Your boss has asked you to speak at your company’s annual employee conference. In fact, he’s penciled you in to talk for 15 minutes in front of an expected crowd of 800 people. There’s just one problem… you’re terrified of public speaking!
Instead of relishing the chance to shine in front of your colleagues – you’re consumed by trying to find a way to get out of doing the speech.
Fear of public speaking is common. However, instead of allowing fears such as this to hold you hostage, you can turn them into powerful springboards to success.
Before I reveal how to do this, let’s first take a look at some common threats, and our typical responses to them.
Are You Struggling to Cope with Threatening Situations?
Imagine for a moment that time travel is real.
You decide to go back thousands of years to see how our early ancestors lived. Once you arrive at your chosen destination, you quickly discover that life at that time was riddled with dangers. There’s physical fighting between different communities, animal predators to avoid, and a constant threat of starvation.
It was during these tough and treacherous times that early humans developed something called the ‘fight or flight’ response. This response can be described as a physiological reaction to a threat or attack that causes the body to immediately release a hormonal cascade. This hormonal release shifts the body into extreme physical alertness, allowing either a defense to be mounted, or alternatively – a quick getaway! (Spend some time watching cats and dogs, and you’ll frequently see this fight or flight response in action.)
While the fight or flight response is obviously helpful in life-or-death situations, it can be a negative thing when triggered by less serious events. For example, you may feel that a subordinate colleague is plotting to take your job. If you allow this situation to trigger a fight or flight response, you’re likely to either engage in a physical confrontation with your colleague – or if you choose to flee, then you may end up handing in your notice.
Neither of the above reactions are rational. In truth, either one of them will leave you out of a job. Instead, you’d be much better off thinking of positive ways to deal with the situation. For example, you could develop your skills and experience to keep you ahead of your colleague, or you could speak directly to them to ascertain what their specific career goals were.
It’s vital that you’re able to clearly distinguish between life-threatening or highly-dangerous situations, and everyday threats such as family arguments and work pressures. The latter situations should not trigger a fight or flight response in you. As we’ve seen, this is likely to cause these situations to become even more negative. Instead, seek for non-aggressive and harmonious resolutions to your conflicts.
These 2 Simple Insights Will Help Boost Your Personal Growth
Is self-improvement important to you?
If yes, then you’re in the right place, as I’m going to give you two powerful insights that could definitely change your life for the better.
1. Everyday threats offer you the chance to push and develop yourself.
Picture for a moment that you’ve just graduated from university. You’re excited by what you’ve learned and by the high grades you’ve achieved. However, after a few weeks of applying for relevant jobs, you discover that you’re not even making it to the interview stage.
As a new graduate, you may have anticipated that finding a job would be plain sailing. However, this expectation hasn’t been matched by reality. You now feel stressed and despondent.
What’s the problem? Is there a solution? Or should you just give up?
The answer to this dilemma is to find out where you’re going wrong. To do this, you should perform a personal SWOT analysis (SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). You can complete this analysis by spending time thinking about your personal strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities are open to you, and what external threats you may face.
Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis, you should be able to clearly identify key positives and negatives. To come back to the job-seeking example above, your SWOT analysis will most likely indicate that a principal weakness of yours is a lack of work experience. To counter this, you could offer to work for free for a few weeks, or perhaps accept an entry-level role to help get your career started.
Everyday threats should be seen for what they are: opportunities for you to advance in life.
2. Your comfort zone can be defeated when you embrace threats.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the term comfort zone. However, in case you’re not, I’ll give you a brief explanation.
Your comfort zone is the place where you feel mentally and emotionally at ease and free from pain.
For instance, if you’re single, you may have difficulty asking people out on a date. However much you like a prospective partner – something inside holds you back. You’re embarrassed to ask them out, and you’d feel much more comfortable with them asking YOU out.
The problem with comfort zones is that we have a tendency to get stuck within them.
Once this happens, our ambition and drive wanes, and our thought processes start to deteriorate. For these reasons, the term comfort zone can also be rendered as mindless zone!
Fortunately, you can use threats to help you break out of your mindless zone.
As an example for you, think of a time when you’ve had a problem with a neighbor. It might have been that they were constantly making noise late at night, or their car was regularly blocking your driveway. For most of us, our comfort zone would prevent us from speaking directly to our neighbor about these problems. However, by embracing the issue, you could choose to use it as an opportunity to increase your confidence and boldness. By doing this, you would be stepping outside of your mindless zone – and at the same time, you’d hopefully be resolving the issue with your neighbor.
Other ways to smash through your mindless zone include:
- Facing your fears.
- Trying something new.
- Moving towards a goal.
- Changing your mindset.
- Doing everyday things differently.
The secret to all these techniques is to start with small things – and then work your way up to bigger things. By doing this, you’ll also build a habit of continually stretching your beliefs and goals.
Threats are everywhere. But that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. By embracing threats, and learning from them, you can fast-track your personal development.
Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io
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