fear and doubt to live a successful, full, and independent life while living with Asperger’s.  As a child, he struggled with school, simple assignments took hours, and he spent most of his time numb and stuck with limited interaction and daily panic attacks.

When he went to college, he changed his situation. He committed to studying success, personal development, psychology, and business.  He discovered he needed to get out of DEFENSE MODE.  Rather than fighting anxiety, he learned the solution in applying UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and TRUST.  He built up his life and teaches others to do the same.

His site offers courses, videos, articles, workshops, and a support group for people and parents of kids with Aspergers.  He runs his company with parents, life coaches, and people on the spectrum and when he isn’t at work he enjoys a great life with great friends and travel.

Image Credit: Danny Clark

  1. Brené Brown, PhD – Best-Selling Author, Research Professor, Founder and CEO of COURAGEworks. Her research on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame can help you accept.  Her TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed.  

In her book Gift of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are, Brené recommends being aware of anxiety and apply calmness and stillness to respond instead of react.

Brené collected thousands of stories from a diverse group of people.  The one word she captured from reading them was ‘WHOLEHEARTED’ and being the pattern seeker she made a “Do” column for positive words and a “Don’t” column for the negative.  She was shocked to find words she had given value in her own life were showing up in the negative column.  Hard work and following the rules was lining up with perfection, fitting in, and judgment.

She knew she wasn’t living or loving with her whole heart and went on a soul-searching journey captured on her blog.  She encourages boundaries, meaningful work, paying attention to and taking accountability for your feelings, and EMBRACING VULNERABILITIES.  This book offers down-to-earth, honest perspective and serves as a great guide with tangible steps and inspiration to apply a heartfelt approach.

Clear away harmful clutter, don’t get caught up in self-doubt or just doing what is expected of you, and experience emotions again.  Overcome what is keeping you from living with your whole heart.

Image Source. Credit: Amy Paulson

  1. Glennon Doyle Melton – best-selling author of Carry on, warrior: thoughts on life unarmed and founder and president of Together Rising a non-profit raising over $4MM for vulnerable women and children.  Featured on major media outlets.

Glennon explains on her award-winning blog that years ago, on a Mother’s Day, she discovered she was pregnant.  She was unmarried and addicted to negative and destructive habits and not wanting to feel.  Right there she committed to turn around unhealthy relationships, addictions, and food around to a full and fabulous life.

She explains she is most proud of being a recoverer who decided to get up from the cold bathroom floor, pregnancy test in hand, to show up for life.  Alcohol and eating disorders masked her sensitivity and feelings to hide and feel safe.

Her philosophy now is that life is brutiful, that’s BRUTAL and BEAUTIFUL.  She said she has learned you can’t have one without the other. Bold and full living only comes when you embrace both.

Her writing is rich, honest, humorous, and inspiring.  She has learned what she likes instead of being on the receiving end of life, to let go of perfection and focus on her higher purpose and working with her strengths.  She has an amazing wit and humility.  I recommend her blog and book where she says you can watch her fall and get back up again, just like the rest of us.

Image Credit: © Jonathan Foust

  1. Tara Brach, PhDbest selling author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge.  Psychologist and leading teacher in the Western world of Buddhist thinking and meditation and applying it to emotional healing.

Tara explains the importance acknowledging and addressing your feelings with techniques offered in her book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.  Tara’s need to apply self-compassion and connect with others drew her to Buddhism.

As a teenager, she was successful on the outside but sensed a distance which evolved into anxiety and fear of rejection and disappointing others.  She became persistently overly driven, depressed, and lonely.  When her friend said she was learning to be her own best friend, Tara lost it.  She was so far from that, being hard on herself and avoiding pain with addictions and by pursuing achievements.  When even small things triggered her, she realized it was time to be kinder to herself.  Now that’s her message to us.  You can HEAL YOUR HEART and “trance of unworthiness” with AWARENESS and COMPASSION.  Find freedom to the degree with which you accept yourself.

She shares the story of a student who had sat at her mother’s bedside as she was dying.  The mother told her daughter that her whole life she thought something was wrong with herself and shook her head as if to say ‘what a waste’ and passed soon after.

