I've always been on the shy side - shy to the point of fading into the wallpaper wherever possible. I've never been the life of the party, nor the one who makes an entrance. In fact, in high school I'd go so far as to bunk a class rather than walk in late and have people look at me. Or worse, laugh. My most embarrasing moment in school came after I'd been crying in the toilets over something, decided to suck it up and go to class - and walked into the wrong class full of kids younger than me who cracked up laughing. Needless to say, it was back to the toilets for another cry.

Of course all this shyness left me with little self-confidence to put myself out there, to barge my way to success. Instead I'd shrink back and hope things would happen.

But not lately.

I appear to have been on a self-confidence growth curve over the past few months. I've been learning from an expert and have forced myself to do things that don't come naturally - every time they work out positively I get a boost.

Take yesterday, for example. I don't consider myself a good salesperson in any form. I hate asking for money from people, I don't have the natural ability to sell ice to Eskimos (though give me a captive market that I don't need to put myself out there for, and I'll make a killing). Yet I've needed to stick my shyness in my pocket and do this kind of thing recently. Yesterday I took some goods down to Cash Crusaders. Years ago I would simply have taken whatever pittance they offered - even if unreasonably low. Not yesterday. Not only did I bargain my way to max reward, but I even came away with a foreign-exchange deal I didn't go looking for. Which definitely gave me a boost! :-)

So this area of myself is slowly coming right. But there are many others where I'm still a shrinking violet, too tentative to let it all hang out, too fearful of being scoffed at or failing miserably, especially in the presence of experience that vastly exceeds mine. And when I do try and fail, it's the opposite of a boost - I'm less likely to try anything else.

Character flaw? Yes. Human? Of course. Me? Yup. Warts and all. But trying.