I see statements like this almost every day on social media. So, I got to thinking…what is something that I don’t want to do and then I do it anyway.
I started reminiscing about when I was in 5th grade. I’ll never forget my teacher Mr. Rooney, he was a big Irish man with a gentle spirit, although he had a Shillelagh (Irish wooden club) nearby at all times to keep us in line.
At the beginning of the year he told us that we had to do several oral reports. Everyone groaned, he said “class, in life you will need to do things that you don’t want to do, but you must do them to be successful”
I remember thinking yeah but this aint one of them pal. Like many people I was deathly afraid of speaking in front of a crowd. The semester went on and he announced our first oral report was due on the civil war in 3 days.
Well, my brilliant plan was to fake sick that day and then I’d somehow get out of it. Maybe Rooney would let me turn in a written report instead of bombing in front of my whole class…I was wrong.
I came in the next day after my oral report was due and you guessed it, he made me grab my report and read it. It wasn’t like I was shy or anything…just the opposite. But I hated public speaking!!!
So, I got up and started walking towards his desk, I felt my mouth getting dry, I turned around and my hands and legs were shaking. I opened my mouth and my voice cracked. I sounded like I was going to cry!!!
A few knuckle heads laughed but Rooney picked up his Shillelagh and he put an end to that quickly. I muddled through the report and earned a B+…voice cracking and all. I think Rooney felt bad for me.
Pretty much the same thing happened every time an oral report was due that year. I did notice one thing though…each time it got easier and easier.
My fear of public speaking stayed with me, I remember as a young adult in my late 20’s I was a member of a small church and the preacher called on me to say the dismissal prayer…yikes!!!
This was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I said the prayer anyway, I was recently married and I couldn’t have my new bride thinking I was a sissy or a crybaby…ha-ha.
I got more comfortable saying prayers in front of the congregation. I guess they thought I had leadership qualities because they asked me to be the Treasurer when I was 32, (or maybe nobody else wanted the job).
If I hadn’t forced myself to overcome my fear I might not have been ready to eulogize my ex-brother-in-law, my sweet niece (I nick named her baby girl when she was little) asked me and I couldn’t let her down.
I’ll never forget how honored I was that her and her brother wanted me to do it. I wrote the eulogy and rewrote it 7 times, much love and prayer went into it.
The day came, and I gave the eulogy, my son Joey stood by in case I needed to hand it off to him. I was talking about how my brother-in-law was at all of my son Joey’s high school games… then it was Joey’s turn to talk.
I broke down, but people understood. Many people that I didn’t even know came up to me and said they were touched by my words. I was flattered.
If I hadn’t trained myself to step out of my comfort zone and speak in public I would’ve let baby girl down, which would’ve haunted me forever.
Just recently I was challenged again with having to speak in public…sort of.
I created my first digital product The Fan Page Codex, I had no idea how to monetize a fan page, so my coach suggested that I interview face book experts and record it for my customers.
At first, I was like no way man, but I realized that was the best strategy to do. So, I set up my first interview with someone I knew…my coach.
Pretty ingenious right? Once I got him talking he laid down an hour’s worth of great content!!! It was easy because I knew him well and I talked to him just like we talk all the time. I even forgot we were taping after a while.
It turns out that over coming my fear of speaking has helped me in many areas of my life…even in business.
What are some of the fears that you need to conquer?
Are you ready to tackle them head on and wipe them out? Let me know…
Here are a few takeaways I got from this story…
- Everyone has fears to overcome, but I pushed past my fear despite being uncomfortable. I guess that makes me successful in life.
- Overcoming self-made obstacles is very rewarding. I felt proud of myself being able to do my brother-in-law’s eulogy & honoring him.
- Don’t mess with a large Irish man sporting a Shillelagh.