Based on my Google keyword search, there are 10 things people fear the most.
On that list, I’ve already tried:
#1 Fear of Flying and
#3 Fear of Heights,
this entire blog is about tackling
#8 Fear of Rejection,
and for now at least, I have no interest in confronting
#6 Fear of Death
#9 Fear of Spiders…
I want to take a shot at #2: Fear of Public Speaking.
Of course, I have done public speaking before and I have a great passion for it. However, my previous speeches were in places where people expected me to speak and were receptive to my message. What would happen I held up a sign on the street and give a speech there instead of in the auditoriums? Would people still welcome my message? The thought of that makes me want to throw up already. In fact, I might have to reconsider which is worse: public storytelling or spiders.
On my 97th rejection attempt, I made a sign and went to the streets of Austin, attempting to tell strangers my story.
As you can tell in my video, the toughest part was not the speech but the time leading up to it.
I keep shaking my head at how purely psychological fear can be. Even knowing that I shouldn’t care about how others perceive me, and understanding that the worst that could happen is being ignored, the fear of being judged and rejected by strangers is still there. There was a classic book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and that was the exact approach I took with this request. As soon as I opened my mouth and people stopped to listen, the rest was smooth sailing.
In the end, I am so glad I did it.
Learning: Sometimes no matter how hard you train yourself, the fear of rejection will still be there. However, you’ve strengthened yourself and minimized your enemy – fear. If you rely on the strength, and “feel the fear and do it anyway,” you will always be glad you did.