Want to release yourself from the shackles of fear? Would you like more fun in your life? Some of us have noticed that a number of activities that scared us at first become enjoyable. Skateboarding can be daunting until a young person gets comfortable with it. Since dealing with fear is a prime skill of successful people that I’ve interviewed, I’ll now share the F.U.N. process:
F – focus on something important
U – unleash rehearsal
N – nurture action
1. Focus on something important
I’ve learned that what you focus on makes all the difference between fear and engaging with the present moment—and doing well.
When I made my performing debut as a 9-year-old amateur pianist before 31 seniors in a retirement home, I was focused on one thing: Fear that I’d make some stupid mistake on that piano!
My focus was on “How am I doing?! How am I doing?!”
This focus made me so afraid that my right leg vibrated like the wings of a humming bird. My fear rose to a fever pitch because I was terrified that my shaking leg would lead to my foot falling off the sustain pedal. That, in my 9-year-old mind, would be “death of embarrassment” because the pedal hitting the frame of the piano would cause a loud THUD sound. The seniors would think I was such a idiot.
Along my journey, I’ve become a professional speaker addressing audiences of over 650 people.
In my years of being coached, rehearsing and speaking, I’ve learned to Focus on Something Important: serving the audience.
So my focus transformed from “How am I doing?” to “How are YOU doing?”
If tomorrow I was playing the piano and my foot fell off the sustain pedal and a big THUD sound crashed my performance, I’d mildly say to the audience: “Oh. That’s new.”
With this example, I’m talking about choosing your focus. Make something more important than your fear.
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. – Meg Cabot
Now, it’s your turn.
What could be more important than fear for you?
How can you focus on what really means something to you? And would you consider getting coaching so you can improve your skills?
2. Unleash rehearsal
It’s important that you know that you know how to do something. You get to that point knowing deep in your heart through two things: coaching and rehearsal. As an Executive Coach, I often help clients rehearse their speeches, their sales pitches, their first words when networking at an event, and their answers to tough questions when they make a presentation.
Your next decision plus action can release you from the past. – Tom Marcoux
Decide to get coaching. Decide to rehearse. Then you truly quiet down fear.
3. Nurture action
Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
After years of addressing audiences including MBA students at Stanford University, high tech people at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference and more, I’m ready to deal with any mishap while I’m speaking on stage. I won’t freeze up and feel terrible. I might just say, “Oh. I need a moment. I want my next comment to be valuable to you.”
I’m not trying to appear perfect. In this way, I focus NOT on my ego-needs, but on serving the audience.
I’ve taken a lot of action by speaking before an audience nearly every week of the year. All of that action has helped me improve.
One time, on stage, I was speaking with such enthusiasm that I found myself teetering on the edge of the stage—just about to fall off.
No problem. I just said, “Oh! That’s exciting!”
I shared a laugh with my audience and we moved forward in our conversation.
Do I ever get nervous and feel my shyness rise up? Sure. Then it’s time for me to rehearse.
I share with my clients and college students this idea:
Picture a kind grandmother encouraging you and saying, “Feeling fear? Rehearse my dear.”
Now it’s your turn.
How can you rehearse and concentrate on something you want so much that fear can quiet down and be put “into a drawer.”
I’m not talking about erasing fear. Use the fear as energy to get you to rehearse.
As an Executive Coach, I even help people prepare to speak to the media when something goes wrong. I help my client with Power Rehearsal for Crisis.
I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship. — Louisa May Alcott
Life is a journey in which we explore new chapters and find a “new ship” to learn to sail.
Keep learning; keep sailing.