The Scariest Moment of Your Life

Contributor: Adrian Rutt

Would you rather sleep alone in a haunted house for a night or stand up in front of a room full of your peers and give a 30-minute presentation on effective public speaking? What about witness an actual exorcism or write a blog post for your company that thousands will read? What about lying in a pre dug, unfilled grave for an hour or leading a few people in your company on a team building retreat?

Forgetting for a moment who in their right mind is giving you these either/or scenarios, I hope that the choice is clear. But knowing what I know about fear of public speaking being a greater fear among humans than death, I’m not so sure some of these decisions would be made quickly. Let that sink in for a moment, though. Death scares people less than public speaking.

The problem isn’t that people are deliberating about what they would rather do - that makes sense - the problem is that they are deliberating because they know they are unprepared. When you have an inner dialogue in your head that goes something like this…

Well I don’t believe in ghosts really, but I know the mind can play tricks on me… But public speaking? What if they laugh? What if I sweat? I don’t think ghosts would care if I sweat…

… you’re probably unprepared. Public speaking, writing effectively, and leading small groups is a no-brainer for the prepared: a lack of confidence, as in the case of writing a blog post, usually stems from a fear of failing. Far from being a rah-rah motivational post, I’m here to say that your fears are probably well-founded! But this fear shouldn’t cripple you; it should motivate you. The fact that you didn’t volunteer to give a talk or write a post for your organization doesn’t mean you can say with a sigh of relief ‘all is well,’ but rather it means you should be thinking ‘I better do something about that…’

The philosopher Seneca once said that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I say “lucky is what we call other people; but those other people hardly ever refer to themselves as lucky.” They know that being prepared for anything allows them to be ready for everything. No one really knows what little tidbit of knowledge will propel you to the front, so you might as well soak up as much as you can...


 For more information on ways to prepare for opportunity – Click here