If someone has an irrational fear of say, spiders, or snakes, they would be exposed to them in a safe environment so they can make a new association that snakes aren’t scary. This is what we do at the workshop, facing what we are “irrationally afraid of”, so that we can learn that it’s not as scary as our minds have made it to be. Being terrified of public speaking is the strong fear of putting ourselves out there and having someone see us in a certain way. When you think about, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You get up there and even if everybody is laughing at you, if you think about it, you’re not in any harm’s way. You’re not going to die from that, and yet some people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying; this is an example of an illogical thought.
Most people don’t achieve their dreams because of the fear of failure. When asked questions such as:
“What are you afraid of? What is failure? Why are you afraid of it?“, most people say they never really thought it through. One of the main causes of problems is the lack of understanding what is causing it and why.
The definition of failure is: “The omission of expected or required action.” If failure means we just didn’t do our own expected action, it makes it seem minor. “Okay, well that’s what happened, there was an omission of action on my part.” That’s what we’re calling failure? Well, that’s not a big deal, right? It’s just something that didn’t turn out the way we had expected.
Most people stop expecting things, and therefore they never fail. They keep their expectations really low, they never go outside their comfort zone, and then they never really have to deal with not meeting their own expectations. It is why they may be living an unfulfilled life, because they’re not putting themselves out there since they’re afraid to fail.
You’re avoiding something you are in charge of. The thoughts that you’re having (that you’re choosing to think) are creating fear that is stopping you from taking action. Do not honor, accept or waste time on the fear of fear. Understand it enough so that you can find its cause, be aware of your thought patterns that are causing it, and then change them.
Here’s an example of taking a risk: If you want to open your own business, or want to make big, risky changes in your business, instead of thinking about all that could go wrong with it, think about, what if it works, what if all my dreams come true? The worst-case scenario is that you don’t give yourself that chance. The worst-case scenario is that you don’t even try. The worst-case scenario, is that you could have, and you didn’t. How much peace of mind is that costing you?
What will you regret more? If something doesn’t work out or that you’ll always wonder how it would have worked out, or how you would have regretted not even trying. Are you willing to risk not trying? Are you willing to be so afraid that you don’t give yourself that opportunity? That is the worst-case scenario; don’t let your life be the worst-case scenario.
If the fear of public speaking or performing is interfering with your ability to get a job you want, a promotion, opening a business, or your ability to function doing something that you love, it is time to start taking action!