PUBLIC SPEAKING. The very mention of that phrase is enough to make many quake in fear; it is hence a marvellous illustrative turn-point for the discussion on the courage continuum.
The necessity for courage is obvious. We struggle in life without it; indeed, our lives at particular junctures are made hellish mentally, emotionally and spiritually because of our perceived lack of courage.
Like so many, I’ve actually experienced a diverse range of different emotions and results regarding public speaking, from the screaming nervous failure presenting at a national company conference many years back to actually doing a good job and enjoying the process—not that I would say I’m a master at it by any means.
It’s handy to mention the different symptoms of nervousness and hence fear from the shaky voice, weak knees, dry mouth and red face. Horrible to think, yet we can laugh at ourselves (I hope).
Boldness, preparation and self-belief are the nexus of our success. Boldness is confidence to say, ‘I’m here and ready to go, no matter how I might feel inside right now.’ Preparation is the practical art of wisdom; acknowledging that what can be crammed into the mind early comes into its own later, at its accorded time—when there is less space for conscious thought due to the pressures of the moment. Self-belief in the context of Divine help is a beautiful place to be in, and it comes with practise. It’s consequent upon conquering fear; the courage continuum is thus not traversed far without a modicum of self-belief.
I find these days that courage is the mental act of awareness to totally reject the incoming enemies of the mind—the shrieking nemesis, the divergent, panicked merchant of momentary madness. Calm is the spirit within that says, ‘Beat it!’
We’re fiercely truthful—our integrity and authenticity oozes from our pores. Truth and courage are like best of friends. They collude with confidence and freedom, working in unison to pull the ship around, bow thrusters powered maximally.
And this is it finally. Public speaking, as an illustration of our courage and of character no less, is a test of our poise to harness our fear—for courage without fear is no courage at all.
Boldness and confidence to battle—these are yours, come what may. Keep striving in courage, further and further on that continuum. You might be heartily surprised where it will take you. The final frontier is total freedom and total control at the level of the mind and heart, to decide in the moment, what will be said and how it will be said—what will be done.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.