It would be easier not to. I am lying in bed and this is thought that won’t leave my mind. I roll over. I roll over again. I could be sick…
For those of us with a fear of public speaking, the night before a presentation or speech can be nerve wracking and sorely lacking sleep. When anxiety becomes strong enough, thoughts of how to avoid standing up in front of an audience can be the only thing to bring comfort.
So why speak?
A recent blog by Paulo Coelho sums up the importance of pushing through thoughts of avoidance and challenging the fear of public speaking over and over again: “Live the life you want to live.”
The fear of public speaking is just that – a fear. Fear can be a great motivator, but most times fear serves to hold us back from what we really wish we could do with life. Examples of how the fear of public speaking can hold a person back are found in thoughts: If I do get the promotion I will have to host staff meetings – I don’t think I can do that, or I would love to honor my sister at her wedding, but I am terrified about speaking in front of my family and friends.
In both of these examples, it is the FEAR of speaking that is preventing the thinker from experiencing and living the life they want. This is very sad. It is also something I have experienced many times in my own life – until I decided I needed to do something and started to work on “flipping the fear” of public speaking. This does not mean that the change was instant and that I don’t still hear that little voice describing the easier road the night before a speech. What it does mean however, is that now in my life – and in a job where I have to deliver MANY public speeches – I listen less to the voice and instead, actively pursue what I want to experience in life, ESPECIALLY if it involves public speaking.
The bottom line: fear CAN be overcome. The motivation is all in Paulo’s words: “Live the life you want to live.” For speakers, not only does this involve challenging and overcoming fear, but holds the secret to the joy felt on the other side.
Read Paulo’s blog here: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2013/02/06/live-the-life-you-always-wanted-to-live/