Part of my job is to be a keynote speaker, meaning that I give speeches in front of groups as large as 7500 people. I’ve delivered over a thousand speeches, been on TV, and even presented to a real life princess before.
I attend and speak at dozens of events a year, where I meet on average maybe 10,000 new people, give or take.
You’d think I was an extrovert, that I loved crowds, that I’m not shy at all. Wrong. I’m totally an introvert, and every speech is an act of bravery.
The Good Stuff is On the Other Side of Fear
We’ve been taught wrong about fear our whole lives. In most societies, fear is considered a feeling tied to “avoid this!” But fear actually serves a different purpose. In speaking to several US Navy SEALs, elite special operators who are trained to run towards danger, they all said the same thing about fear: it’s meant to tell us “be extra cautious here.”
See how totally different those two details are?
AVOID vs BE CAUTIOUS
I can tell you this: everything really worth it in my life happened on the other side of fear. Everything. First kisses. A marriage proposal. Figuring out I was going to be a father. Launching my businesses. Every speech I’ve ever given. Fear. All of it happened after I found my way through fear.
Fear is A Great Alarm But a Crappy Teacher
What you and I are supposed to do with fear is this: hear the alarm, look around, be more cautious, and then decide on our plan of action.
What we are NOT supposed to do with fear is this: hear the alarm, go home.
Fear doesn’t teach us anything. What we DO with fear teaches us. It’s your job to learn and build and adapt and grow and discover what fear will mean for you.
Now is a Good Time
You might be worried that the world will laugh at you. You might think “what if I’m not ready?” You might think “I need to be MORE prepared.”
Are you a parent? Were you ready for your first kid? Most people say no.
The same is true with everything else in life. The world MIGHT laugh at you. More often than not, they won’t notice until you push harder, til you break through your own barriers, til you get out there and show everyone what comes next for you.
Every day you don’t move past your fear is another day you’re depriving the world of something you can share that they need. Isn’t there a path you can take?
My One Last Big Piece of Advice
There are two types of fear: rational and irrational. Rational: there’s a bear chasing you, you should be afraid. Irrational: you’re about to speak in front of a crowd, you’re choosing to be afraid.
My piece of advice for irrational fear is to learn this mental trick:
“This is like this.”
Take the one thing you don’t know and match it to something you DO know.
Launching a business is like being a parent. There’s never a right time. You make a lot of mistakes. You learn on the fly.
Public speaking is like pretending to be someone else for a moment. No one’s really seeing you. They’re seeing the “actor” you.
Find a way to make something foreign feel familiar and it’ll work out.
I believe in you. And so does Ann.
Chris Brogan is a business advisor and New York Times Bestselling author. You can learn more about him at http://chrisbrogan.com