What’s the worst that can happen?

What’s the worst that can happen if I give a speech every week for an entire year?

  • I’ll struggle to find topics to talk about each week.
  • I won’t have anywhere to present.
  • People won’t like what I have to say.
  • I’m afraid to say it.
  • No one will listen or care.
  • I’m a poor public speaker.
  • I don’t like to talk.
  • I’m afraid.
  • I get nervous.
  • I passed out. 
  • I get emotional.
  • I’ve never done it before.
  • Someone might make fun of me.
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What will I get in return?
  • It doesn’t earn me any money.
  • I can’t put it on my resume.
  • I don’t receive a certificate or diploma.
  • It doesn’t matter.
  • I’m stupid.
  • I’m not important.
  • I don’t look a certain way.
  • Why should people listen to me?
  • I don’t have a certain degree.
  • I don’t have experience.
  • I don’t have a great story.
  • I’m not funny.
  • I’m not creative.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m too busy.
  • I’m done with school.
  • I don’t like to write.
  • I don’t like criticism.
  • That’s something other people do.
  • I’m not a people person.
  • I don’t like to sell.
  • There is no point. 

I think I’ve experienced everyone of these fears when I thought about speaking in public, or when I decided to do something about it and join Toastmaster. When I look at this now it almost makes me laugh because many of them seem ridiculous. I say almost because some of these fears held me back for years.

Since November of 2015, I’ve been presenting speech almost every week. Most of them have been at my weekly Toastmasters clubs. I’ve been a Toastmaster since 2013 and in that time I’ve meet many people working on their own fears about public speaking. Everyone of them have feared something on the above list.

If someone tells you they haven’t experienced one of the above fears than they’re either a liar or they’re not pushing themselves to take any risk. That’s the other thing. If you’re doing good work and you’re taking risks than you’re always going to experience some of the above fears.

That’s why I’m practicing every week. I want to be reminded not of these fears but of the work I’ve done to get to the point where I can face them every week.

These same fears show up in any creative endeavor. When you show up and challenge yourself you’ll be working to face one of them every time.