Two minutes prior to standing up in front of the crowd at the library last night I asked our oldest son to share the present he gave me for my 50th birthday. My wife was the only person who was aware of the plot ahead of time and she was sworn to secrecy. I knew our son was capable but I didn't want him to lose any sleep over his public speaking appearance. When it was all over, he said, "it's a good thing you didn't warn me in advance, I might have skipped out."
Fear of public speaking ranks right up there with fear of dying. How about the fear of rejection? Does that hold you back? I addressed all of these fears last night in front of an age group from six months to ninety-three. There were no notes to hide behind. My speaking mentor, James Miller, once taught me, "if you give a person a crutch, he'll use it." The best part of the evening was reaching three new aspiring writers. I believe they got the message. Final score, Caveman 1, Fear 0. It was a good night. The poem below demonstrates the best way to overcome your fears. Place it where you can read it every morning when you wake up. It works.
"Our Greatest Fear"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.