Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Fear

In the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, the once-and-future King suffers from an incapacitating stutter. Although he gets expert coaching from the unorthodox yet adept Geoffrey Rush, he doesn’t fully unlock and transcend his impairment until he digs deep into resolving his fear.

So, the question is: might fear be holding you back from doing what you truly want? Sometimes it’s obvious – and at other times, subtler. For example: procrastination and aversion are great ways to deflect what’s really going on underneath. “I’ll get to it sometime.” But what is the real reason?

Yes, fear applies to many things. But the statistic is true: more people are afraid of public speaking than dying. Far too many people have told me they haven’t taken the next step in their career because it involved speaking or presentations. People generally think this can’t be changed – that they’re hopeless, or that it’s just part of their identity.

This is just one of the reasons why, when I start to work with people, I discuss my philosophy of “everyday performance” – that we’re performing all the time in accordance with what we’ve learned. How we dress and gesture can more easily be understood to be a type of “performance” in the world. But it also includes emotional responses – such as fear and nerves. Yes, your nervousness (and even subtle, occasional discomfort) is a learned behavior, that surfaces in relation to particular stimuli happening around you.

This means that it’s not part of your essence. Fear/nervousness is something you do – not what you are. Which therefore means you can learn to do something else – and actually find true comfort and ease – even joy – in front of others.

No, faking it doesn’t count. You have to feel great – comfort is one of my five essential components of holistic communication. But it’s actually a faster process than you might think. If you’d like to know more, please drop me an email.