I have been thinking about intimidation for a while and wonder why it is felt by some so much more than others. Does it derive from bullying and criticism in your childhood years; perhaps a peer at school, your parents or a teacher that enjoyed making you feel awkward/humiliated/confused?
Those same children grow into adults who appear to carry the stamp of intimidation. They do not feel at ease to put forward their opinion and shy away from any form of confrontation even when it is to their own detriment.
Feelings of intimidation can be rather crippling if it becomes a hindrance in your life. It can prevent you from taking opportunities when they are presented to you for fear of failing, having to associate with others more senior/academic/ respected than you.
Can a person truly learn to remove intimidation from their life or at the very least, minimise it?
I can touch on one experience. In my second full-time job, around 15 years ago, I worked with a Finance Director. He was a stern “no nonsense” type. He would walk into my office which I shared with a few colleagues, stand over my desk and expect me to end my face to face or telephone conversation there and then. I remember feeling utterly intimidated by his presence and I struggled to give him eye contact – in fact I did not give him eye contact! In my eyes, he was ultra senior and I was a recent graduate in a junior role. My line manager who I cannot sing her praises enough, told me as a matter of fact;
“Phoenicia, you need to give the directors eye contact. Failure to do this will result in them not respecting you.”
Ooh it was harsh but I needed to hear it. With time (I am talking years), I forced myself to look people in the eye – no matter who they were. Every part of my body flinched as I did it but it became like a second nature. It was my manager’s advice that led me to take action. I did not want to be “that” person who gave off an air of timidity, over sensitivity, fragility whenever people met me. My feelings still exist now as they did then but now I own them.
Intimidation does not need to continue to have a hold over your life. You can identify where the intimidation derived from and work on improving confidence in yourself and your abilities. Only then will you feel on par with others. Only then will you acknowledge you have something to offer this world.
If you suffer from intimidation, have you pinpointed why and are you working towards conquering this area in your life?
Do you feel you can change or even want to?