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Do you dread going to work because of social anxiety?
Are you having a hard time keeping a job because of it?
Today, I’m answering a question about social anxiety and work and the challenges this presents.
And, what is possible if you determine to follow your path and discover your purpose.
Make it a priority to resolve social anxiety, do whatever it takes.
Don’t hold yourself back, go after the career and the life you want!
Sebastiaan: Hi, my name is Sebastiaan van der Schrier. I’m a former social anxiety disorder sufferer and a social confidence coach. I help people feel calm, relax and at ease in social situations. And in this week’s video I’m going to answer a question that was posted under one of my videos it’s by Icaro Oliviera if I’m saying that right. And here he goes,
“Hi, Sebastiaan. I suggest you talk about how your social anxiety impacted your professional life back then”.
Okay, now this is quite a funny question to answer because I’ve been a really bad employee. Like a horrible employee or an employee that you do not want in your company. I’ve been quite rebellious I would say in my teens. And so, I’ve had at least 30 different jobs and if I didn’t like it, I would just resign. Often, I would show up late until they fired me. I’ve been fired at least 10 times.
I’ve done a wide variety of jobs from like working in clothing, warehouses, picking orders, cleaning stuff, chopping meat, working in a supermarket, walking newspaper, working in a factory, taking a piece of wood, caching it out of the machine, turning around and putting it down on it on a pile of other pieces of wood. I did telemarketing which was horrible. I worked in customer care. I did so many things and I sometimes I would have a job for three weeks, sometimes I have a job for three months, sometimes I have a job for one day. And I’m like I’m not doing this again, I resign.
So, how it was with my social anxiety?
Well, it depends. Like if I didn’t have anything to do with the people around me and I just had a job that I knew I was like okay, I’m just going to sit, I don’t have to communicate with anyone and I just have to call to check on if these numbers are still correct for example, if the data’s still correct. Like you have to call up this company’s like hey, this is Sebastian I’m from blah blah blah company we’re just checking to see if all the data is still correct in your system. Is it true that you are on this and this location and blah blah blah blah blah? Yes. And if it would just be a straightforward job, I would have no problems. But when I would work longer in a company and people would be out, out and about in the weekend and they’d all be friends and I was the outsider now that did become a big problem.
And I remember working at TomTom Navigation Devices in Amsterdam and I really felt like an outsider there and I was very anxious at work. At the job is like I don’t have any anxiety about calling people or about being called by people so I would answer the phone. That was not a problem but when everyone was hanging out and being social amongst each other and I was the silent guy that was not talking, that was pretty much not talking that made me feel super anxious if they were socializing around me. Or if I was put as the center of attention or if I was questioned or anything like that that made me very, very anxious.
Then in terms of making a career in the beginning when I was fifteen I stopped, I went to central institution education sports to become like a sports teacher but I was two years younger than the other guys but I was athletically at their level or at least good enough to join their level because I had done a pre-test.
So, I was I just turned 16 and they were all seventeen and a half and something, seven seventeen and a half and above that and so I was the youngest there in class. They were all talking about girlfriends and sex and my life consisted of doing drugs and hanging out with dudes. That was all new for me and now that was the new cool and I couldn’t relate to that. And I was really at the bottom of the pecking order there and that was horrible.
What was even worse was every week you had to give a class. So, you had to prepare a class and then give that class to everyone or maybe that was once a month or something. I forgot but it was just pure torture until after two months of being at that school feeling anxious going into school, being anxious in class, being anxious at swim class, being anxious thinking about having to perform. Like anxiety, anxiety, anxiety all the time.
Coming home smoking weed and then at the end of the evening getting anxious thinking about “Oh, no, tomorrow it’s going to happen again” and then getting up at 6:00 in the morning because I had to go travel there and it was a good hour from where I lived. It was just torture. I really, really hated it until after like two months or so I cried and begged my mom if I could please stop working there because I stopped going to school there and my mom luckily gave in and then I could stop going to school there and that was a massive relief.
Then I went to work for my uncle in his transport company and so it was me as this just 16-year-old kid and for the rest it was only men and they were all I think 30 and above. There I was teased and there was this one guy, he was about 45 years old Raymond was his name and he found out that I was still a virgin
And so, now every day there were jokes about me being a virgin and whenever that joke was being made my face would get bright red and everyone would laugh and I’d be put as the center of attention. It’s kind of fun to tell it now but it was pure torture then because it felt to me like I was disrespected and I was looked down upon and they were ridiculing me and mocking me. I felt horrible because I had a horrible self-esteem. I would be anxious getting into work. I’d be hoping that guy wasn’t there because he was like the main one that was doing it every single day and then he’d be there – “Oh, my God… Fuck”. I’d be super anxious the whole day.
And then sometimes I tried to get angry because if I’m in an angry mode I don’t feel so much anxiety. But sometimes I would have to serve them coffee and he’d be mocking me or ridiculing me or putting me down and I couldn’t do anything back. It was very disempowered. I felt very disempowered.
That was a shitty situation and held up for that for about six months and then that affected me big-time. Yes. How much did my social anxiety affect me? Massively. Also, I had lots of pain in my back and I’m like there are not many jobs that I can do and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I really had a lot of worries about men. “Is it ever going to work out with me?” Because there’s not much that I’m interested in or talented in that I want to do.
And I’d done a whole bunch of these tests to see where my interest would lie and then the suggestions that came out of it, I don’t even remember but that weren’t something that piqued my interest. All of the studies that I could do, there was nothing that I was actually interested in. So, it wasn’t looking good.
