I was a a little tied up last week dealing with a life long fear. It’s nothing crazy – I was not battling cancer, swimming with sharks, or crawling through snakes – I was asked to speak in front of a group and present a topic. Yea yeah yea I know this is not ultimate craziness but the elements behind it go deeper.

I have always been out spoken and very friendly. Ever since I was able to speak I was known to talk to anyone and everyone – about just about anything! But when assigned with the task I would always freeze up. From class assignments throughout school to best man speeches, public speaking has always just hit me the wrong way.

I was very aware of this fear and analyzed myself over and over again. Why was I so afraid?? I truly don’t know but here is what I came up with: I was not confident that people would want to hear what I have to say. I was fearful that those I would be speaking to would jump up and correct what I was saying. Maybe I was fearful of being judged. All of this despite that my daily role involved taking charge of groups and being an authority figure.

So when I was asked last week, at the last minute, to present at a local university I felt like this was my chance. Well, first every fear and negative thought about public speaking hit me. Only after that I decided – quite literally – the hell with it. I talk to people all the time. I know my topic because it’s my life. I decided I would just talk to the group like I was talking anyone else any other day.

I had one day to prepare for a 30 minute slot, with a question and answer portion. I felt good – then I worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill up 30 minutes !

In the end the professor of the class cancelled the second hour she had planned and allowed me to continue speaking. I spoke for over 2 hours. I was told it was the most engaged the class had ever been. I was honored to hold their attention! More importantly I was so glad I did not let fear control me.

Judging by the feedback, I owned it. That’s not easy for me to say because I’m normally modest. But how many times have you been your own worst enemy and held yourself back from your potential?

What do you have inside you? What will it take for YOU to believe in YOU. Fear is ok. Try it. If it doesn’t work out, step back and regroup. But get back In there. If you don’t give yourself a chance – who will??

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