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The fear never goes away

Our pursuit to be perfect (or “flawless” if you’re in denial) is just never ending. The worst part is that you aim for perfection even if you’re not a perfectionist! Wait, how does that work? It’s simple, we’re all wired to postpone or procrastinate the things that are hard or new or both. Because we don’t have enough context or assurance or validation that your idea will work. And that’s precisely why there are millions of wannabe writers, speakers, coaches, singers, athletes, and wantrepreneurs. They all have great intent but fail to launch themselves for the fear of being judged, being proven wrong and self-doubt.

I’ve had a bunch of fears myself. I remember how badly I wanted to become a speaker and rouse, motivate and inspire audiences. Just one problem — I’d never spoken in front of an audience before! Heck, I knew there was a Toastmasters or a speakers’ forum nearby but it took me years to muster courage and sign up for a membership. Despite knowing fully when the community is supportive and the perfect platform for someone like me to gain confidence.

My first speech was a stunner. I got a standing ovation. Everyone gets one whey they deliver their first ever speech. The second one bombed, so did the third one and the one after that. I might have given at least a dozen crappy speeches before I found my voice and instead of speeches started to give talks. Because that’s who I was and what I thoroughly enjoyed.

What changed? The bombings made me realise that I was never going to be perfect at delivering speeches and pressure of trying to become one was ruining it for me! And the biggest one — the idea of eliminating fear (speaker’s nerves) from my body (as if it were a disease) would never go away. Instead, I could learn to channelize it and use as energy to add more punchiness to my talks.

And it worked like magic! Because I was now focusing on being myself than measuring up to an ideal or standard that doesn’t hold up to my individuality. But like all great experiences, I had to go through the grind to be the person I am today. I won’t say I’m fearless but I certainly can recognize it, acknowledge it and dance with it. Speaking of which, I think Seth Godin says it the best, “the fear never goes away, you just learn to get better at dancing with it.”