F.O.C.U.S. Time: Fear-less

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The lights were so bright that I felt like I needed to wear sunglasses. What should have been a few seconds felt like hours to walk across that stage to reach the podium. My heart began racing and my face was turning red.

Oh, I would have welcomed an electrical outage and thus cancel my presentation. But it was my passion. It was my dream. Staring at the audience, an overwhelming feeling of fear came over me. I could not breathe. My knees began to rattle. If there was a live band on stage behind me, my knees would have maintained tempo. Unfortunately, I was playing this tune solo.

This presentation would become my first learning experience in confronting and overcoming the fear of public speaking. Taking a deep breath, I looked at my notes and made it through. I am happy to say that fear was present but did not prevail nor did the rattling of my knees.

I was 18 years old at that time. Fast forward 33 years and countless speaking engagements later, I have learned so much in overcoming fears not only public speaking but the fear of traveling, meeting new people, and facing unexpected circumstances.

The determination to keep moving forward despite my fear was difficult, but paved the way in the beginning of my personal growth journey. There are times in our lives that we will face fearful situations that require a great deal of courage. Whether it is public speaking, dealing with relationships, facing financial matters, career changes, or any life changing decisions, choosing courage despite feeling fearful, will lead to ongoing personal growth in life. Winston Churchill stated “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” Fear is an emotion that may be present, but courage is a choice.

When challenged with fear, one can begin to add courage by:

F – Facing the fear(s). Identify the fear(s) and discover why. Fears can take the form of going to a job interview, making an important sales call, asking your boss for a raise, mending broken relationships, or pursuing a lifelong dream. Make a list of the fears that are standing in your way of reaching our goals and are hindering you from living towards your potential. It could be that many of our fears are just imagined. So, take an inventory of them. Sort out what is real and what is not. Ask why you are fearful of this or that.

E – Equip the mind with empowering thoughts. “You are what you think.” Equip the mind with the necessary tools received through, for example, reading self-improvement material, listening to motivational podcasts, or simply drowning out the negative talks. Think courageously and envision facing and overcoming fears. Use visualization as a steppingstone to make the vision a reality.

A – Acting with courage. There is a time to talk and there is a time to act. Making a list of your fears and entertaining empowering thoughts, are a great beginning. Maintaining or contributing to these empowering thoughts will help overcome those fears. What can you begin working on today that will be beneficial tomorrow?

Prepare, envision, and move forward with confidence and courage.

R – Remembering. There are special moments in life one would like to remember. Write those moments in a journal. Include in the journal those courageous moments when fear was present, but courage and strength prevailed. Also, keep in that journal empowering quotes, thoughts, words that resonate within, and stories of courageous people. This will be the confidence boost needed when fear wants to sit at your dining room table.

There still are days that fear sits at my table and attempts to overtake and control my life by throwing doubts and discouragement. This is an inevitability of life. Choose not to become discouraged. Being afraid does have some advantages such as showing those areas that need work and strength. In the meantime, while working on these areas, there are other more powerful words to dwell on at the table such as strength, courage, hope, positivity, and confidence. Focus on these powerful words and all the opportunities they bring. Will you join me at the table and give a toast to all life’s possibilities?

Diana Jaworski, F.O.C.U.S. Coaching Services, is a certified coach, teacher, trainer and speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. Learn more about personal growth by visiting her website at www.dianajaworski.com.

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