It’s John, here. Thanks for coming to read this personal story of mine that centers around my journey to face my biggest fear. Keep reading and I think you might find that my biggest fear might actually be yours, too. You probably just don’t know it or, you know it and just don’t want to admit it. Study after study show that most people’s biggest fear is public speaking. Countless people fear speaking in front of a group more than death. That’s extremely profound! The official name for it is Glossophobia. Surprisingly, public speaking is not my biggest fear. It’s my second.
My biggest fear is facing my true self (see video at end of blog of my speech). I have yet to find anything more challenging, depressing and, yet, liberating than digging to the deepest parts of my being to discover who and what I truly am and why I do the things I do. Most people would rather go on making poor decisions about their lives, their relationships, jobs, finances and health than to stop and work backwards for a period of time to discover why they do what they do. I have discovered through literally thousands of hours of medical and psychological care that going as far back as you need to – and many times it’s going back to your early childhood events – can reveal valuable information about what fears currently drive you today.
The mission of Mabry Living is to “serve others by using our unique gifts and outrageous antics to ignite creativity, growth and laughter in the world, with an emphasis on fitness, simplicity, truth and love.” Fulfilling that mission entails communicating effectively through the various mediums Sarah and I use to express ourselves (i.e. this blog, Facebook, Vine, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube). Public speaking is a part of what we do to share our experience, strength and hope about our real world struggles.
In an effort to be best prepared to deliver clear, effective and moving speeches to groups about my life’s journey, I joined a local Toastmasters group to help coach me to be the best public speaker I can be. For those of you who don’t know, Toastmasters empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders and is accomplished by having members work through a number of speeches that are critiqued by your group.
My journey toward addressing my second biggest fear – public speaking – started by first pressing the “pause” button on life to seek out my true self, which was completely disjointed and mangled. Honestly, excavating through the minefields of my past was the most fearful thing I have ever done. It was more frightening than making the decision to amputate my leg. I never knew what I would find in counseling sessions, inpatient treatment and through working the 12-steps of a recovery program. At any moment a bomb from my past experiences could blow up, causing me to react in anger, fear, disappointment, loathing, jealousy, disgust or self-hatred. I, like most people, don’t want to turn over the wreckage of my past because it is too painful and takes too much time and effort. I have found, however, that what initially looks like taking steps backwards by stopping to deal with your true self – which is many times broken and closed off – actually yields profound results in moving forward in one’s life. Like I said before, I think many people out there are actually more afraid of connecting with their brokenness than anything else. If that strikes a nerve with you, watch the video below.
To help demonstrate the difficult, yet rewarding, journey toward unearthing my true self, I would like to share with you a version of my very first Toastmasters speech. The goal was to introduce myself to the group through a 4-6 minute speech about me. The title of my speech was “Public Speaking Is Not My Biggest Fear.” Here is a video of what I presented to the audience. Life is too short not to offer the world your best. I hope you will find some inspiration that you, too, can overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of connecting with your true self.