Statistics indicate most people share two major fears in life: the fear of dying and the fear of public speaking.
Some people even go as far as saying they’d rather die than have to speak in front of a large crowd. While chances are a person is certainly exaggerating any time they use the phrase, “I’d rather die than…” we must, nonetheless, believe their fear IS real!
What could be the source of this profound and widely shared fear of public speaking? In my unscientific estimation, it can be summed up in one word: validation. Or, rather lack thereof.
Somewhere along our life’s journey, we’ve adopted the notion of waiting for validation from others. You know, that constructive criticism from some self-appointed judge that urges us to either continue on our path or to sit on down. So before even getting started, we stifle our gifts, our goals and our voice out of dread for the negative things “they” may say or think.
If we do find the courage to step on out, we became conditioned (perhaps by one or many who have no vision) to believe our vision shouldn’t be too big or too far out there. After all, what if it never comes to fruition? Then you’ve just gone and embarrassed yourself, right? Don’t you dare share publicly your goals, visions or your gifts. Remember, everyone’s watching YOU. Because we don’t have enough to do in our own daily lives, we’ll follow your life every step of the way, watching and waiting to tell you when you’ve messed up.
Never mind the fact that by sharing, you just may find like-minded people who could help you fulfill your goals. Never mind the fact that by sharing, you may encourage someone else to accept a bigger vision to one day accomplish great things. That you just may set someone free of internal, as well as external, inhibitions with your encouragement, insight, gifts, skills and talent.
Enter the art of journaling onto the scene!
Journaling is a great antidote to fear. Something magical happens during this transfer of feelings from heart to paper, without your subconscious doubts interrupting the process. Journaling allows your inner voice to be heard in an uninhibited fashion. It needs no validation or constructive criticism.
Years ago, when I began hosting journaling workshops, I sought the opinion of several successful people to get their take on this form of expressive writing. I wanted to help novice journal enthusiasts and non-journalers alike understand it’s not hokey-pokey stuff but rather a very beneficial process.
I asked Sandra Yancy, an award-winning international entrepreneur, author, movie producer, speaker, as well as founder and CEO of a five-plus million membership networking organization called eWomenNetwork Inc. Here’s what she had to say about journaling:
Terri, I have been journaling for many years. It has served as a valuable vehicle to share gratitude, express disappointment, capture dreams, and ‘own’ who I am at any other particular moment in my life. By doing so, I can look back through my pages and see how I’ve overcome obstacles and recorded important learnings. Journaling has served as an internal pathway that has led to many improvements and successes. When I reflect on the gifts I have bestowed on my children, the gift of journaling is certainly one of my best! I applaud you for hosting a workshop of this kind so that others, too, can reap the rewards that such a practice provides.
I reached out to world-renowned motivational speaker and author, Les Brown, as well. He’s the recipient of the National Speakers Association’s highest honor: The Council of Peers Award of Excellence, and one of “America’s Top Five Speakers” voted by Toastmasters International. Here are his comments:
I commend you, Terri, for conducting this workshop to help individuals step into their greatness! Too often people find their lives stuck in neutral, going nowhere fast. It’s like the mechanism is there to drive their dreams forward; they just need instruction on how to use it. Self-reflection, through writing, is one such mechanism that can empower you with courage and resiliency to make it against all odds.
While I did not have the great fortune to speak directly to movie producer, director, actor and playwright, Tyler Perry, I read a magazine article about his practice of journaling. This is what he shared with the interviewer about why he journals:
Psalm 119:105 ‘The word is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my pathway.’… I have always walked by faith. Sometimes there was only a little light, a little hope that kept me moving. There were so many times that I didn’t know how I was going to make it. So many times I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, if my hope would be realized or if my dreams would come true. But no matter how dark it got, I kept moving. That is one of the keys to making your dreams come true. JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD! … At the top of every year, I stop and go away to reflect. I will usually take out my journal and read over some of the past years and look at all the things God brought me through, no matter how dark the times. What rereading my journal taught me is that there was always a lamp at my feet. I think if you look at your life, you’ll see a lamp too.
With journaling, you’re writing to yourself about yourself, setting yourself free in the process. Journaling works well that way. The great news is that you don’t have to wait to do it. Start right now! As you allow journaling to become a habit, you’ll begin validating yourself. One day, that validation becomes all you need to publicly share your writings and your story without fear.
There you have it: The joy of journaling! It will make public speaking less of a fear for you. Kick your fears to the curb, get unstuck, reap rewards and keep that lamp burning bright for all to see!
Love & RAWspect,
Terri Liggins is a Writer/Editor/Blogger, seasoned Ghostwriter, Entrepreneur and Book Publisher.Over the past 18 years, she has ghostwritten for numerous authors and public figures, including a world-renown motivational speaker and a U.S. Senator.