Fear is a Liar

Failure

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I regularly find myself in a room full of strangers. Meeting one on one with an acquaintance in a coffee shop, a conference room of about 10-20 people, a virtual classroom with almost 100 logged in from places in Europe and the Americas, or addressing a crowd of 200-300 people. But this time it is a bit different.

It was a Saturday night – my fever is on and off since the Sunday prior. I have a head-splitting migraine thinking my head is about to crack. I was in the hospital emergency room the Wednesday before and the medications they gave me does not seem to work. I was sitting there and in a few minutes it would be my turn to speak.

Brian Tracy is a renowned public speaker but he says he still gets nervous every time he takes the stage. Being a lesser mortal than my friend Brian, I get that to. My body is showing its signs of nervousness as I get into diarrhea fits minutes before I get on stage. But as I said, this is a bit different.

I would be addressing a group of business owners and C-Suite executives of corporate Manila. I have prepared and rehearsed my speech, took my medications but my fever is still killing it. The head-splitting migraine is not a big help either. To make matters more interesting I even got a fish bone stuck in my throat from the dinner course.

That’s when fear set in and a series of questions came racing through my head – what if I just veer away from my script? It would be much more convenient to give a shorter speech as the pain of the fever and migraine is bothering me. These are very successful people, what right have I to speak in front of them? I will just make this short and sweet and do a graceful exit as possible. They say fever makes a person delirious, I say fever magnifies stage fright ten trillion times.

Veering away from the script would be a rational decision. My fever is legit. I am rationalizing to myself that it would be okay. If I would not go the whole 9 yards these people has nothing to lose as they are already on top of the financial food chain anyway.

I suddenly got reminded by this statement from Brian Tracy – “Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.” I also got reminded of my advocacy – health education and financial education through entrepreneurship. I remembered my 212 reasons why I was there and doing what I do in the first place. I took the stage and delivered my talk.

And it was just amazing! I got the engagement from the audience far from what I was expecting. I was delivering privileged information that they do not know about, yet. I am not the message but I was a worthy messenger. The room was climate controlled but beads of sweat is trickling down my face (must be the fever). But I held on, I did the whole 9 yards as I planned.

And boy I am sure glad I did not let fear and the rationalizations take hold of me. The end result is a potential business that can gross half a million in sales revenue monthly. Have I succumb to the seeming helplessness of my situation, how much monthly sales do you think I would get?

In closing, feel the fear and do it anyway. If you fail take it as a lesson. As the Japanese proverb says – “Fall seven times, and stand up eight.” (Or was that Dwyane Wade?) But what if you do not fail? What if you did succeed? Would you rather face the pain of discipline to push through your goals, or would you rather face the pain of regret?

pain of discipline, pain of regret

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