Saturday, July 16, 2011

My little lesson in fear

"You have powers you never dreamed of. You can do things you never thought you could do. There are no limitations in what you can do except the limitations of your own mind." - Darwin P. Kingsley

One of the most disastrous moments of my life was in junior high school. Okay, actually all of junior high was disastrous but this was particularly bad.  It was "Oral Report" time and I had to chosen to speak about the dangers of smoking. I had my notes carefully written out - in pencil - on 3 by 5 note cards. Oral reports usually took days to get through. But it finally happened... "Andrea - you are up!"

My stomach lurched. I stumbled to the front of the room. My note cards were barely readable (why did I use pencil??) and seemed out of order... or were they? My voice shook as I began - steadied myself against the podium. My normal functioning shut down. It was about survival. At some point I must have finished and I do recall making my way back to my chair to the snickers of classmates. It was really, really bad. Really bad. It was also the day I decided that I would make it my life's mission to do as little public speaking as humanly possible for as long as I lived. In the years following, I would do everything within my power to avoid speaking to a group.  If you had told me then that I would make a living speaking - as in "professionally" as in - "paid" I never would have believed it. 

But time moves on and circumstances, and people, change.

I have become a speaker in part because of the passion I have for the Go for No message and the sheer thrill and joy I get from doing it now.  I am certainly not the greatest speaker you'll ever hear. (I am a lot better than I was in junior high.) I have learned that what you think you can or cannot do, what fears you think you will hold onto forever, can be changed. With a little passion, courage, and willingness to be bad for a while - life can offer amazing things when we allow it to.

5 comments:

Michelle Ellison said...

Thank you so much for sharing your life through this blog post. I have a war on my hands when it comes to fear and rejection. I am a business owner and the answer "no" or the fear of hearing it limits my potential to explode beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you for writing this book, I read it twice! I have a Go For No wristband but still let that fear trump going for the no. However I shall be victorious and share new go for no experiences in the near future, starting today!

Julian said...

Hi Andrea,

I'd just love to know a little more about the bit inbetween...i.e. how you went from then to now, how you overcame those fears and what expeiences you had. It all helps to encourage us ordinary mortals.

Looking forward to seeing you & Richard speak (excellently) on Tuesday!

ari said...

Andrea thank you for being such an amazing example. I would love to meet up with at some point and hear you speak.

Your success is an inspiration for me to keep going!

Thank You

Ari

The Courage Crafters said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Julian, as for the "in between" I over came the fear literally by making myself do more and more speaking - and the more I did the better I got. I did lots of smaller groups too that were easier and more comfortable. It's like anything the more you do, the easier it is.

Julian said...

Thanks Andrea. Public speaking is my next personal development project as it happens. Last one was a skydive, so can't be much more scary, can it? I shall follow your postive example and see. Next stop Toastmasters!

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