May 21, 2012

Transform your fear

Listening to Marcia Meiers' keynote at UCSB's Professional Woman's Association conference last week, this slide show quote struck me:

"We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures... Take a risk a day -- one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it." ~ Susan Jeffers

If only I were so eloquent when explaining to my clients how fear works and why it's futile to try to completely eradicate it. The adrenaline rush that makes your stomach flutter, your face turn red and your hands clammy is not typically a welcome companion, but one that's ridiculously hard to shun.

Her understanding, first, that fear is a part of our lives, just like sadness, anger, joy and love, is profound. No matter how much we would like never to be afraid again, we know it's impossible. The fear of fear, and the fear of a negative reaction to fear is what makes people like me suffer from anxiety and the occasional panic attack. Wouldn't it be great if we could accept the inevitability of fear?

In terms of speaking, I do talk about the exciting adventure of it. I like to compare speaking to a roller coaster ride or some other risk-taking adventure that one enjoys (climbing, skiing, racing, tight-rope walking, diving -- whatever gets your blood pumping). You can find it scary and fun all at the same time -- at least I do. And I do get those butterflies and sweaty palms, but it doesn't mean that I can't still get on the stage and enjoy myself. That fluttery, jittery physical sensation is what I channel, direct and focus into a powerful energy that I give my audience and they, in return, give back.

As for taking a risk a day, well, this is what my 12 Speaking Challenges for 2012 program is all about! How can we grow and learn if we never experience risk? If we stay comfortable and safe all the time, if we don't try new things and challenge ourselves, we stagnate. How timely was her quote? I came home from the conference and shot a video, because I don't like making videos and hence, knew I had to do one, and knew I had to model my own challenges for the members of my 12for12 program. And you know what? I did feel great once I had done it, just like Susan Jeffers said I would!

Thank you to Marcia Meier, for not only sharing this quote in her presentation, but for pulling the page out of her printed PowerPoint so I could bring it home! She has an amazing life story, full of pain and struggle, incredible challenges and triumphs. How could I not be inspired to come home and push myself just a little further?

What risks are you afraid to take? What challenges are you avoiding? Join my 12 Speaking Challenges program and make it a group effort!

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