Fears………. we all have them, many of us don’t admit to them, but all of them can be worked on. One of mine is a fear of public speaking, and this is actually one of the number one fears across the UK and America. I’ve always asked myself what it is exactly that I fear about this, is it my body image, forgetting the words, embarrassing myself, or all of the above, let’s go with………. all of the above!
I will let you into a little secret, when I was around 5 years old, I was part of a school dance show, and I was dressed as a ballerina and wearing a pink leotard and tutu. My only one memory of the whole show is the one where I wet myself on stage, classic, something I will never be able to forget. Is this the reason why I now get stage fright, who knows, so several years ago I decided to see a hypnotherapist regarding this fear. After several costly sessions of hypnotherapy, and then thinking I could get up on stage and absolutely breeze an event I was having to speak at, and wow… the hypnotherapy hadn’t helped at all, gutted. I had sweaty palms, spoke too quickly, and my internal organs felt like they were pumping too fast and hula hooping around my body. However… I still got on stage, delivered my presentation, and even cracked a couple of jokes (nobody laughed, not one person, except myself), and it wasn’t actually that bad. Only one person heckled me, one person said I looked nervous, and someone else commented on my appearance (he happened to be a complete douche bag who thought he was a ladies man within the workplace).
Leading up to the event my Regional Director decided that our regional team should rehearse three or four times, and the more we met up and rehearsed, the worse we all became. Nobody within the team wanted to give a presentation, and I wasn’t the only extremely nervous person, but then it dawned on me, what is the worst that can happen? The audience had no idea regarding the content, what I would be talking about, the format, or how long I would be talking for, so if I did forget a few words, nobody would actually know. Meanwhile, I’ve been approached several times since and asked if I would be interested in some motivational speaking gigs, and do you know what, yes I am, so watch this space…
I also have a fear of flying, and a fear of being trapped in small spaces, and the common factor with my fears is that they all come down to having an overall fear of losing control. When in a plane, the pilot is obviously in control, and whatever happens during the hours that I’m stuck in the flying tin can for, I have no control whatsoever. If the plane is going down, I can’t even jump out (active imagination), all I can do is sit there, place my head between my knees, and neck the largest gin and tonic I can get my hands on! If trapped in a small place, I can’t get out unless someone else helps me, I can kick and scream, but trapped means trapped, so again I’ve lost control.
These fears are fairly common, fairly normal, even celebrities have these fears, embrace these fears and work through them. I still fly if I absolutely have to, I still get up on stage, and my confidence is really building, and as for small spaces, I avoid them at all costs (two out of three isn’t bad). Seriously though, face your fears, take the bull by the horns, and don’t let these things take over your life. Anxiety can cause both mental and physical issues for your body, and neither of these are healthy, we all have to look after our mental wellbeing, and we can all work together to help each other. Ask those close to you if they have any fears, pick one each to work on, set yourself some goals, and go out there and kick fear in the ass!