In-house Interpersonal: Don’t Be Such A Shybaby

He’s shy … so what?

by Ilise Benun

I heard recently that Eric Page, the co-founder and now CEO of Google, is extremely shy. And there’s talk about whether or not the shyness will prevent him from being the leader Google needs to stay competitive. 

On an NPR piece, Laura Sydell quoted Ken Aulatta (the author of a book on Google) as saying about Larry Page, “He’s not a particularly good speaker. He is not a particularly sociable guy…”



I found myself wanting to defend Larry Page. So here goes…


From my perspective, whether you’re a creative professional or the leader of an Internet giant, shyness doesn’t have to stop you!

Those not naturally gifted with gab, confidence and an ability to speak in front of others just have to work a little harder—but the truth is—shyness is very common. Some of the most powerful leaders admit to being shy.

How can you overcome your shyness?
Here are a few tips from my book, “Stop Pushing Me Around,” (or as someone called it last week, “Don’t Step on Me”) to help Larry Page, or you, overcome shyness in business and become a great runner of anything — Google, or your own career.

It starts with developing:

  1. Self awareness: Watch your habitual behavior and be ready to interrupt it. This can be as quiet as an internal belief, such as, “They don’t want to hear from me.”
  2. The desire to do different: You have to want something different. A new path may hurt a bit, but if you stay on it, your skills will strengthen and eventually you’ll reach the peak.
  3. Self discipline and willpower: It takes constant vigilance to resist impulses and distractions (email, Facebook, etc.) while keeping your eye on the larger goal and taking the simple actions that will get you there.

(You can find more on this in, “Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive”.
What can you add to help Larry Page?

2 thoughts on “In-house Interpersonal: Don’t Be Such A Shybaby

  1. matt

    Love this post, it is so true that some people lack the ‘vocal voice’ to express their ‘inner voice’ and the feelings and ideas they are holding inside. I remember I went through a period of not wanting to express my ideas, thoughts and opinions as I thought they just weren’t good enough.. but i’ve since learnt that you shouldn’t feel awkward or nervous in regards to what other people think of your ideas or opinions. The more you use your ‘vocal voice’ the stronger you become and the less people are likely to try and push you about, so it’s a win win situation.. though it does take a bit of courage to take that first step. Best of luck to anyone in that situation.

    Now if Larry Page wants to pay me to explain to him and teach him how i did it.. then i’m always willing to help! hahaha..