And then well, what else did I do? I did a whole bunch of different jobs and like I said I resigned myself or I got fired. A lot of different jobs. And then eventually I did backpack for 3 months which was really helpful actually. Scary to do but it very helped me a lot and then when I came back from that I was planning to not live in the Netherlands anymore. And then I was working for the TomTom Navigation Devices and then I looked for a different job because I was going to study psychology. That was my idea. I wanted to study psychology.
I was 20 because when you’re 21 you can do the 21 plus test in the Netherlands and even if you don’t have the proper pre education you can still go to University. Got to love the Netherlands. And so, it required a math test, a biology test and an English test. Well, I did the English test and I succeeded. Biology was just a matter of reading the information and digesting it. But math, that was difficult. And so, for math I really had to keep studying and do extra courses. So, I had like a three-hour course a week and then about 12 hours of homework. All that was on top of a 40-hour work week and in addiction to smoking weed every day. That was quite difficult.
After six months I’m like “I want to change. I’m not going to do this. What the hell?” And then I was looking online for different jobs and then what I found was “Do you want to go work in South Africa?” It doesn’t earn too much money but you get to live in South Africa. I’m like “You got to be kidding me. This must be a joke. This can’t be for real. Is this for real?” And then I phoned in and they’re like yeah this is for real but we’re only looking for people who don’t have any problems leaving the Netherlands and are able to go home. I’m like “That’s me”. And I had an interview with them and within five minutes they said all right, you’re hired. I’m like great and so then I went to South Africa to work for IBM as a customer care representative.
That was very liberating because when I arrived in South Africa nobody knew my bad reputation. Nobody knew who I was. Nobody knew that I was anxious. Nobody knew that I was insecure. Nobody knew how much of a loser I was with women. Nobody knew all of that. And so, I had kind of had like a blank slate.
Now I was still anxious but there wasn’t as much suffering along with the anxiety because the extra pressure and other people knowing and all of that kind of stuff. That was a lot less and everyone was also very nice because we were dumped with I think a hundred people from the Netherlands that all didn’t know each other and fifty people or a hundred people from Cape Town, one of the big cities in South Africa that also didn’t know each other and we’re all dumped at this helpdesk. So, we’re all 21 years old we’re put in these massive houses together with people you don’t know. We were living in these massive villas and everyone had their own room.
And so, there was a lot of drinking and a lot of partying and that really helped with getting to know people. So soon enough I had a pretty great social life there and we were partying all the time and my anxiety would be showing up in specific situations but I had created quite a good scenario there. That was quite helpful.
And then in South Africa is where I discovered tapping. Well, there you go. I was 21. So, I’m now 35 so that’s 14 years ago. And then because I had already ordered some programs online I knew that you could sell products and I had seen that there were EFT practitioners and I’m like “Wow, I can become a coach” and because by now I’m 21 and I’ve already done personal development for five years and I was obsessed by that.
I’m like “I’m going to go in this direction and I’m going to set up my website because I found a way to set up a website. I’m going to set up a website. I’m going to write about social anxiety. I’m going to figure out how to overcome this for myself completely and then I’m going to start coaching and I’ll sell products and I’ll be helping a lot of people”. That was my whole goal and the rest is history.
Within that particular path how did that affect my social anxiety or how was my social anxiety affected in that? Well, I think that’s quite a unique scenario because I was in the process of overcoming my social anxiety when I already started coaching but I had made a lot of progress when I started coaching. I knew that what I was doing was working and I had also studied EFT very well. I had studied it and I had seen results when I tried it with a bunch of people. So, that’s how I started and it was scary because I really believed that I could overcome my social anxiety with it but I wasn’t just there yet.
And so, for quite a long time it was really like hoping that eventually I’m going to get to the other side where I don’t have this social anxiety anymore but I wasn’t a hundred percent convinced of it. And also, when I started coaching people, I also wasn’t a hundred percent convinced that I could completely help them overcome their social anxiety. In fact, it took me a couple of years before actually was able to do so. I mean it could help people it could reduce it but I first had to overcome my social anxiety completely before I was able to help my clients overcome it completely as well.
So, anyway, I think that’s another story. So, how did it affect my career?
Well, in this way. And what I would recommend you do with your career is make it a priority to resolve it. Whatever it takes. I spend probably $120,000 that could have bought a house from the money that I spent on resolving my social anxiety but it’s been worth every cent because the freedom that I now enjoy I am really grateful for.
It’s not just my social anxiety. It’s just a happy state of mind. I’m walking around here now and there are so many people that are not happy. And I’m very happy and I attribute that to doing a lot of inner work and it’s cost a lot of money, it’s taken a lot of time, it’s taken a lot of focus but it’s so well worth it because your mental and emotional well-being is something that you carry with you for the rest of your life. It affects everything – The people that you choose to surround yourself with, the hobbies that you do, your health, your relationships, your relationship with your significant other or the one that you choose, your career.
A lot of people they don’t move on career-wise even though they are ambitious and they want to move to the next level but they can’t because they feel like “Okay, well, I don’t want to have that promotion because in that promoted role I have to lead people and I cannot do that”. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people that I’ve worked with that had that problem.
So, yeah, get rid of it so that you can go for the career that you want and also you can live the life that you want.
So, I hope this has been helpful. This is it for now and subscribe here for more video like this. I release them every week. I’ve been doing that for I think two years now. And I started my first video in 2009.
So, if you’re one of you’re wondering what I looked like or how I dealt with the social anxiety at the time have a look at that video and have a little laugh because I was still dealing with quite a bit of social anxiety there. It may be some other psychological issues as well. I don’t know what the hell was going on with me but I look like I’m hot stoned on that video. I wasn’t but anyway I hope this has been helpful. Have a great week, and I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.