It's funny how the things I'm most afraid to do are things I'm actually pretty good at. Catch me before public speaking, presenting or teaching and I'm close to a mess. It scares me to talk, explain and engage other people. Before such events, my breathing is shallow, my teeth are clinched and my mind is on the “what-ifs”--what if I forget something; what if I get tongue-tied; what if my “Soufeast” comes out; what if I don't know the answer to a question?
What helps me is to think about these worst-case scenarios and answer them. It goes a little something like this: Well...I'll follow up with an email or bring it up at the end of my presentation if I forget something. If I get tongue-tied, I'll chuckle at myself (naturally) and slow down- I shouldn't be talking that fast anyway. If my “Soufeast” comes out, I’ll reel it back it and continue my “professional speech.” My accent is a part of me and will always be there, but it can be controlled. And lastly, if I don't know the answer to a question, I can always say, "I don't have that information right now. I will look into it for you and get back to you as soon as possible." See? Those big scary monsters don't seem so big and bad when you break them down and face them.
I try to do this with many big scary events or tasks I face. This comes up for writing the next books. It’s quite the task to write more novels, more stories, more plots and develop more characters. I don't always remember this fear-busting method but when I do, it relieves most, if not all, of my anxiety and leaves me feeling confident. I just take it one chapter at a time, knowing that things will work out even if it's not as I’d originally planned. It might even turn out better than I'd planned.
How do you face your fears?