Facing your biggest fear(s)

2 years, 7 months ago

Hi there,

Long time reader, first time poster :)

I am interested in hearing from you guys about what fears you have faced in your life and how you overcame them.

I’ve had a serious fear of public speaking and presentations for as long as I can remember now. I managed to avoid and minimise my exposure to having to do them to date but having done some self reflection and significnat amount of meditation, I am now at a place where I don’t want to let my fears overcome me. I’m aware that if we give into big fears little fears will start bothering us too.

I have made some tentative steps to start addressing the issue. I have attended toastmasters a few times and have spoken publicly there a number of times. Whilst difficult, I find it rewarding going to a meeting and facing up to the nerves and going for it.

However, I’m noticing recently that my acknowledgement of this challenge or issue has created a lot of personal anxiety which is permeating into other areas of my life. I am consistently on edge and anxious , possibly with the fear of knowing I will have to face up to this at some stage and bite the bullet and speak in front of people. This is compounded by the fact that my job requires a level of public speaking (chairing meetings, phone calls etc).

In sum , I feel I’ve made the first steps in acknowledging this as something that I dont want to be defined by and really want to address. I’ve made some good steps in both acknowledging it and taking it on as a goal to achieve, HOWEVER I am constantly anxious about the thought of doing it and it is affecting my day to day life.

I should also add that I have recently moved country and job and have no doubt that those factors are affecting me also, so it would be unfair to attribute it all to the public speaking issue.

It would be great to hear feedback and advice from people who have overcome public speaking fears or indeed any fears at all.

Thanks guys.

June 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

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Profile photo of dudleycool dudleycool (@dudleycool) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

I don’t think you should think so much.. You have to remember that you are not afraid of any situation what so ever, you’re afraid of how you might feel in that situation. I had quite some fear before, but I’m overcoming it..still working on where I want to be. My best tips is to change the way you think. When you start feeling anxious stop right a way. Make yourself think positive and optimistic thoughts. If you watch porn stop it right away, it messes up with your brain.. Start training. Increase testosterone lever in a natural way, google how! Don’t think about the future or whats gonna happen, live in the moment! Live like you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Live like you can be proud of yourself. To take all this changes in you life might be a struggle at first, but the pain of remaining the same is much worse than the pain of change, if you think about it in the long run.. This was kind of messy, but hope some of it will help!

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Profile photo of novocaine novocaine (@novocaine) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

@dudleycool, That really helps thanks mate. All of your suggestions are things I try to do and practice what I find difficuly though is converting those ideas to actual practice.

Have we any tools or techniques to do these positive things? Living in the moment is something I work on through meditation. I’ve started doing positive affirmations and try to reaffirm them as much as I can or when I have negative thoughts.

As for living like you have nothing to be embarassed about or proud of yourself, these are nice goals but not sure how I can implement them!?

Thanks

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Profile photo of DaJetPlane DaJetPlane M (@lytning91) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

Well, let’s see here:

I attribute a fear of public speaking into smaller, sub-categories of fear:

-Fear of rejection
-Fear of judgement
-Fear of inadequacy
-Fear of negative outcome

You don’t want to be purged from a group as fresh as the one you are in, especially since you just moved and may not have any local associates to talk with candidly. You are worried about fitting in and the LAST thing you need is to say the wrong thing and wind up outcasted by your new peers. You choose to say nothing to fix this.

You don’t want people to make opinions about your ability, and so you prefer not to be outspoken so that they have nothing to base an opinion of you off of. You are afraid you will come off sounding weak and will be judged as such. You continue to say nothing.

You are afraid that your abilities will not measure up to those around you when you are put under the spotlight. With this light, they will focus on only your flaws and distance themselves from you when they hear you speak. You choose, again, to say nothing.

You fear a negative outcome: your constant worrying about what other people think, say, and do has driven you to completely stop being the person that got you were you are in the first place. When you could have expressed your greatness, you were silent. When you were too busy worrying about other’s judgements to speak, you spoke volumes about how you handle yourself amongst others. And when you were focused on all of the flaws that you thought might surface, you completely squelched all of the awesome qualities that make you worth talking to, and worth hearing from.

People are going to think things about you no matter what happens. We are a judgmental species, and our nature has yet to change. You have the opportunity to at least give them something TO judge when you come out boldly and present something to a person or group, so take that chance. If you cow under the pressure, you will certainly be seen for exactly what you come hear to resolve: afraid.

A lot worse can happen from inaction than from trying your best. No one can take away who your are, no matter what. My advice is simply to stumble a few times. So long as you can walk away with a constructive understanding of your fear, you will learn to deal with it very quickly. Each speech will have you more and more in control of your anxiety because you will being to realize just how easy it is to move on from each experience (and how great it is when you realize that people actually are supportive of someone who can speak their mind, albeit nervously).

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Profile photo of blessed blessed (@blessed) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

1.fear of Future(any unknown esp. in environment where there is no equal opportunity for all makes you this what ‘ll be?what if?you find being so negative of what likely to happen)

2.fear of death(let alone Jesus Christ,no one been there and came back,no idea the moment you do not breath ‘ll still be life or whatever may be named?)

3.fear of God(……………………………………………………………………….)

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Profile photo of novocaine novocaine (@novocaine) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

@lytning91, Thanks guys, some interesting points here. I guess the main thing to take from it all is to put myself out there and not be afraid to stumble a bit.

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Profile photo of novocaine novocaine (@novocaine) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

@lytning91, I just re read your post and didn’t do it justice in my initial reply. Some excellent pointers there, thank you for taking the time to post such a substantial reply.

Have you personal experience of overcoming fears / stumbling blocks like this?

Thanks

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Profile photo of novocaine novocaine (@novocaine) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

@blessed, Thanks for this, I think fear of future is a big one in my case

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Profile photo of DaJetPlane DaJetPlane M (@lytning91) 2 years, 7 months ago ago

@novocaine, You don’t have to post a mountain of text because you feel obligated. I posted a lot because I felt that I had the best chance of getting a good point across if I was elaborate. Oh, that I might be able to convey all of my meaning in one sentence. I would be quoted until the end of time.

I know what fear is. I was once young and felt that being accepted was worth my time, and so to worry over whether I was fitting in or not made sense to me. Of course, what really makes THAT much sense as a kid. I feel like I had a lot of uniqueness about my life that sort of forced a difference between me and everyone else, and so I gravitated quickly toward just being myself and finding people who appreciated me for me. You’ll never find that people love you 100% of the time, but you will find that the people who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter.

I just think about who I’m letting down if I do let my fears overcome me versus who I’m letting down if I don’t. Letting down people who are judgmental and ignorant (i.e. the type of people who would not be totally understanding of your issues with public speaking) doesn’t phase me nearly as much as letting myself down, or letting down those who want to see me succeed as myself.

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