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The feelings you have about public speaking do not necessarily reflect your level of ability to speak and be effective.

 

People with fear of public speaking or stage fright are flooded with negative feelings and thoughts that tell them they are not good at speaking.  But the feelings and thoughts are usually more about expectation of perfection than an accurate assessment of their actual talents and abilities.  In other words, because they have fear and anxiety they assume that they are not good at speaking. But it may not be the truth.  In fact, it may actually be that their anxieties are a sign of being very talented!

 In order to heal stage fright, you have to deal with your perfectionistic thoughts and shameful feelings, separating them from the truth about your speaking skills.  Until you transform, the perfectionism, you can’t really see how talented you are.

 I have a student in my current class who is polished, professional and poised when she speaks.  We all marvel at the lovely quality of her talks.  Yet her face contorts with total disbelief when we give her feedback that reflects what we see in her.  She can’t allow herself to receive supportive feedback because it does not match what she believes to be true about her speaking abilities.

 In my coaching practice, I work with many people who are truly talented at speaking but who can’t let themselves see that they are good. No amount of positive feedback will make them accept their own abilities.  I share this because I am wrestling with how to help people release the debilitating shame that drives perfectionism.  And I see so clearly that people who are very talented are often very perfectionistic.

 The impact of this problem is that gifted people often hold back their talents because of the negative self-judgments and expectations of perfection.  As a result, the world loses much talent that could make a difference if it were shared.

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