The Startup
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The Startup

Kick Your Fears to the Curb and Start Achieving Your Dreams

How doing what scared me changed my life

Photo by Charlie Woodward via Unsplash

The first time I gave a speech was a disaster.

A lot of things went wrong.

First, I had material prepared for me, but I didn’t have it prepared for my audience. It’s not enough to just understand something. If you’re going to talk about it, you’ve got to be able to make it interesting.

Second, it was a required class assignment that I had no real interest in. In fact, to this day, I can’t even tell you what class it was. I do remember exactly what building it was in and that the room seemed eerily dark.

It’s the emotionally disturbing things you remember most.

Third, I didn’t believe I could give a good presentation, so I didn’t. You always perform the way you imagine you will.

My Second Speech

Several years passed between my first and second speech.

Here’s what made the difference.

The first speech was for a grade. The second speech was for me.

Something happened before the second speech that gave me a mindset shift so solid I’ve never looked back.

What was it, you say?

I had to read Zig Ziglar’s See You at the Top for a job placement class.

My teacher assigned us the self-image segment of the book. I was so stoked after the first few pages that I read to the very last page.

So by the second speech I was ready.

I was in Toastmasters. The first speech requires you to talk about yourself. Ha! That’s easy enough. Now to just pick out three interesting tidbits about my life that led me to this point.

The real win was when I discovered that all my fears about giving a speech — the walls closing in on me and crushing me, freezing up with so much fear that I’d have a heart attack in front of a crowd, going live with mustard on my tie — were all myths. Fear had sold me a bill of goods, and I’d been making payments on them my whole life.

Kick Fear to the Curb

The first successful speech I gave filled me with an adrenaline rush that was better than anything I’d ever experienced.

I immediately thought, “I’ve gotta do more of this.”

And I did.

Scientists say we’re born with only two fears — the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises.

Everything else we learn by living.

What irrational fears have crippled you? What keeps you from sharing your genius with the world? What can you do to break the impenetrable grip that irrational fear has on you?

Here’s what you can do.

Do what scares you.

Every summer my parents open their pool to family and friends. It’s in the shade 50 per cent of the time so it’s always cold. There are two ways to get in:

Creep in and shiver as the cold water puts its icy touch on your bare skin, inch by painful inch.

Jump in and reduce the painful transition to a few seconds.

I usually opt for the latter.

Life’s too short to take an hour to get into the pool.

We laugh at each other when we creep in.

We cheer when we find out just how refreshing that cool water really is.

Bust through your fears today. You’ll enjoy life more. You’ll feel refreshed. And you’ll find that what seemed so intimidating before really isn’t that bad.

Like what you just read? Clap heartily. Share this with your friends. Go out and do something today that scares you. It might just open doors and get people to take you seriously as a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur, or whatever it is you really want to be!

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Frank McKinley

Frank McKinley


I like to figure things out and share what I find. My favorite topics are faith, communication, business, and personal growth.