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D Scott Angle
D Scott Angle
Husband, Father, Friend, Executive Phoenix Trader, School Governor, Blogger, Mentor, Social Media Advisor, Website Usability Analyst, Dad Taxi

3 Steps to Stop Being Afraid

May 29, 2012 7:55 am

How many times have you wanted to go ahead move on an idea or share your view with colleagues, only to stop yourself because you were afraid of being ridiculed? Our fear of looking ridiculous can be one of the biggest things to hold us back in both our lives as well as our careers.

Did you know that a huge, and I do mean staggering, number of people are afraid of public speaking more than they fear death? Not that I'm advocating an unnatural fear of death, but come on people, really?!?

Why is it that people are afraid of public speaking?

What will they think? What if they laugh at me...

What if they don't like me... I'll just look ridiculous...

Unfortunately, there comes a time for all of us when we have to just have to 'put on our big-boy (or girl) pants' and get on with the task at hand. Fortunately, there are things we can do to to help us overcome our fears and rise to the occasion.


More often than not our fears can be attributed to a simple, but real, lack of understanding about a situation, group or even person. That is, we fear the unknown.

Of course you know this already. It's something that's discussed regularly, and the solution is so obvious that most people fail to mention it: research. Find out as much as possible as you can about what you are worried about. For example, from an educational perspective, you can learn about public speaking by watching others speak in public. What you'll soon realize is that even the pros trip up occasionally. And when it happens the audience neither laughs and jeers, nor does the speaker burst into a ball of self-defeatist flames.


Basically, DO what you're afraid of.

I used to have a fear of heights, so I climbed, a lot. I also went on every high ferris-wheel, roller-coaster type ride I could find, and went skiing down narrow paths overlooking sheer drops.

I used to have a fear of public speaking, so I joined my local Toastmasters International, and spoke in front of people, a lot.

Don't get me wrong, I still feel when I do these things, but I've had a bit of a mind-shift as a result of my experiences, and now I enjoy the flutter as a bit of 'extra flavouring' to the situation.

Look silly on your own terms

If you have any worries about what people think of you, even if you don't want to admit it, one strategy to overcome this is to intentionally look silly on your own terms. Allow yourself to enjoy the feeling, because you're in control and can stop it at any time... After a fairly short time this will bleed over into your other activities, and you WILL start to feel less conspicuous and more self-confident.

One way of doing this, and I can't remember where I first picked this up, is to simply wear a pair of outrageously bright socks once a month. People will look, you will feel self-conscious, but you're doing it on your own terms and you will get over it...

If someone asks you about them, just say they were a present from your: kids/niece/aunt/grandparents, whatever. It doesn't matter, you're doing this as an exercise to help you break yourself out of your self-imposed comfort zones. Who cares what other people think!?! Besides, they probably just want to know where they can get a pair.

Tell you what, if you what a great example of 'putting on your big-boy pants' and just getting on with it, check out this inspiring video clip. After you've watched it, share with us what you've done to push yourself... just write it in the comments below. Go on, we won't laugh, but then you wouldn't care anyway, would you...

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