Stop battling your life and experiences.  Heal your fears and wounds so you can connect and be your best self with an expansive heart.  Now Tara will always pause, ask herself, and name what needs her attention.  If she follows it through, she will connect and be genuine.  Check out her website for a free booklet on how to meditate and for downloadable lectures.

  1. Pat Flynnbestselling author, blogger, keynote speaker, and host of top rated business podcast The Smart Passive Income Podcast with over 30 million downloads.  An entrepreneurial champion and family man who demystifies running an online business. He created multiple businesses bringing awards and features in The New York Times and Forbes.  Advisor for LeadPages and other companies in the digital marketing arena.

I’m sure now he is so happy he lost his job years ago, but at the time I’m sure it was incredibly overwhelming.  Pat responded by overcoming self-doubt and using knowledge he had gained to write a book. He chronicles this journey in Let Go.

There was a moment where his book was ready to be live, but fear and doubt tugged at him.  Pat said it strikes when he does something new or uncomfortable that can change his life.  He asked himself why he was afraid.  After eliminating the ridiculous reasons, he realized it boiled down simply to no sales.  Pat took a chance on himself and has since built up a full life.

He uses this same mindset with his networking in order to start conversations and be a keynote speaker.  Just starting is what he has learned makes him comfortable.  By choosing how he reacts to UNPLANNED EVENTS, he chose to shape his reality and sees these as SEEDS of OPPORTUNITY.

Consider an adversity or opportunity and how you can react to it to shape your life.  It’s not about money, it’s about believing in yourself and your path and TAKING A CHANCE.  Take that first, uncomfortable step with your goals and with the people you meet.  It will get easier.  If you are also curious about creating an online business or podcast, I highly recommend his site.

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  1. Susan Cain – best selling author, most known for Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. Cofounder of Quiet Revolution.

Susan prefers “listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings”.  Ditto.  She helps introverted people unlock their power and apply their special talents.  There are ways to tune into your strengths to negotiate, give speeches, and built relationships.

Susan’s books explain and celebrate introverts.  She says it’s perfectly acceptable to be introverted and everyone should NOT HAVE to STRIVE to reach the EXTROVERTED IDEAL, except for when it will serve them.  Whether you are introverted or extroverted, we can all learn about different temperaments to understand how best to connect with one another because we all need one another.

Introversion is not something to cure, it’s just not preferring social stimuli.  You can still have big goals and she is proof.  We should all tune into and apply our natural gifts and not take out good qualities in an attempt to fit into an ideal.  Introspection, sensitivity, and caring what people think are valuable.

A great step towards accepting ourselves is to highlight what makes us unique.  No need to wait to be a different person to take action, you do it as who you are right now. Utilize your strengths and traits while LEARNING DIFFERENT TEMPERAMENTS.

STRATEGIC ACTION

Time for strategic, bold, creative action.  Actions is worth nothing if it is only in your head.  This group will help you set the stage to get the most out of your efforts.  Their inspiration will help if you ever worry that you never finish anything or if you get stuck because the journey seems too hard.

Remember, you are already good enough to start so don’t wait.  Map out a plan and make it happen.

Don’t worry about not being able to turn back, you won’t want to once your life starts to evolve.  You’ll know where you are headed so you don’t get stuck.

You won’t do or say things right at first and it is the only way to learn.  Don’t get discouraged if solutions don’t immediately work, persistence is the key.  You didn’t learn to speak in a day.  It’s a journey.

Take strategic action.  Don’t overthink it, just a simple working plan.  Once it works, just learn and repeat and your confidence will grow.  You may become a leader in your life to make decisions.

These eight will help you create action plans, strategies, and techniques that work.  Build a strong network.  Work your way up to bold action, to making decisions.  Commit fully and pour yourself into your new life:

  1. Hal Elrod – high rated keynote speaker, host of top rated Achieve Your Goals podcast, best selling author of Miracle Morning book series, and ultra marathon runner.  Hal appeared in many television and radio shows and multiple books including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

A driver plowed into Hal’s car when he was 20 years old.  Doctors declared him dead for six minutes, he was in a coma for six days, and then was told he may never walk again.  He proved to be a warrior and wants us to know we are each capable of overcoming adversity and creating extraordinary results.

