If you’re like me and have had public speaking or performing anxiety since you were in school, then this time of year may hold memories of that feared first day of school. Will I have to get up in front of the class? Will I have to introduce myself? Will I be randomly called upon?
Despite your age at the arrival of this fear, you are now likely familiar with how the endless “what ifs” can monopolize your entire being for days to weeks prior to a situation. In college, I scanned the syllabus in record time to determine if a presentation was required -then panicked and dropped the class if I couldn’t make a deal with the professor to write 20 extra pages instead of speaking.
So, take a deep breath and reminisce about how you USED to feel the first day of school, or the first day on the job, or any situation in which you might be called upon to speak or perform.
“What if” you started to define yourself by your future, instead of limiting yourself by your past?
Does any of this sound familiar?
“I’m too anxious to take the workshop, I’ll be the worst one there. I can’t speak or perform where I live, never mind in front of complete strangers across the country.”
“I’ve always had this challenge my entire life. This is just how I am. I’m not the kind of person who can speak or perform in public. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
“This is how I’ve always dealt with it and I will continue to avoid it.”
“I’ve tried Toastmasters or have given speeches or performances. Why hasn’t my fear reduced like I thought it would? Why doesn’t the Face Your Fears approach work for me?”
Beating yourself up over your past seems like deserved punishment that will somehow push you into action. If you’re defining yourself by your past, you’re going to create more of your past. If you repeatedly look at your false negative thoughts and outcomes, the “evidence” will feel very real and prevent you from taking action.
How do you know if you are limiting yourself by your past?
• You limit your current potential by what you’ve been able to do in the past.
• You explain your life and current behavior by what happened in your past.
• Your identity is based on your past and is hard to change.
• You make excuses based on past experiences.
• You use false “evidence” from your past to fuel your negative thought patterns.
• What you know comes from past learning and not from up-to-date information.
Although we do need to learn from our past and grow from mistakes we’ve made, we must be conscious of our forward future thinking.
You can create a future that is better than your past. Instead of being defined by your past experiences, you can take control of who you want to be.
It’s time to reprogram your internal GPS and start focusing on the new road ahead. The past is over and gone, you cannot go back and change it. Your past has lead you to the person you are today.
Believe it or not, having this fear/challenge in life does create some positive results. Love it for how it has unknowingly served its purpose and say goodbye to it. It’s time to get excited about your future!
Your thoughts create your reality. They also create your interpretation of what already exists. With this in mind, ask yourself, where do you want to think from:
Do you want to think from your past, or do you want to think from your possibility? Do you want to think from your future?
From the perspective of seeing opportunity instead of fear, you will create a completely different experience of the world, and you will also create much more positive results for yourself.
The choice is yours…