Many people classify themselves as shy and admit to struggling with things like public speaking and public engagements. However, we don’t typically think of “shy” as a way of describing someone famous. The truth is there are far more famous people who overcame shyness than one might think. It almost seems like a contradiction for someone who is shy to perform in the public eye, but sometimes it is a way for shy people to express themselves and their creativity.
Two of the most iconic American talk show hosts admitted to being very shy. “Tonight Show” star Johnny Carson and late night personality David Letterman were both very shy people. They worked to overcome their shyness and appeared before millions each night on their TV’s looking more confident than just about anyone on television.
Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Records, was extremely shy growing up. He would cower behind his mother when asked to interact with others. As he grew older, he remained shy but had to learn to overcome that shyness as part of his career. While he still considers himself an introvert, he learned how to train himself to be more of an extrovert. It paid off because his record label has been immensely successful.
We know him as one of the funniest men on the planet, but actor Will Ferrell used to be painfully shy. As he got older he would use funny antics to help him overcome his shyness. He forced himself to do crazy things in public to desensitize himself from his shyness. While he is still shy at heart, he has learned how to overcome it just enough to be comfortable performing in the public eye.
Abraham Lincoln was more than just the 16th president of the United States. He was a great communicator, successful businessman, and towering figure that presided over the Civil War. Despite his affinity for storytelling, Abe was actually described as a very quiet man. He was very shy but never let that stop him from pursuing his dreams.
Barbara Streisand and Nicole Kidman are two female leading ladies that have both struggled with shyness. Both women have admitted to feeling awkward onstage and struggling to fit in. Nonetheless, their drive, ingenuity, and persistence paid off and helped them to overcome their shyness and pursue their dreams.
This should come as an encouragement to those who are shy. If you stay committed and keep working toward your goals, you can make it in your profession despite your inhibitions. Whether it is imploring special techniques to improve your speaking skills, positive thinking, training, or just a lot of hard work and ambition, there is no doubt that your shyness can be overcome and you can reach great success.