Miracle Morning presents the incredible power of a positive morning routine to set your whole day up for success and realize cumulative benefits.  Start off the first hour of your day with Life SAVERS.  That’s SILENCE, using positive AFFIRMATIONS, VISUALIZING your success, EXERCISING, READING, and SCRIBING.  Expand your mind, body, and soul before others hit the snooze button.

Gain clarity with a meditating and silence routine.  It’s the best possible consistent action to incorporate into your routine.  Positive Affirmations and Visualization can help materialize your purpose when paired with action.  Get up and move your body for just minutes a day.  It will improve your health and mindset.  Reading will supply a limitless river of inspiration and knowledge.  Writing for minutes a day can provide an outlet of stress or add up to a completed book.  The possibilities are endless.

Don’t settle for a mediocre life, have the discipline and COMMIT to a 30 DAY PRACTICE.  You have the control to carry out your purpose and overcome anything.

  1. Dr. Anthony Metivierbest-selling author, professor, and memory course creator.

Anthony developed The Magnetic Memory Method which he describes on his site as “an elegant, effective and fun approach to using Memory Palaces, mnemonics and other memory techniques” to be able to remember and access any information you want to reference at any time.

He lost a friend to cancer who wanted him to be a high school teacher.  He had to make the tough decision it wasn’t for him by getting clear on his purpose and now educates thousands.  First, he learned to SELF-EDUCATE.  He grew up struggling with depression, cut school (which he does not recommend), and would listen to interviews in the mountains and read encyclopedias and books.  He recommends doing more than you are told to do and approach problems from all angles.  He learned to REVERSE ENGINEER SUCCESS from a diverse group of people he admired.  He’d ask questions and expand his social connections.  He developed SYSTEMS and TRACKED PROGRESS to spot gaps, bring consistency, and increase confidence.

Anthony also co-teaches a top-selling course on branding which can also help you get clear on your story through your experiences and adversities.  This course led me down a path of discovering patterns to address with shyness and anxiety.  Honesty is important here.  It’s not about glamour or meeting an ideal.

Others may have the best intentions for you, but you have to DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU in your heart.  I haven’t learned his memorization technique, but I believe by committing yourself to a MIND TECHNIQUE, you can increase the discipline of the mind and replicate it to overcome any challenge and achieve any goal.

  1. Ramit Sethibest-selling author and acclaimed finance adviser and entrepreneur into big wins. NY Times best-selling author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Ramit gives 98% of his stuff away, better than the paid stuff out there and is now applying that approach and his methodology to social skills.  Goodie!

These skills helped him go from a self-proclaimed “awkward weirdo” Stanford college kid to the, with a Fortune spread, a Good Morning America appearance, and in a photo with Warren Buffett in Forbes Magazine.  Like many of us, he made financial and social mistakes but instead of giving up, trying harder, or waiting for help, he cut through the excuses and decided to lead the way.

He recommends PLANNING REAL SCENARIOS and taking action, instead of imagining lofty ideas.  Pay attention to the feedback you get in real life.  PRACTICE and CALIBRATE.  Each time you experiment, you’ll want to increase what works and decrease what doesn’t, based on the feedback.  Check out his powerful free help with shyness, social skills, getting invited to events (and spend less Friday’s alone) and planning group meetups.

You can build a tangible plan for real-life scenarios right now and then practice and calibrate yourself each day.  If you need help with understanding your finances, also check out his amazing site and book.  He tells it like it is with humor and gives real, valuable, and actionable advice.

Image Source. Credit: Andrew (Drew) Kelly

  1. Tim Ferriss – best-selling author, angel-investor and adviser, entrepreneur and lifestyle design pioneer, and human guinea pig, featured by more than 100 media outlets.  Known for The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef.

The 4-Hour Workweek can help you break out your shell by no longer rationalizing your fears.  We all have doubts and can rise above them with bold and unconventional action, figuring things out as you go.  His approach is fresh and exciting, backed with tons of research and testing, and presented with genius simplicity towards acting on the top 20% of efforts to bring you the desired 80% results.

See if you can identify patterns in his history:

-He left college for a time out of frustration, tried a few jobs, opened gyms in Taiwan, learned kickboxing and won a national championship, returning to graduate from Princeton.

-Jobless, he emailed a CEO 32 times landing a dial for dollars job.  After a year of 12-hour days, he created a company and his income increased from $40K per year to $40K per month.

