Conquering My Fear

I used to have a fear of public speaking. I have mentioned this in several blogs previously. When I was in junior high I still remember the embarrassment I suffered after speaking in front of a large group of classmates. After that, I knew I never wanted to speak in front of groups again.

Junior high embarrassments stay with you, at least they did for me. Through the rest of my schooling, I barely got through speech and other classes where a presentation was a requirement. After college, I choose a career that didn’t require me to have to speak in front of people. I choose jobs that had little or no public speaking involved, talk about limiting yourself. It was a pretty limiting decision.

When Rodan and Fields came along, I decided to join the company immediately after seeing the skin care results and business opportunity, but I had a long list of things I would not do. The list included never attending meetings and never speaking in front of groups.

Everyone has something that is holding them back. It was challenging for me because I was growing this great business, but I did it only through one-on-one meetings. As my team started to grow, people started asking me to host events and attend meetings where I would be the presenter, this included my out-of-state teams.

Hiding my weakness was becoming impossible. When our corporate staff came to our area, I was chosen to speak in front of 300 or more people. I was doing the unthinkable. I spent a good year or more trying to memorize everything I was to present on stage and when the nerves kicked in, my mouth got dry, my heart would beat fast and my memory would leave the room. I was showing everyone how nervous it made me feel. I was putting myself out there, just like I did in junior high.

Sometimes it’s easy to hide weaknesses, but one day when you want to promote you will have to deal with what is holding you back. In our industry a lot of people quit. They blame it on our business model, but most of the time it’s because of their unwillingness to put themselves out there. It’s more comfortable to put limitations on ourselves. I know this from my own experience. That is why personal development is so important.

What I have found over the past five years, dealing with my fear and helping people through their fears or other personal issues, is that you can be put into a “holding pattern.” You stay right where you are until you look at what is holding you back. Unconsciously, I put myself in a “holding pattern.” I wasn’t growing my business as fast as I could have because making it to the top would have meant more stage time.

It is hard to advance to the next level if you don’t work on the issues that are holding you back. For you maybe it is a lack of self-confidence or leadership skills. My advice is to keep working through it. If I can do it, so can you.

As I got more confident, I started to realize that public speaking wasn’t as difficult as I thought. I realized that my delivery was better by not memorizing my speech. I became more relaxed and it was a better experience for the audience and me. I learned that overcoming self-limitations is one of the best accomplishments.

I would encourage you to examine what is holding you back. Take steps today to face a fear. Allow yourself to make mistakes along the way; day by day it will get easier and you will be and feel more natural with your newfound skills. You will be ready for your next promotion when you allow this growth to happen.

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