Conquer Fear with These Five Words


Something almost no one knows about me is…

…that I am incredibly shy.

Public speaking terrifies me. Making phone calls is difficult and leaves me feeling exhausted. I don’t even like making doctors’ appointments and am relieved when things that ordinarily require speaking to someone can be done online.

My base personality skews strongly toward being an introvert.

Yet, I talk to clients as well as interact with my co-workers nearly daily. I put my ideas out into the world on this blog and in magazine articles. I even speak at conferences in front of large audiences and lead small group break out sessions. At parties I talk to total strangers.

Nearly everyone who meets me would label my personality as an extrovert.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that I am, by nature, very shy.

But, I am also bold and confident.

How do those opposite traits exist in a person?

By choice.

I choose to act in a manner that is much more in accordance with being an extrovert because there are times that those qualities are important tools for me to meet my professional and personal goals. I know that in order to reach goals that are important to me, I need to transcend my default personality trait of being shy.

Not that there is anything wrong with being shy.   My ability to stand back and observe and understand people, my reflective nature and my empathy for others who feel uncomfortable in social situations are incredibly helpful in my work and personal lives.

All the same, there are times where all of us need to move outside our comfort zones if we want to achieve a goal. And, when we move out of our comfort zones, our lizard brains sets off all sorts of warnings to be afraid.

To conquer that fear we need to do this: want something enough that we go beyond what is natural to us in order to get it.

We choose our goal over our fear.

It is desire and drive that takes what was once an albatross and downgrades it to an obstacle.

While it doesn’t remove the fear, it makes the fear manageable.

It’s almost impossible to move with a shackle on you.   But a hurdle? A hurdle can be dealt with.

It comes down to these five words: What do you want more?

What do you want more? To do the skill or to be afraid of the skill.

What do you want more? To write a book or to not have your book read.

What do you want more? To share your ideas or to feel safe by being shy.

“What do you want more?” allows a change in the conversation from what is to what could be. If the answer is what you want more is the comfort of not taking the risk, that is perfectly fine– you have clarified an important non-goal or you might not be ready yet. But, if on the other hand, what you decide is that you do want to do is go for it, then it’s time to choose to jump the hurdle.