-Burned out, he went to Italy, taught, and deals fell through to sell his company.  He decided to remain indefinitely in Europe, empowered others, and unplugged except for one hour a week.  To his surprise, he found his profits increased 40%.  He cracked the code to his ideal lifestyle.

This may seem like a stretch to most of us, but you can challenge assumptions and expand your comfort zone in your own way.  Tim’s approach is to not do what everyone else is doing or wait for things to happen.  You think? He makes INTERESTING DECISIONS, steps away and towards EXCITEMENT when things don’t seem right, and returns with unexpected solutions.  He DOESN’T SETTLE, EVEN FOR SUCCESS.  When you fail, try again or try something different towards your passions.  If you need to learn something new on your journey, check out the 4-Hour Chef to learn how to learn.

Image Source: DFree / Shutterstock.com     

  1. Shonda Rhimes – award-winning creator of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice, and named one of 100 People Who Help Shape The World in Time Magazine.

Called out by her sister for always saying no.  She changes that and documents her journey in Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person.  She starts off by saying she is old and likes to lie which is so fantastic because she is a massively successful fiction writer who seems incapable of lying.  With a stack of declined invites and a speech folder called ‘Crap’ (isn’t that great?), she changes her life with one powerful word: “Yes”.

She learns to BRING the YES to HER LEVEL, to hold herself ACCOUNTABLE, and DO the HARD WORK.  I love where she agrees to do Jimmy Kimmel Live, because she must say yes, but only if it is not “Live”.  It takes boldness to say yes and to say it on your own terms.  This courage loosens up her shyness, awkwardness, and social fear.  Now she makes connections and gets involved with new and unexpected projects.

She learned to express herself and live a bold and full life.  She talks about being a badass warrior at work and learning to apply it to other areas of her life.  Each yes required her to take a step-by-step, and I’m sure painful, process she compares to surgery.  She says the problem is the open chest, the wound is challenge, and “yes” is the operation.

On her website she says EVERY YES CHANGES HER.  So, are you bored or numb? Instead of saying no to everything, consider the possibilities.  You may think there aren’t enough hours in the day but you will find you have more quality time when you can cut through wishy-washy, life-sucking apathy and the half ‘no’s’ and ‘maybe’s’.  See what happens when you start to say yes and get inspired by her hilarious, down-to-earth, and inspiring book.

Image credit: Joni Kabana

  1. Cheryl Strayed – best-selling author of her memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, later adapted into an Oscar-nominated film, Tiny Beautiful Things, Brave Enough, and her novel Torch.  

Cheryl will inspire you with her example of bravery and fierce step-by-step approach.  Her take on fear in Wild is that it’s born in the mind as a story and you can tell yourself a different one.  The story she creates plays out on an epic 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, through California to Oregon to Washington.

This is a physical and emotional journey of closure and self-discovery.  She confronts the pain she was avoiding, the grief over the death of her mother and the pain she caused in response to her grief.  Her addictions and betrayals caused her to lose her husband and herself.

With no hiking experience, other than a pamphlet she had seen, Cheryl moves through her difficult journey, from beginning to end, one step at a time.

This is a personal journey, she doesn’t go around telling her reasons or even writing the book for a long time.  I recommend this honest, gritty, and beautiful story.  You can apply inspiration of this fearlessness to your own life.  TELL YOURSELF A DIFFERENT STORY and deal with your skeletons.  You need not go on an 1,100 mile hike, or maybe you do, but commit and dedicate yourself to a mission and journey and WORK HARD THROUGH IT.  Take ONE STEP AT A TIME towards your bold life.  Read Wild for inspiration to take authentic and personal action that will put you in the driver’s seat.

  1. Sebastiaan van der Schrier – Social Confidence Coach who blends Western traditional and Eastern Energy psychology and makes Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) accessible so everyone can attain effortless social confidence.

Seb experienced severe social anxiety and after years of dealing with the negative feelings that go along with social anxiety like fear, guilt, and shame, he decided to relentlessly pursue solutions until he found what worked.  He put himself in awkward situation, purposely getting rejected, and gained short-term confidence having to start all over again.

