How to go from wallflower to sunflower

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So often our fears, and our beliefs about how we'll perform or behave stop us from doing the stuff we want to do in work and play. 

Here's some techniques that can help us to feel more empowered, and take us from WALLFLOWER to SUNFLOWER.

It’s the school disco… you’re the wallflower waiting to be asked to dance standing by the drinks table and munching on the crisps. You don’t really want to make eye contact with anyone for fear they might laugh at you.

Fast forward 30 years and you still feel vulnerable and exposed when you’re having to talk to strangers at the school gates or networking.

Perhaps you’ve had similar feelings about reading aloud in class, or performing in the school play.

Your mind replays the same old story… the story that we’re not good enough, and we’re too fat, not clever enough, and don’t deserve to be there.

We replay that story time and time again, and to reframe your thinking takes conscious thinking and effort!

It doesn’t mean to say that the old patterns don’t come back when you’re being conscious of your thoughts, but it is entirely possible to retrain your brain.

These memories from our younger years can have such a lasting impact and stop us doing the things we want to do.

Think about the things that you would like to do to further your career or your personal life.

From going on dates to public speaking.

For years I was petrified of going to networking events. I thought no one would talk to me, and think I was stupid. 

Once I started addressing my self-worth and flipping my switches, then I was able to talk to strangers, and begin to enjoy meeting new people.

wallflower to sunflower



Rewrite your script. If you tell yourself that you’re awful at speaking in public and always trip on your words then rewrite your story. 

Start telling yourself that you can do this, and become aware of your language and the way you talk to yourself.

Whatever you’re going to do…

  • Networking
  • Going for a job interview
  • Public speaking
  • Talking to strangers
  • Going on a date
  • Going for a dinner with your family

 You need to prepare yourself emotionally, and then systematically prepare yourself so you’re in a peak mental state to go from wallflower to sunflower.


Spend some time journaling to work out what are your trigger points…

The memories and moments that made you feel uncomfortable as a kid – when you had to read out a paragraph in French, or dance in the school play. Whatever it maybe. These moments can trigger similar feelings of unworthiness when you have to give a presentation on stage, go for an interview, or go to a networking event.


Think of the memory, and now take your memory. Is it in black or white or colour?

Turn it to black and white, and then shrink it down.

If you can’t shrink the memory, then make yourself bigger than those who intimidated you…



Imagine sitting in the interview, and answering the questions, or talking to people at the networking event.

See yourself confidently talking to others, and behaving as you want to be – your best self.

When you’re doing something monotonous, where you can zone out – cleaning your teeth, washing up, or on the bus – start imagining you doing that thing.

How will you FEEL being there?

Who will you TALK to? 

What do you SEE?

Make it a sensory experience so that you begin to feel as though you’re there.   



No matter how you feel about an event, if you are prepared then you will stay calm and stay in your “thinking” cortex brain, rather than moving to your panic zone – your limbic brain.

Have your talk prepared.

If you write out what you want to say for your interview, or the talk. Splurge out the notes, and then refine this.

You might turn your word dump into a blog post.

And then your thoughts might be turned into note cards for your interview or speech.

Decide what you’re going to wear well in advance. Your shoes, bag and clothes.

Know what route you’re going to travel there so you don’t panic.



When you’re feeling nervous about the event, the speech, the interview or the date… remember to BREATHE!

Breathing properly will help you to gain more authority in your speech because you’ll be able to speech for a full sentence without sounding breathy and squeaky.

As women, we always worry about sounding high-pitched, and lacking authority. When you breathe deeply, you also sound more authoritative and people are more likely to take you seriously.

When you are in a situation you find stressful, often we forget to breathe, or shallow breathe and don’t have enough oxygen. There are 3 different parts to our brains, and you function at your optimum when you work out of your cortex, or your thinking brain.

When you’re panicking, you release more of the stress hormone cortisol, and your brain works out of your limbic brain – your chimp or panic brain. This means you are less in control of your thoughts, and emotional responses.

When you breathe deeply, you release less of the stress hormone cortisol, and you become calmer. Simply breathing deeply enables you to move from your “panic” brain to your “thinking” brain.

Breathe deeply down to your diaphragm – your bra strap – and breathe deeply.

Inhale in for the count of 1, 2, 3, 4.

Then pause for 1, 2, 3, 4.

Exhale out for 1, 2, 3, 4.

And then repeat for several rounds until you feel calm.

Lucy Griffiths


I've been working as a coach for the past 5 years, and use a combination of coaching, and my experience in working as TV reporter and journalist to help women get more confident, and find their voice. I have a Master's Degree in Coaching, and a Master's Degree in International Journalism


Go to the profile of Adina Oltean
over 3 years ago

hello, I really loved your article and found it to be so valuable, especially the fact that we sometimes forget to breathe. We know about it, but we take it for granted.

Ive been following you for quite a while now and Breathing is an important factor in your posts. 

Thank you for your reminders, Lucy. 

Brilliant work! X