When Fear Gets in the Way

February 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

This morning in Jeff Goins’ blog post, his guest writer, Anne Peterson, poet, author and speaker, wrote about how people offer up excuses to get out of doing things, and avoid failure. Her mother sounds just like mine. In fact, she said the same words: “There’s no such word as can’t.”

In a recent speech to fellow Toastmasters, I talked about doing something I feared. My fears were my own, but audience members identified, for they have their own to face. The first was my fear of heights and, how, when I was a teen, the prospect of standing on an elevated platform to whitewash the side of our barn terrified me. My second, the fear of speaking was about as big, and so I joined Toastmasters in preparation for a book that I would, one day, promote, or a workshop I would present.

Perhaps you’ve guessed; I`ve done both.  It took months and months of practice—not to mention shaking hands and trembling voice—to feel more comfortable in front of my club members. but in time, I was speaking outside the club too, in other venues. Still challenged by the fear of heights, I fly to destinations for vacations but climb as few ladders as possible.

Learning to speak  has been  a good thing. Since then I have had a book published—well two, including my first little poetry collection. Being prepared has helped for I enjoyed my book events. Still butterflies creep in from time to time when I get up to speak, but I understand that means I care about my audience. Now I focus on my excitement about sharing my presentation, and it has made a big difference.

Anne Peterson quoted Winston Churchill too: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” I identify with that, because we do often stumble as we learn, whether it’s from fear of failure or just part of the learning process. Probably a little of both. If we want something badly enough, we’re willing to work hard to achieve that success, whatever it is.


Carolyn Wilker, storytelling during the event Open Doors Waterloo, 2012.


Entry filed under: artists, authors, blogs, books, business, community, culture, education, entertainment, leadership, photography, public speaking, speaking. Tags: , , , , , , .

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