I finally did it: I gave my first official speech at Toastmasters. For someone who has avoided joining Toastmasters for a great number of years, this was quite an achievement. I realized that this six minutes and four seconds speech on October 4th, 2004 was in a lot of ways a greater achievement than even my Master's degree. Then right after, I wondered, what had kept me from doing it for so long. Fear's function is to protect you from a dreaded consequence. Most of the time, as adults fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, because the present situation or person IS NOT like the past one. There may be similarities: for example, if a loved one has abused you in the past, you may equate love and pain. You leave out the actual people involved. You see one element that is similar and you judge the whole experience. Fear has nothing to do with our level of intelligence. Fear is a visceral experience that can paralyze you. It's important not to judge someone else's fears and it is equally important not to beat yourself up for the fears that keep you stuck. Maybe you work in sales and the thought of making "cold calls" brings terror. Maybe you need support from a mate, a friend or a colleague but you don't ask. Maybe you want to re-connect with someone you care about and you dial the number and then hang up. However fear shows up in your life, first acknowledge your fear. Be a good parent to yourself. This step is very important, even if your fear is not the result of a traumatic event and it is very, very important if you have experienced trauma in the past. Be gentle with yourself. When we are in fear, we revert to being very little and we need to remind ourselves that we are good and deserve good. Only when you first acknowledge your fear can you challenge it. Remember the good that can result from moving beyond your fear: your product or service can make a huge difference in your clients' life, not to mention your own career; your friend may have been hoping and waiting for your call all that time and you can be re-assured that she truly cares. In my situation with public speaking, being more comfortable speaking in front of groups can allow me to reach more people and help change more lives and the boost in my self-confidence was enormous. It is by doing what we dread that we grow. Don't be reckless. Just Fearless.
The coach who wants to change the world,
One Man at a Time