Speaking in front of public has always made me nervous. Whenever I had to present something, make a comment, ask a question or participate in a brainstorming session, I would feel anxious and self-conscious. I was worried that people wouldn’t find what I was saying interesting, original, clever, worthy and/or funny therefore, in order to avoid embarrassment, I would often refrain myself from speaking.
This overwhelming and disturbing feeling accompanied me during my whole teenage life and the majority of the first 10 years of my adulthood. Knowing that I had to make a presentation, would cause me sleepless nights and countless negative thoughts, whereas on the day I would be blushing, sweating, shaking and breathing in a very loud and shallow way. My heart would pound so strongly that I often imagined someone getting hit by it straight in their face! Now that would be an interesting view.. 😉
On top of this, many times, few moments before speaking I almost fainted.
I always imagined how nice would it be if I could dig myself a hole and hide my head there… I wanted to bury my head in the sand just like, according to the popular belief, emu (a type of an ostrich) does to avoid danger rather than choosing to face the reality.
Whilst this fear somehow didn’t stop me from finishing university with very good grades, trying to build a business career became a much bigger issue! I knew that in order to show to my employers, clients, work colleagues and, most importantly, to myself, that I can bring great ideas and solutions I had to do something about this silly feeling of anxiety and fear.
I knew it was irrational – there was no real danger to me! No one would shoot/eat/harm me if I did it wrongly. Our primitive ancestors only felt fear if they knew that the real life-threatening danger was coming! Their brain was then starting to produce high levels of adrenaline in order to make them react quicker and save their life.
So I thought – what if my fear, just like my ancestors’ fear could be turned into greater things? Something that would make me think quicker and act faster in public situations?
It sounded surreal at first but imagining it felt great!
In fact, it did feel so good that I decided to challenge my brain by learning everything that there was about this subject!
I don’t personally know or am aware of another person who would read/watch/listen to the same amount of materials on public speaking, social psychology, emotional intelligence, persuasion, confidence and self-belief as I did ever since I made a decision that I had to change. I spent now almost 10 years gathering as much knowledge on this matter as possible and can proudly say that, as a result, for the last 3 years I have been working as an international trainer empowering people through knowledge to do greater things in their career.
3 years ago I made a huge step to put all my knowledge gained into practice and what followed was a dream come true. Nothing that I have done in my business life brings me more satisfaction than what I am doing right know and that is – teaching! Knowing that your hard work on mastering the chosen subject helps someone be better at what they do is a feeling hard to replace with anything else. And to know that I wouldn’t achieve that if I decided to bury my head in the sand instead of speaking up..
This, however, this doesn’t mean that the fear is no longer present in my life. Far from it. The knowledge that I gained helped me learn how to manage the fear so that it can no longer stop me from doing the things that I want to do!
What I also learnt is that emus in fact don’t bury their heads in the ground when faced with danger! This was a myth. When faced with dangerous situation emus put their heads very close to the ground so that they can closely and carefully observe the situation and react accordingly to what ‘s observed – often outperforming their enemy by far!
This blog is for people who just like me, don’t want to be like an Emu from the myth but instead, behave like the real one. And since you are here, you must have already made your decision about this. The question is what you are going to do next! My suggestion would be to join me on my continuous journey of learning as much as possible about becoming who you are meant to become!
Despite all your fears!