I am publicly declaring my fear of public speaking, but more importantly, how I overcame it. And how you can, too.
“99% of the population is afraid of public speaking, and of the remaining 1%, 99% of them have nothing original and interesting to say.”
― Jarod Kintz
My fear of speaking in public began a long time ago. I remember a few vivid moments from grade school that fed into this fear: teachers unwittingly silencing me for speaking up, my father backhanding me for “back sassing” him, and times of speaking up confidently about a topic and later finding out I was wrong, thus embarrassing myself.
There are many fears that we develop in our youth, stemming from messages we received from parents and teachers, even well meaning ones, who are perhaps trying to protect us. These are fears with which we commonly limit ourselves throughout our lives, or at least until we bring them to consciousness.
By the time I took my first public speaking class in college, I was beyond hopeless. That class only exaggerated my fear, and I swore to avoid speaking in public forever . . . until something changed.
What Changed? There was a change in my consciousness.
No, I haven’t done my ‘Ted Talk’ yet. And I don’t go looking for large crowds of strangers to speak in front of. But I have found my way to share what’s important to me—in small groups—without trembling. I never would have been able to do this before Reology. That made all the difference.
Why? Because, when I elevate my consciousness, I am no longer overly concerned about what other people think.
I now understand, from a Reologic point of view, that others can’t possibly know who we are. All they can know is their perception of us. And even when they may think they are making comments about us, they are really telling us about themselves. What other people are saying has very little to do with me.
Not everyone will like what I have to say.
That’s okay. Poet, author, Ashley Ormon says: “Honestly, if everyone likes what you say something is wrong with your message.”
Giving up praise and blame is helpful when it comes to our perceptions of the world—each one of us sees the world differently. In the retreats we conduct we teach an expression to capture this, which is, “me doing me.” If I don’t agree with someone or someone doesn’t agree with me, I can say, “I hear you.” We don’t have to agree or see things in the same way. In fact we’ll never see things exactly the same way anyway.
The ideal way to change your fear of public speaking, or any fear for that matter, is to immerse yourself in one of our trainings for a week. To really integrate this new paradigm you need a full immersion, but perhaps you can change your perspective by understanding and working with the following points.
Understanding our fear:
Sometimes our fear of public speaking can be tracked down and reviewed by our adult selves, then recognized as only really being something frightening to a child. After all, we won’t die—even if we are gonged out of the room. It’s not our life that is threatened, just our self-image.
- Remember that you are sharing your subjective experience of whatever you are talking about. It may help to say “what I’m sharing is true for me.”
- It’s much easier to speak up if you care about your topic. Figure out what’s important to you about your message and speak from your experience.
- Know that your “fear of public speaking” is a story. What if you told yourself a different story? For example, what if your story was: “I love to share things that mean a lot to me and that might help someone else.” Sometimes we can begin to see that our stories, conscious or unconscious, limit who we want to be and what we want to do, and can do.
- Decide to be more of a risk taker. When I take more risk—I grow. And when I grow, I become more alive, more curious, more mature and more interesting. And actually I am quite a bit happier because I stop living in such a fear-based level.
With these points in mind, I’ve diminished my fear of public speaking and hopefully you will too. Let me know how it goes! If, perhaps you’re still having trouble, consider a Reology Retreat to get good at “Being OK with Being You”.