Grab a doughnut and let me tell you a story.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Joe came across a job opening that required he go from company to company training management teams.
It was a non-office job which is exactly what he was looking for.
He picked up the phone and gave them a call.
After going over the qualifications babble, the talks drifted to the all-important interview. There was a slight problem, though. The manager doing the interview was going to be out of town the following two weeks, and the only day that was available in the near future was the very next day.
Before Joe could give it a second thought, he said "yes."
Then, the manager pulled a fast one on him. He casually told him before he got off the phone, "Oh yeah, for the interview you will be giving a presentation in front of eight interviewers. Well, actually two presentations. You'll need to do one in English and one in Spanish."
Again, before he could think about it, Joe said "yes."
As soon as Joe hung up the phone, that's when the "oh crap!" kicked in. He was stressing out and wondering what the hell he was thinking agreeing to this type of interview!
For starters, he didn't know anything about the subject they wanted him to present on. And secondly, he would have to do it in two separate languages in front of eight scrutinizing interviewers!!! Yes, he speaks Spanish, but never under these circumstances.
What would you have done? Would you have said yes?
Consider the stress factors:
- The pressure of a job interview in an unfamiliar environment
- The interview being a group interview
- He’d have to give a presentation to these interviewers
- He had less than 24 hours to prepare a presentation on a subject he knew nothing about
- He’d have to give the same presentation in two separate languages
That is a lot of moving parts.
Now, make no mistake, Joe isn't some special mutant breed of human that doesn't experience fear. He does. He's like the rest of us. But instead of running from the fear, he went toward it.
The very next day he drove four hours (one way) to the company's office building. Yes, four wretched hours to a job interview that he was stressin'. Not to mention it was over 100 degrees outside.
He arrived, greeted the manager, and just before Joe was set to begin, the manager threw one more obstacle into the road. He said, "Joe, how about you give the first half of the presentation in English, and then switch to Spanish for the second half."
What little preparation he was able to manage the night before was just tossed a live hand grenade.
Guess what happened?
Joe, that son of a gun, he freakin’ did it!
They weren't the greatest presentations in the world. Nope. But he did it. He went against his own doubts, fears, and his body’s survival system.
You know what happened as a result? The next day they called to tell him that he got the job. All because he faced his fears.
How easy would it have been to make up an excuse for why he couldn't do the interview the next day? Or that maybe this wasn’t the right job for him after all? Extremely easy...
I don't know about you, but after hearing the story, I was inspired to turn the tables on fear.
What about you?
What Can Joe’s Experience Teach Us?
1. Say "YES" before doubt shows up!
Joe experiences fear like the rest of us.
However, it’s how he dealt with the fear that gave him control over it. He took command of it instead of the other way around. He just used the magic word "YES." That’s what I like to refer to as "committing."
When you commit, you have decided that you’re doing it. There’s no backing out at this point, and that’s why this is so important.
If he would have skirted the issue or gave a shaky answer like “maybe” or “that might work for me. I’ll have to see, though” or “I’ll try to see if I can maybe possibly think about doing it…”, then he would have given his nervous thoughts and energy multiple paths to plague him.
He would have been attacked on multiple fronts by the artillery of doubt.
By saying “YES” he gave himself the advantage. He chose the battleground and his courage allowed him to rise above his own doubts and fears.
So, say “YES” before fear has a chance to infect your decision making capabilities.
2. Having public speaking skills gives you more opportunities to use the magic word “YES”
He was a filler-word warrior when he started. He’d sweat too. Yet, he kept saying “YES” to speaking opportunities.
Because of that he developed his communication skills, and although this would be a tough situation for anyone, he had prepared himself.
If he had never faced his original fears of public speaking, he would have surely said no to that job opportunity. And if he did say yes, while certainly courageous, it’s unlikely he'd ever hear from that company again.
The point? Get started today with low-pressure speaking opportunities such as joining a Toastmasters club. When you overcome your fear of public speaking, you expand your opportunities.
What Are You Going To Do?
Sure, Joe's story didn't involve surviving three bouts of cancer.
He didn't fight Godzilla and save the world, and he sure as hell didn't beat Forrest Gump at ping pong.
Still, it inspired me to say "YES" to the uncomfortable.
Say "YES" quickly and worry later.
Please do me a favor. Using your mouse, highlight the area to the right of this sentence to reveal a secret message. SHARE THIS POST ALREADY! SHEESH!!!
About this guy...
Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life. In less than a year since, I’ve started this website, Tactical Talks, competed and won 3 separate public speaking contests, wrote a book, and spoke at one of the top universities in southern California (SDSU).
And look, I’m not telling you this to “show off.” My purpose is to show you that it’s possible to start doing the things that YOU want to do. And that’s my goal. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.