Burrard Toastmasters
Vancouver's leading business-oriented public speaking club
Club Speeches

What Are You Afraid Of?

Winning speech, 2005-2006 Club International Speech Contest
By Ken Bell

At my home club, a radical transformation is underway. We are evolving from being just a speaking club into a place where all sorts of lessons for success can be tried on. And one of the successful lessons we've discovered is what you might call "a bias for action". For doing things. For doing things now.

How would you like to be regarded as a "go-to" person? Someone who gets things done? Someone who has a clear plate, rather than a bunch of "to-dos"?

The major reasons people put off or don't do things are simple:

Let's take cleaning the toilet - day after day we tell ourselves it's not important, until the fear of ridicule overcomes the fear of getting your hands dirty.

If it's really not important, then forget it. But in the extreme, we can tell ourselves that finding a companion, finding a job, or finding customers isn't all that important! Where do we find ourselves? Friendless and penniless.

Fear limits our lives:

How do we get on top of it?

Well, there's no magic pill, but we have a few things to put to use:

Step 1 is to acknowledge your fear, and recognize that "hey, I'm reacting this way because I'm afraid". If you're not doing something you would like to do, remember that it is you who is not doing it.

Step 2 is to play with your fear. Close your eyes for a moment. Think about being ready to step out of your hotel room onto the beach. Got the feeling? Good. Now sigh…Now, think about giving a speech, this instant…A bit scared, are we? Stop and feel this sensation. It's the same sensation!

One is "Oh, No" the other is "Oh, Boy".

Try that substitution. Make your "Oh, No's" into "Oh, Boy's".

Step 3 is to make your fear a past event. Some people suggest that you think back to the first fearful moment and dismiss it. Now, in my case, I can't remember what did it, but for many years I couldn't speak, or make a sales call, or say hi to a girl. I don't know why, and rootling around in my memories is not likely to help. What is important is to say "that was way back" and that it has no bearing on who you are right this moment. Many of us will say that something has "never worked" because it didn't work for us JUST ONE TIME, after which we gave up. What happened then doesn't affect NOW.

How else can we face the difficult, unpleasant or fearsome? Think about challenging yourself to look for empowerment and delight.

The world is yours but only if you ask for it. It is yours NOW if you ask for it NOW. Why stay home or be stuck in a lousy job?




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