A few days ago I was meeting with a friend who was dealing with some seriously bad approach anxiety.
I wanted to know what he’d done to try and solve this problem.
He said, he’d tried the three–second–rule, but it wasn’t working for him.
I asked him exactly how he felt when he wanted to approach, and it turns out that the step itself – the idea of walking up saying something and generating acomfortable conversation was overwhelming.
Approaching was too big of a step.
And this is not an uncommon issue for new students or people getting back into the game. If it’s happening to you, we’ve got a great technique to help you through it.
Many people who have approach anxiety tend to overthink the approach.
One of the best ways we’ve found to overcome this challenge is with a technique The Sneak calls – Micro-stepping.
It’s a technique we’ve seen work time and time again at Stylelife bootcamps.
I had him write up how the technique works:
The Sneak’s Micro-stepping Approach Anxiety Remedy
You spot the person you want to meet. Suddenly, you’re overwhelmed with anxiety. You have the same physical response to approach anxiety as a caveperson who’s spotted a sabertooth tiger: sweat to cool down, heavy breathing to take in more oxygen, heart beating to get that oxygen moving.
But this is a person we’re talking about, not a tiger! Why does my ego being threatened create the same reaction that I’d have if my life were being threatened? What are you doing brain?
When this situation arises, I use a little trick to bypass this unhelpful anxiety. I break things down into tiny small steps – micro-steps. Steps I can take my ego out of.
Instead of thinking, I am going to open that group of two exceptionally interesting and attractive people -cue crippling anxiety- I think to myself, the following things, in the following order:
- All I have to do is put my left foot in front of my right foot.
- All I have to do is walk in that general direction.
- All I have to do is Say the word “Hey!” to the group.
- All I have to do is a time constraint: “I gotta get back to my friends in a second, but…”
- Now I’m past the point of no return, it would be socially crazy to walk away, so some opener comes out of my mouth. As long as I stay on the current step and don’t skip ahead, I can trick myself into not being anxious.
The system can be used ANY time you experience anxiety. In fact, Style’s Evolution Phase shift uses the trick to bypass kiss anxiety, it’s the same process used for a different type of anxiety.
Next time you’re feeling anxiety in the field, employ my micro–stepping system and see how well it works for yourself!
I highly suggest you test out this technique for yourself, if you’re dealing with approach anxiety from overthinking.
Remember, one small step at a time.
As long as we’re on the subject of approach anxiety here are a few more tips from The Sneak to help you blast through it:
- The three-second rule works wonders.
- If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by the three-second rule, engage micro-stepping.
- If you don’t approach when friends or co-workers are around, don’t go out with them when you’re practicing. Set up practice time by yourself or with others who are also studying social material.
- If you’re feeling like you shouldn’t be approaching because you’re doing something wrong, then you’ll need to work on your inner game. Don’t be ashamed. Amazing things can happen when you open your mouth!
- Less reading, more approaches! Put your ego on the line, take risks, continually practice, write field reports.
Your comfort zone is a trap that you need to escape.