It is interesting that we are interdependent beings, and yet we are afraid of each other.
Why are we afraid of people? A question that has plagued my mind for years.
I deliver Public Speaking, Confidence Building and Mental Health Awareness Training, and I do this because there is a need to overcome the fear of being our authentic selves openly. Most people are terrified of public speaking, a lot of individuals lack the confidence to interact and step out of their comfort zones, and mental health issues still remain an area of growing concern because of one thing – FEAR! We are afraid of what other people may think if we put ourselves out there or put ourselves forward. Thoughts like, “what if I make a mistake in front of an audience?”, “what if I approach someone at an event and they think I am being forward or weird”, and “what would my colleagues think if I disclose that I have an issue with my mental health?” constantly hold us back from being free to express ourselves and communicate openly with others. These thoughts also get in the way of living life to its best.
The Fear of Rejection is probably the Biggest Fear of All!
I am not a mind reader, and I am yet to meet anyone else who is, so why do we worry about what others think when the chances are that they may be thinking the exact opposite of what we have been imagining.
Many years ago, when I first started out as a speaker I was at an event in the capacity of the Master of Ceremony. It was a 40th birthday celebration and not overly formal which meant that at times people were talking to each other whilst the formalities were taking place. Fortunately for me, I had developed a knack for holding the attention of the audience, which meant that I rarely experienced the disruptions or distractions that could make my role tricky or challenging. On this occasion however, I noticed 2 ladies whispering, pointing at me, and giggling when I was on stage introducing a speaker, and it really got to me. Suddenly I became very self-conscious and started to second guess myself. “Had I said something wrong? Was my outfit not well fitted?” Then I decided that I needed to ignore what was going on, focus on the task at hand and do an excellent job for my client. So, I maintained my composure, did my introductions, and came off stage.
As I came off the stage the 2 women approached me, which concerned me at the time, and then they asked if I was Ore. I said that I was, and they responded by exclaiming “We thought it was you! It has been over 20 years since we last saw you, and we were sitting there trying to work out if it was you or not. Well done! You are doing such a great job tonight.”
I was gobsmacked! I thought that they had been laughing or criticising me, and all along they had been impressed with my efforts and had been trying to establish if it was me or not.
I learnt a lesson that day. Never to worry about what other people are thinking and to always do what I need to do regardless of what they may actually be thinking – Good or Bad. My attitude now is that if I am doing the right thing for the right reason, why should I worry about what other people think and why should I let them stop me.
I would therefore like to encourage you to be your authentic selves in all situations, and if anyone has got a problem with that – it is a ‘them’ problem, not yours.