“The success snowballs and motivates you to persevere.”
— Jesse Harrison, Founder and CEO, Employee Justice Legal Team
Jesse Harrison has suffered from social anxiety for as long as he could remember. Interacting with people, especially those of the opposite sex, was something he dreaded. Jesse remembers, “My anxiety was so severe that I could not go to the store and look the cashier in the eye.”
As an 18-year old, working at an accounting firm, Jesse’s boss gave him a valuable advice. He told Jesse that to be successful, you have to be good with people. While indeed worthy, the advice was just the last thing he wanted to practice at work. Jesse says, “This was difficult for me to hear, having suffered from social anxiety my whole life.”
Making a Very Uncomfortable Decision
Realizing that his social anxiety is something that will never let him excel as an entrepreneur, Jesse made a life-changing decision. He decided to fight it head-on. He says, “I felt like I had zero people skills. Overcoming social anxiety was the hardest thing for me to succeed as an entrepreneur.”
How Jesse Did It
Jesse reveals, “I stopped listening to my therapist, which was the best decision I ever made and started listening to my own common sense.”
Jesse emphasizes the importance of simple, baby steps that he took. “You can’t go from step A to step Z. Baby steps helped me to get where I am today,” he says.
“I googled phrases like ‘social anxiety treatment’ and read the first 200 websites that came up. I listened to positive affirmation CDs,” Jesse says.
He went on to take seemingly bold steps, such as willingly putting himself in situations that were nerve-wracking, like talking to members of the opposite sex.
Slowly but surely, his perseverance produced results. He notes, “Signs of success motivated me to persevere.” He found himself in a virtuous circle, perseverance and success feeding each other, pushing him further on to the road to entrepreneurial success. Now the CEO of Employee Justice Legal Team, an employment law firm he founded, Jesse has made a dramatic turnaround in his social skills. He says,” I am still anxious, no doubt, but the anxiety is not so crippling.”
Jesse emphasizes that signs of success need not be anything groundbreaking. “If the waiter at the restaurant brings you cold water when you asked for hot water, and you tell them to correct the error, that’s a huge success for a socially anxious person.” It’s all about simple things. The success snowballs and motivates you to persevere,” he signs off.