Let me set the stage. You are going about you regular ol’ business and then all of a sudden a big, amazing, exciting opportunity presents itself. POW! Since you’re someone who wants to make their dreams come true, you say YES! Although you know in your heart you must do it, there is no denying the healthy dose of fear that come along with stepping up to the challenge.
Fear is a tricky and complicated fellow. We know that we must experience it from time to time in order to grow and make amazing things happen in our lives. But, it sometimes feels so uncomfortable that avoiding situations that induce too much fear can seem appealing.
So how should you handle deciding what to do and not to do? When should you face fear head on and when should you take the safe, more comfortable route? One of my favorite books is Susan Jeffer’s, Feel the Fear, and Do it Anyways. This incredible book demonstrates the importance of venturing outside our comfort zone even though it might feel like crap some of the time.
I was challenged to face my own fear of public speaking last week when I was asked to speak at Pecha Kucha. Growing up I was always very shy and even though I have worked hard to overcome my introverted ways, they still are very prevalent when it comes to public speaking. I knew speaking at Pecha Kucha was a fantastic opportunity because it was at the Enjoy Centre where our upcoming Make It show will be help next month so it would be an opportunity to promote. It was also a chance for me to spread my message of the importance of doing what you love to a captive audience of 120 people. But still, I was tempted many times to bail in order to not feel the nasty fear!
Luckily I was able to share the stage with my main squeeze, Neil Mangan, but I was still a ball of nerves the week leading up to our talk. The format of Pecha Kucha is 20 slides/20 seconds a slide and since Neil and I were presenting together I only had to speak for 3.5 minutes…long enough to scare the crap out of me!
Right before I went on stage, despite my racing heart and sweaty palms, I had this voice in my head gently say, “you were born to do this and it will be ok.” I know admitting to having voices in my head sounds a bit crazy, but I am sure I am not the only one! Hearing this affirmation immediately calmed me down and made me realize that yes, I WAS born to do this and it will be ok.
Getting on that stage and delivering a message I so believed in was unbelievably empowering. I felt strong, inspired and of service to all the people in the audience. During intermission at least a dozen people came up to Neil and I am expressed how much they enjoyed our talk and resonated with our message. It felt SO amazing and to think that if I had let fear win I would have missed that magical experience.
My advice to you is to do the things that scare you because that’s where the magic happens. Better to have sweaty palms, a knot in your stomach and a racing heart than to miss out on life.