OVERCOMING FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING
I’m a huge believer in the power of perception. No two minds think the same, but many do think alike. There are cultural factors that come into this. For example, religion can affect the way we perceive the world as does the social media we engage with. TV shows, films, books and newspapers also play a part in how we develop and think as well as the obvious ones like school, location, and parentage etc.
Many habits and decisions on how we live, and how we perceive the world, are formed in the first seven years of our lives. Fear of public speaking only comes from our perception and the story we tell ourselves. If you perceive yourself to be less than you are, if you say to yourself, “I can’t do it, it’s too scary”, “what if people laugh at me? “I don’t think I can”, “I’m not too sure about this”, “I feel scared”. “I’ve got a funny feeling”, “I might be sick, I might faint”, “what if I no one likes me” or “ I can’t do it”, then your body is going to learn that story and it’s going to work with you to make that become a reality.
The fear many people feel that others don’t is just a different perception of the same experience. The subconscious mind is far more potent at running our lives than the conscious mind because it’s more powerful. If we want to change our story, if we’re going to realign ourselves with the conscious’s hopes and wishes that we have for our future and the way we live, if you want to become unafraid of public speaking or anything else for that matter; then you need to change your story, change your inner dialogue and develop a new perception for your subconscious to remember. Your subconscious mind is a recording of everything you feed it. If you’re feeding it negative stories, you will act negatively. If it’s fed fear, you will be afraid.
Public speaking (and life in general) is a lot like being on a roller coaster. There are two different types of people on the ride: the fearful and the fearless. There’s you, with the fear, but sitting next to you is another you. Only this other you is fearless. Now let’s imagine that how you perceive this roller coaster is your public speaking experience.
So you’re sitting there on the rollercoaster, and It starts moving. It goes down, makes some loops, and you are terrified. You grip on tight to the safety bar, and you tense up. You hold on for dear life, you close your eyes, you shut down and shrink into the seat. You’re thinking, “I’m going to die. I’m going to die.” It’s horrible. You’ve got an awful feeling in your belly. You’ve got the adrenaline rushing through you, and you do not like the experience at all. You’re saying, slow down, stop. I want to get off.
But the other you, the fearless one, enjoys this ride, and can’t get enough of it. They’re sitting to your side wondering what’s wrong with you? They’re saying, “this is great”, “I’m having a brilliant time”. They’re throwing their arms up in the air; they’re expanding, becoming open, and enjoying it. Exhilarated and getting all these feelings and positive emotions and endorphins running through their body, they want to go faster, and never want to stop!
And that’s the difference. If you want to get over your public speaking anxiety, then you should seek to be one of the people who love it. It should be a joy, not a phobia. You can’t overcome things by forcing yourself into something you don’t want to do. So what can you do?
My idea is that you need to reconnect your subconscious and conscious mind, so that your conscious mind says, “I want to do this” and “I feel comfortable doing this”. But the story you’ve already told yourself is that “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”, “it’s dangerous” and “I’m fearful”.
You need to start telling yourself a new story so you can become like the person who’s excited on the roller coaster. It’s the same ride, the same experience, and the same feeling. The only difference is perception. And that perception comes from the stories that we tell ourselves.
To sum this up, if you want to overcome the fear of public speaking or any fear for that matter, you’ve just got to start telling yourself a new story. Keep telling yourself that story even if it doesn’t feel right, but keep saying it. Keep repeating it until you believe it because once you do, once your body is involved, once your subconscious mind has that story and embodies it, then you’ll be living without fear always in your conscious. You won’t have to think about it. It will just be there for you.
So you’re going to say to yourself, I can do this, this is easy, I enjoy doing this, these people want to listen to me, I want to tell people my story, I have no fear, I’m going to rock this place, and I’m going to smash this speech!
Just tell yourself that even if you don’t believe it.
After a while, when you keep telling yourself these positive stories, eventually you’re going to believe them, and you’re going to be living it, then you’re going to be doing it, and there’ll be no more conflicting ideas between your conscious and subconscious mind. Your perception will be what you want it to be. Your story will be in line with who you want to become, and then you have no fear of public speaking.
That’s how it’s done. Once you become the master of your own storytelling, nothing can hold you back.