Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Curse of the Legions of Fear

"Oh no, it's my turn. I absolutely hate doing this. Why did I sign up for this public speaking class anyway? I must have been out of my mind."

"Great. This guy is going to call on me in front of everyone and I have no idea what to say. Here comes another moment of looking stupid."

"They don't really expect me to speak on behalf of the whole organization do they? Why doesn't the CEO handle this? Why is the COO wishing me good luck? This is brutal."

Fear Sucks
Going through high school, and then later as a young professional I was not real excited about speaking in front of anyone other than my buddies or my family. Sure, I liked to be the life of the party, but that usually meant a very social atmosphere with plenty of latitude to be a goofball.

Fast forward a few years and I was asked to speak in front of a company wide meeting of 400 executives and leaders with literally no warning and actually pulled it off. That might have been nothing short of a miracle...if I hadn't taken control.

Fear had a grip on me, and wasn't interested in letting go for a long, long time.

Fear is Power
What I came to realize was that fear (as if it is some sort of being separate from me) was getting way too much credibility in my world.

So one day I decided to kick fear's ass.

I was tired of fear having all of the power in our relationship. I wanted to be the one in control...calling the shots...making the decisions...according to my plan.

It wasn't as if I simply flipped some sort of internal switch and took control. Over time I forced myself to be in situations that were very uncomfortable. In the beginning I was miserable.

But very quickly I realized one critical outcome of dealing with your fears: you don't die when you confront your fears! (Unless of course your fear has to do with wrestling a lion...then,'re going to die.)

Power is Good
The result of this painful yet necessary step was a fairly sudden power shift. Wow! I kind of like this power thing. What a difference! Now I get fired up about getting up in front of a crowd (large or small) and actually enjoy myself. No more cursing the fact that people will be looking at me and watching for a slip up. I don't care about that anymore...what I care about is no longer wasting my time dealing with that thing called fear, and doing whatever I want to do.

How About You
What is fear doing to you? Are you being held back because that arch nemesis of yours has you quaking in your boots? I recommend you decide to do some ass kicking of your own, and take back what's rightfully yours.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.



  1. Great post Jay (as always). I'm sure everyone has been in the clutches fear, to some degree. Interesting you bring this up now...I just started a new job as Project Manager for an HR Tech company. Trying to get up to speed as fast as I can, I still feel like I "don't know what I'm talking about"...and that's scary. Especially when a client calls you out of the blue!!

    So...I just told him what I know, and that I can get answers for him ASAP. I also made sure he was aware that I'm still a newbie here...and, of course, he understood. Now, when I call the next client, I'm that much more confident!

    Oh...and if you are ever attacked by a lion...just walk toward him, whistling a song and do your best "jazz hands"...they hate that!

    (not an actual method of defense)

    1. Thanks for the comment Tim,and congratulations on the new gig! It seems I have plenty of opportunities to confront new fears as my career progresses...but as you said, once we focus on getting up to speed, good things happen.

      I'll try that lion trick...