Almost everyone, even those who make their living giving presentations or speeches, has a fear of public speaking. I tested my fear of speaking this week at the SCORRE conference where I learned about public speaking and applying the SCORRE methodology to both speaking and writing.
I have found in recent self examination that fear is at the heart of many things that have impacted my life, and quite a few unpleasant childhood experiences. When I wrote about the fact that Suicide is Never the Right Answer, I talked about pain and shared a story about my root canal. Many people share the fear of the dentist, and watching the movie Marathon Man does not help. In the movie, Dustin Hoffman is tortured by a Nazi dentist trying to get information (that Hoffman doesn’t have) on the location of some diamonds. My dentist told me a couple times I wasn’t feeling pain, only pressure and vibration, when I flinched and moaned. Well, I know pain, and I know when I’m feeling pain. So I asked the dentist to please not ask me if it is safe (the question repeated to Hoffman during his torture). The dentist said he had seen the movie but had never had a patient refer to it before. But he didn’t offer any more Novocain or anything else either.
Some recent reading led me to think of three steps I need to take in addressing some forms of fear in my life, and these same steps can help you conquer fear:
(1) Recognize your fear – I was re-reading Michael Hyatt’s book Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World the week before SCORRE because I thought I would get a chance to talk to him at the conference. He talks about five obstacles to success, but says the last one – fear – is the only real obstacle. The others are only excuses. Fear paralyzes us and impedes our movement forward; we get stuck. But we can’t work on conquering the fear and getting unstuck to move forward if we don’t realize the role of fear on us.
(2) Take Action – What Michael Hyatt shared with me, and it was good to review, is that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the taking of action to move forward despite the fear. So once we have recognized that we have fear that needs to be addressed, we need to purpose to take action to defeat the fear.
(3) Think Positively – It has been shown that constant repetition of our thoughts reinforces them and actually makes them grow as fertilizer would a garden. What is critical is that this is true for both positive and negative thoughts. So we also have to purpose to grow a garden of positive thoughts in our mind by both thinking positively, and also repeating those same positive thoughts over and over.
We all have fears of various kinds. We can choose to magnify those fears and let them block our success or we can conquer them by first recognizing they exist, then taking action to move forward, and continually purposing to think positively.
The image above is thanks to a page of fear quotes at http://www.anthonybasich.com/inspirational-quotes/fear-quotes/