Do it scared!

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The presentation to 50 colleagues, a job interview, holidaying alone for the first time, sitting an exam – all of these can be daunting. It is perfectly okay to feel nervous about stepping into unknown territory. I would have thought each of us become a little wobbly at times – it may not appear so to outsiders but the feelings are certainly there!  Personally I believe a little nervousness helps to keep us on our toes. How easy it would be for one to grow arrogant if they did not experience fear or apprehension from time to time.

I remember watching a film in which the storyline focused on a publisher and speaker. Just before he entered the doors to the large conference room, he took a deep breath, got his thoughts together all with a rather fixed and worried face. As he entered the conference room he instantly beamed from ear to ear whilst looking left to right at his audience – I expect this gave him an element of confidence. Looking directly at your audience, connecting with them even before you present.

The first time I was due to give an exhortation at church, I felt nervous.  I prepared beforehand and read through my notes again and again. On the morning I led praise and worship with my fellow worship team as usual but felt anxious about giving the exhortation. As I was called forward my stomach did somersaults – actual somersaults.  The exhortation was not as painful as I first thought – sure I could have looked at my audience a little more as well as slowed down my speech but I survived.  I have improved on my public speaking since then by taking up opportunities that come my way. 

I tell myself what is the worst that could happen?  It helps to put life into perspective. Choosing NOT to step out would have a far more detrimental effect on my life, my progression and the way in which I view myself.   I refuse to allow my insecurities and sometimes irrational thoughts to hinder me from doing what I know I should be. 

Will you?

Do you put yourself forward for opportunities?
Do you allow your fears to hold you back?
What advice would you offer someone who struggles to step out of the boat?

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22 thoughts on “Do it scared!”

  1. I’m also no stranger to getting scared when it comes to standing up and speaking in front of people. But you’re right, sometimes you just have to do it and conquer that fear. I always get nervous before I have to teach a new class, and I don’t think that nervousness will ever really go away no matter how many times I’ve done it. But sometimes fear keeps us on our toes and forces us to prepare things to the best of our abilities, so surely it can’t be all bad. Thanks for sharing Phoenicia!

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  2. The feeling of fright that occurs is a biological response. It’s part of the “fight or flight” reaction that has kept us on the top of the food chain. Luckily we can embrace it, as you say, and use those anxious feelings to help us prepare for nerve-wracking presentations or the like.
    For me, preparation is key, as well as keeping in mind that we’re all the same inside. Deep, calming breaths, and just internal relaxation help me in these stressful circumstances.
    ~Jess

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  3. Great post,
    I have heard of athletes so scared and worked up before a game, they would vomit.
    As for being scared, I am every time I go into the ring. It is a part of the excitement of wrestling. The bumpier the road is, the funer the ride is.

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  4. I saw a Georgia O’Keefe quote the other day that stated how she was scared of every single thing she did in her life, but she still did it anyway. I am aiming to be like that more and more all the time. Waiting tables and then later teaching worked wonders for my speaking abilities. Once I am going to fewer doctor’s appointments and back to a more regular grind, I am going to check out a few of the Toastmasters groups in the area and find one that’s a good fit for me. I plan to develop a talk on dealing with breast cancer.

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    1. The point us that you do it anyway rather than look back on your lufe with regret.

      How honourable of you to think of reaching out to those who will experience what you are going through. It is important to give back.

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  5. Marvelous that you cowboy’d up (as they say in Montana) and did what you wanted to and had to do, Phoenicia. You are right–I usually say, what’s the worst that can happen if I do this thing? And the balance, how bad will it be if I don’t do this thing? Bad can mean anything from letting someone down or being bored with the status quo!

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  6. Hi Phoenicia. The advice I always give people who have these kind of fears is to join Toastmasters. I joined back in 2001 and am still a member. Toastmasters changes lives. It helps give people strength and confidence. It helps them shine, and thru this learning, they begin to mentor and help others shine. It is a global network of positive people. I advise anyone looking to gain strength and focus to visit toastmasters.org and find a club nearest them.

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    1. Doreen – I have heard of Toastmasters and know a few people who trained with them. I have heard good reports. Even if one has no intention of going into public speaking, it can improve their communicate more effectively on a one to one level or within a smaller group.

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  7. Public speaking was my greatest fear during my career. As I’ve aged, I care less about how I appear to others, and that has made me more comfortable when talking to a group. So there are some benefits in getting older!

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  8. Yes, no matter how afraid you are of failing you have to pluck up the courage and do it anyway. It’s great to constantly prove to ourselves that we can do even what we don’t think we can do.

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  9. Susan Jeffer’s book (Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway) is an all-time favorite of mine and I could not agree more with you about the advice. Fear was such an overriding issue in my family growing up that I have intentionally worked to make sure that it does not become a part of my life as an adult. Thanks for the inspiration!

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