Nothing was working for him until he discovered EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE (EFT).  After studying it and working with top therapists and practitioners for years, he learned how to apply it STRATEGICALLY.  He has fined tuned a STEP-BY-STEP approach that’s helped him and his clients.  Everyone has their own timetable, but he has seen it dramatically speed up results by REMOVING the LEARNED NEGATIVE ASSOCIATIONS.

He now enjoys effortless social confidence, a full life, connections, and a successful business as a digital nomad.  Seb offers free videos on YouTube that teach EFT and his Social Confidence System addresses social anxiety from all angles.  He says it doesn’t have to be a painful, awkward, scary experience to face your fears.  There are gentle, effective, and lasting alternatives.

On his podcast Social Anxiety Solutions, he is joined with top therapists, experts, and practitioners and you can find tangible, unique, non-gimmicky, and easy to carry out ideas here.  To hear more about his journey, listen to our interview on his podcast where he took an exception and let me interview him.

  1. Jon Morrow – CEO of Smart Blogger – a company dedicated to teaching you what it really takes to attract loyal readers, get more traffic, and become a respected authority.  His company built an audience of over 100,000 subscribers and makes $100k monthly.

If Jon’s story doesn’t get you taking action, I don’t know who will.  When he was just one, a doctor diagnosed him with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular disorder.  His mother left the hospital told to not to expect him to live over a year.  She took charge and refused to let this happen.

He fought pneumonia 16 times in 16 years and his mother insisted on fighting for him, not just to survive, but to live the best life.  She didn’t let him sit back and live a safe and boring life.  He credits her as the reason he is one of the oldest survivors of his disorder.

Then, he was in a car accident breaking his legs in 14 places.  With his money already going to medical bills, he knew it was not going to work.  He quit his job and applied his mother’s warrior mentality towards his work ethic.  He fought and continues to fight with the best work and writing he has in him.  He poured all of his time and self into his blog. He sold it, as a best in business/money nominated blog, for five figures and moved to Mexico to start a new business focused on helping people.  I’m writing to you now due to Jon Morrow’s inspiration and knowledge.

People will try to discount you and you can’t wait for the world to hand you success.  You must THROW YOURSELF into your WORK with all your HEART and EFFORT.  You, your ideas, and the people you can help are all WORTH IT.

Don’t expect anything worthwhile to be easy.  What fun would that be? Apply this mindset to anything you want as inspiration to take action despite adversity.  His site is an amazing resource of valuable information about running a blog at any stage and his story and work ethic is inspirational.

  1. Jordan Harbinger – lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and Entrepreneur, owner, and co-founder of The Art of Charm dating and coaching company and top 50 iTunes podcast.  Forbes named him one of the 50 best relationship-builders anywhere and Inc. Magazine called him “the Charlie Rose of Podcasting”.

Jordan’s company holds boot camps and coaching sessions for men that want to improve their emotional intelligence and confidence.  He brings business sense and industry knowledge and uses a contemporary approach to teaching.  He started out helping private companies test communications system security and worked with law enforcement agencies, spending several years in Europe and the developing world.

He explains the value of HAVING A SYSTEM and LEARNING TO CALIBRATE on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast episode where they discussed charisma and the VALUE OF NETWORKING.  Being an introverted person, he shared he would overcompensate early in his life.  He learned to dial back and find a balance while staying his honest and relatable self.  He also says you think you will remember how you know people, but it does not work this way.  Jordan recommends TRACKING PEOPLE YOU MEET ALONG WITH SOMETHING ABOUT THEM.  This will help you reference how you can connect people that can help one another.  This may seem like it should come naturally, but us shy folk might lose the art and value of connection without a strategy like this.

His philosophy is to have a goal to always LEAVE PEOPLE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND THEM, even if you share a smile.  It will return to you when you need it.  It’s okay if you do not yet have a network, just start.  Yes, this is the opposite of what your instinct might be telling you, which is to not make eye contact and hope they won’t say anything to you.

It’s time to bring more flavor to your life and become a connector.  It may not seem possible until you start.  Check out his website or podcast for more tools and techniques.

CLOSING (and action) TIME

So many struggle with shyness or anxiety, be one of the ones that breaks free and takes bold action despite it and through it.

