Learning how to claim your voice


Fear is an internal response to a perceived threat.

But why do we sometimes feel fear when logically we have nothing to be afraid of?

Our brains are very complex and there is still far more we don’t understand than we do. can be incredibly enabling if we are open to learning about the greatest mystery – our interior selves.

“Inner space” is the new discovery frontier.

Take the common fear of public speaking, for instance.

Many adults are fearful of this activity (I used to be virtually phobic), but why?

In my workshops over the decades, the responses are always the same: variations of fear of judgement, rejection, humiliation, failure, inadequacy, fraudulence, being “cast out”.

They seem like pretty good reasons to avoid getting up front, don’t they?

We humans are so very vulnerable for a relatively long time, compared with other creatures. We need others in order to survive.

To be rejected from the tribe, cast out, trolled by the school bullies, alienated in the workplace: all these threaten our survival at a deep level and we will pretty much do anything to protect ourselves.

The thing is, all of the above fears relate to feelings.

We might believe we are afraid of public speaking, but what if that were not actually true?

Hold that thought.

It’s the feelings that go with that activity that are the deeper issue.

Yes, you read correctly. I am proposing we are not afraid of public speaking; we are afraid of the feelings that seem to go with it, that we don’t (yet) know how to manage.

All of these unmanageable feelings are activated because our brain perceives what we are about to do is potentially dangerous to us – not physically, usually, and not even consciously, our brain acts as if our very survival is front and centre.

What is so life-threatening about standing up front and presenting or even thinking about doing it? Nothing! So why the extreme responses?

Biologically, if our brain perceives something is scary, for whatever reason, our body must have a fear response.

With a fear response activated we go into survival mode, whatever that is for us, often fight or flight. In that state we most certainly do not have access to our best resources.

But what if we didn’t perceive the activity as scary?

Imagine feeling well prepared, really looking forward to being “up front”, unafraid of the responses of others, clear and confident in your own worth, simply there to contribute the most value you can to your audience.

The very idea puts us in the driver’s seat to transform our experience instead of staying victim to feelings we “think” we cannot control. I know this from personal experience having been pretty much phobic about being “up front”, discovering a lasting solution and literally “writing the book”.

We learn to be afraid and we can learn to be fearless by applying a personal growth approach to this topic with a seasoned facilitator and a solution that actually works.

You are born to express who you are in the world, to be the contribution only you can be.

Being fearless enough to be yourself is liberating – and it is the path to your potential.

  • Amanda Fleming is a personal and professional development facilitator and an author. She is holding a public speaking workshop in Oamaru on March 12-14. For more information, or to register, visit inspiringconsciousevolution.com/esp.