When you step up to do something outside your comfort zone, do you feel fear or do you feel excitement? I’d argue that what you might initially describe as fear could in fact be the excitement and anticipation of the task.
Many people who are asked to speak in front of groups try and get out of it because they think they are afraid of public speaking. This might be true for a few people, but most people who haven’t spoken in front of an audience before really have no basis to feel fear about the task (other than hearing other people who said they were afraid to do it).
Perhaps you have gone out with friends to sing karaoke together.
It might have taken some cajoling and teasing to get you over your initial hesitation, but because you were with friends and they were doing it (and nobody died from embarrassment) you decided to choose a song and get in queue to perform.
As your name gets closer and closer to being called, you may have felt an increase in your anxiety and mistaken it for being afraid, when in fact you were probably just feeling excited about singing in public.
What’s the difference between fear and excitement?
- Both can make your heart beat faster.
- Both can increase your body temperature.
- Both can make you perspire.
- Both can make your hands shake a bit.
Why is it easier to believe that you’re afraid of something rather than excited about it?
The next time you’re on-deck to speak at your department meeting (or take the stage at your local karaoke bar) and you’re feeling your pulse begin to race, try and calm your nerves by telling yourself that you are simply excited to share your insights with your teammates (or to share your take on Pat Benatar’s greatest hits) and then get up there and hit ’em with your best shot.