You may have been timid up to this point, but you cannot unlearn a sense of entitlement once you have it.  You are entitled to an exciting and rich life.  Through the stories of these 24 creative geniuses, you have no more excuses to living your own creative and bold life.

Do you settle, not know what you want, or not know what to do when fear strikes?

Build AWARENESS, apply ACCEPTANCE and use a STRATEGY to take ACTION once and for all!

Become AWARE of your connection:

  • Know your ONENESS. There is a WARRIOR beyond EGO through SILENCE and MEDITATION.
  • You are ACCOUNTABLE and have the power to change and overcome any adversity with INTENTION and IMAGINATION.
  • Learn MBCT to increase MOMENT-TO-MOMENT AWARENESS.
  • Use BEHAVIOR, where it counts, to INFLUENCE your FEELINGS.
  • Get IN SYNC with yourself using a POWER POSE and WRITE YOUR BELIEFS.
  • Build a VISION of GREATNESS towards what you want and base your IDENTITY on WHO YOU ARE with FAITH.

Learn to ACCEPT:

  • You are ENTITLED to CREATIVE LIVING.
  • Give FEAR and ANXIETY ROOM TO JOIN with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and TRUST.
  • Be BRAVE to find your STRANGE JEWELS hidden deep.
  • Live with your WHOLE HEART and EMBRACE VULNERABILITIES.
  • Living boldly with the BRUTAL and the BEAUTIFUL.
  • HEAL with AWARENESS and COMPASSION.
  • See UNPLANNED EVENTS as SEEDS OF OPPORTUNITY and TAKE A CHANCE.
  • There is nothing to correct in yourself.  Utilize your special strengths and traits. LEARN and ACCEPT DIFFERENT TEMPERAMENTS while others catch up.

Build and apply a Strategy to:

  • Build good habits.  Start off the first hour of your day in SILENCE, using positive AFFIRMATIONS, VISUALIZING your success, EXERCISING, READING, and SCRIBING.
  • Consider a strategy like a memorization or MIND TECHNIQUE and get clear on your brand stories to DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.  SELF-EDUCATE, REVERSE ENGINEER SUCCESS, develop SYSTEMS, PLAN SCENARIOS, PRACTICE, and TRACK, and CALIBRATE.
  • Make INTERESTING DECISIONS and create EXCITEMENT while EXPANDING your COMFORT ZONE.  NEVER SETTLE, EVEN FOR SUCCESS.  Say YES on YOUR LEVEL (possibly for a year!)
  • TELL YOURSELF A DIFFERENT STORY than fear.  WORK HARD THROUGH your journey and address skeletons ONE STEP AT A TIME.  Apply a STRATEGIC and proven STEP-BY-STEP approach, like EFT, to overcome social anxiety, referencing experts as needed.
  • THROW YOURSELF into your WORK with all your HEART and EFFORT because it is all WORTH IT.
  • NETWORK, TRACK PEOPLE, and always LEAVE THEM BETTER THAN YOU FOUND THEM.

Don’t wait to be confident or better to take action, everyone has doubts. Don’t waste your life going through thinking something is wrong with you.  There isn’t.

Decide it’s worth bravery to live a creative life with your whole heart, to find treasures.

Now, all those years holding yourself back from bold actions are done.

That’s it, no more excuses. You have the CURSE of knowing that you are responsible, entitled, and capable.  You can handle and accept the good and the bad. You have the tools and systems at your disposal.

These 24 individuals will help lead you up to the starting line to your bold and creative life.  Now it’s up to you.  Of course, don’t take my word, go straight to the source and check out the sites of these creative individuals.

Will you say YES, take the first step?

Now is your time to take action and go after what you want.  Otherwise, another year will go by and nothing will change.  You’ll keep feeling you need to be better before going after your happiness, excitement, and purpose.  Flip around that philosophy and take your first step towards your purpose.
Believe in and invest in yourself.

Become an aware, accepting, strategic badass who takes bold action.

Become a WARRIOR!


Rachel Bourne is the creator of an upcoming website Sassy Samurai — dedicated to providing Social Anxiety and Shyness Support for You to build confidence and strength. Just check out the site to sign up for notification when we go live (and for free stuff!)

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen

You’ve read 24 Creative Geniuses Who Inspire Boldness (Even if You’re Shy or Socially Anxious), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.