Fear

Some people literally feel no pain. The technical term is Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP). CIP is dangerous because it leads people to hurt themselves. Pain is the body’s way of telling us to be careful.

In this new, work-from-home world filled with video calls, it’s increasingly clear that many people have been lulled into a sense of security about their communications.

“Public speaking is even more terrifying than shark attacks or fear of heights for most people”

Some context: it’s well-known that ‘public speaking’ has always been a fear for most people. It’s considered the #1 fear on some lists, even more terrifying than shark attacks or fear of heights. Fear is often a primary driver for engaging a communications/presentation coach. Executives know that their high-stakes communications must be successful. Fear of speaking, the pain of potential failure, leads to greater care, and contributes to the speaker’s success.

Many high-stakes communications are now taking place from our home offices, dining room tables, and bedrooms. While the stakes remain the same, our familiar settings have numbed us to the fear of failure – which is not ALL bad! The more comfortable we are, the looser we are – the better we can be. However, our fear is often what helps drive us to be better, to take the opportunity more seriously, and ensure it’s the best it possibly can be. Yes, it’s great that you didn’t have to travel, that you can do such a high-stakes event while wearing sweatpants, that your dog is curled up by your feet. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that there is still an audience out there, and they are more attentive, needier, and more judgmental than ever before! 

Feeling pain is a good thing for our well-being. Feeling fear is a good thing for us to make the right decisions. Feeling butterflies is often a subset of fear, and butterflies are actually a good thing. Like our Chairman, Bert Decker says: ‘The goal is to get them to fly into formation.’ When Kelly and I speak, we often say we’re going to get worried when we stop feeling butterflies. Champion athletes often talk about how essential feeling nervousness is to achieving peak performance.

Be thankful if you don’t feel fear about this new way of communicating. Be careful to allow it to not be your best as there are still people that need to be inspired and influenced by how you lead them. Ensure it’s the best foot forward, every time. Next week we’ll follow-up with Experience of YOU, and why we all need to be aware of the downfall of a potential ‘Insensitivity to Fear.’

One comment on “Fear

  1. Ben:
    Your claim that “Public speaking is even more terrifying than shark attacks or fear of heights for most people” is not supported by results from two recent American surveys. The ranking instead is pandemic > heights > sharks > public speaking.

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