Name What Scares You
Episode #1 of the course 10 Strategies to Overcome Your Everyday Fears by Frank McKinley
Welcome to the course!
I’m Frank McKinley. I’ve been in business and leadership for the past 4 decades. I’ve been in a variety of scary situations:
• Saving a failing store
• Leading a public speaking club
• Having a robber stick a gun in my ribs
In this course, you’ll learn strategies to deal with what scares you—and come out better, stronger, and ready to face the next challenge!
We Focus on the Wrong Thing
When I was a young man, my car’s engine started skipping.
I mentally reviewed the causes. Maybe the air filter is dirty. Or maybe the spark plugs and ignition wires need replacing.
I did all that and the engine still skipped.
Then I took the distributor cap off. Inside was massive corrosion. I mixed a bowl of water and baking soda. “What do I have to lose?” I wondered. “The worst that can happen is I’ll need to buy a new distributor cap.
I scrubbed every inch of the corrosion away with the paste. I reinstalled the cap and got behind the wheel to turn the key.
As I drove around my neighborhood, I realized I got what I wanted.
No more skipping.
Sometimes our problems have several solutions. It’s possible that doing all those things to my engine made it purr. But what if I had fixed the distributor cap first?
Fix the Right Problem
We fear public speaking, so our voices freeze on stage.
Our voices work perfectly when we talk with friends. There’s no biological reason they won’t work on stage.
What we’re really afraid of is saying something others will think is stupid. Then we assume it will happen, with no evidence but our vivid imaginations.
When we know what really scares us, we can deal with the fear that stands between us and success.
If you’re afraid of saying something dumb in public, research your topic and say something wise. Practice saying it until you have the idea memorized. Test your idea with friends and find out what they think about it. Defend it with three types of evidence. Then you’ll sound credible, reducing the chance that people will laugh at you.
Ask Yourself, “What Is the Worst That Can Happen?”
• Can you live with it?
We make mistakes every day. They don’t kill us. We learn from them and do better next time.
If you faint on stage, that might be embarrassing. For a while. Take to heart what Zig Ziglar said, “Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.”
Tomorrow is a new day and it’s yours to use in a magnificent way.
• Can you improve on it?
When I fixed my car, I hoped that everything I tried would improve its performance. And I kept trying until something worked.
You may not find the answer on your first try. Thomas Edison’s team spent 14 months and performed 1200 experiments perfecting his incandescent light bulb.
• Can you eliminate the possibility?
Preparation won’t stop you from feeling a little nervous before a big speech.
Think of your fear as excitement. Your body feels the same either way. But your mind works far better with excitement than fear.
Do what you can, and let it go.
Name what scares you and you can overcome what really scares you. Then you’ll be free to be your best whenever you want to be.
In our next lesson, we’ll learn a technique that lets you keep your head while your heart is racing. See you there!
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
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