Break through your fears to reveal the future

When I was a boy, the last thing I wanted to do at school was stand-up in front of people, work in groups, wear bright-colored clothing, or speak to anyone in public. In fact, I think most people outside my immediate family must have thought I was either anti-social, or just mute. It's not that I couldn't speak, it's that I was terrified! I just didn’t know what to answer and by the time I did:

  1. I received strange looks; and/or
  2. I received a second question.

After a while, I got used to the strange looks, and I also gave up answering the first question because I knew I wouldn’t be able to answer it in time.

When you get older, not having the courage to speak-up makes you susceptible to bullying but I managed to endure that part somewhat. I actually became very good at physically being in the classroom, but aside from the roll call, no-one really noticed I was there some days (including some of my teachers!).

As I hit my mid-teens, I realized that something had to change. Though I was very slowly building my confidence, I needed to break my silence and faced my fear “head-on”. I decided to campaign as a candidate on two fronts:

  1. School captain
  2. Class captain

This was something that was completely out of my behavioral comfort zone. I can’t stress this enough, “completely out of my zone”. That meant I needed to suddenly stand-up in front of large audiences, give ad hoc speeches that showed integrity, control and confidence.

The results were not important.  The "glory" of the title didn’t interest me either – I just wanted to conquer myself and my fears. I wanted to prove that I could break who I thought I was. For me, this is where my realization started.

What I discovered during the process was amazing! I actually enjoyed giving speeches (sure I was nervous!), the audience applauses were totally unexpected (and I was also somewhat embarrassing at first), and I had a new burst in confidence that went from strength-to-strength. I knew I was onto something but I didn't know where it would lead me.

Have you also noticed situations, sometimes annoying, sometimes extremely challenging that keep coming back to you? Those anxious situations are most-likely cause by elements of anxiousness and fear. These lie deep beneath. More importantly, they are messages that say:

“Conquer me to conquer yourself”.

It's amazing how many people realize them and don't do anything about it, except try the magic of "avoidance".  As a result, they keep repeating. Anxiousness and fear play games on your mind and even prevent you from recognizing them. But repetitive signals are a chance to do something about them and unveil a new part of yourself.

These days, my fear of making presentations or delivering leadership classes has almost gone, and what remains is by choice.

By the way, I was elected as class captain, and I managed to be elected as secretary in the school committee. The rest as they say, is in your LinkedIn profile!

Gabriele Ciminelli