Over the past few years I’ve realised something…I’ve been letting my fears hold me back from doing things I want in life. For 2015, I decided this needed to stop and I was going to overcome these fears. After all, life is too short right? So I set about challenging my main two fears first, as they really were beginning to have an impact not only on my career, but also otherwise in life.
For years now, I’ve been so afraid of driving. Crazy so many people think but genuinely I was absolutely petrified to drive. When I lived in cities, public transport was great, so I didn’t need to drive. The longer I left it, the more irrational the fear got. However, living in the West of Ireland, you need to be able to drive, So I just had to bite the bullet and get on with it.
In January, after I made my one new rule of 2015 – face my fears – I went and bought myself a car. The first few weeks of driving were nerve-racking to say the least. I had weeks of sleepless nights if I knew I had to drive in the morning, felt nauseous and shaky as I sat into the car, twenty minutes driving felt like twenty hours, and I was barely able to go over 30 miles an hour….
But now, as of yesterday, I’m happy to say that finally, at 27, I’m going to be a fully licensed driver. As my provisional licence was up for renewal, I decided to have a go at the driving test, after all I’d nothing to lose! I was in no way expecting to pass it but when my examiner said “Congratulations” all I wanted to do was hug him… Six months ago, I was beyond terrified to sit into the driver’s seat of a car and now I’d just achieved what seemed impossible to me in January.
My second fear was public speaking. For so many years, I found walking into a room of even ten people and saying my name beyond intimidating and nerve wracking. So, I used to do everything I could to avoid doing so. However, after joining JCI Mayo, I took a role where I had to introduce the speakers at every event. Now, I had no excuse, no backing out, I had to do what I signed up to do. Like the driving, I had sleepless nights on the lead up to our monthly events, felt nauseous for the day and was shaking like a leaf as I stood up. But I did it!
With the support of JCI behind me and my boss also encouraging me, I was put forward for the Mayo Rose competition to represent MediStori. At first, I was so positive about facing my fear but then the realisation hit in. I was going to be standing on a stage, with about 200 or so faces looking at me, listening to my every word, for approximately eight minutes. What had I done!
I was barely even able to handle standing in front of 20 or 30 people at a JCI Mayo event but now I was going to do this. However, it was too late, the application had been sent and sponsorship fees paid, I had to go through with it. So I did!
I can’t even begin to tell you what a worthwhile experience it was. While I felt physically ill for days and even in the hours, minutes and moments before I took the stage, it was one of the best things I have done so far. As I stood on the stage I could feel my body shaking from head to toe, felt tears pricking in my eyes and the heat rising in my face, but I was there, I just had to do it. Before I knew it my time was up, the onstage interview was over. WHAT!
I sat down, still shaking slightly, but it was over. I had just done it! I had faced my fear of public speaking. The reaction from everyone was amazing. I laughed as some accused me of making up my fear as they said I came across so confident. Just shows, appearances can be very deceptive! But the support from my friends, family, workmates etc. along with the other roses on the night was amazing. They all believed I could do it and without all their support and gentle nudges I wouldn’t have been able to get on that stage. That was my trophy!
Since the Mayo Rose I’ve had to publicly speak a number of times. While I still don’t look forward to it, I know I can do it now after that experience.
So, the first six months of 2015 are over and I’ve already challenged two of my main fears. While deep down both driving and public speaking still do scare me, I’m no longer going to let those fears dictate my life or what I do next. I’m in control of my own destiny and I’m going to keep it that way. It just shows, that when you put your mind to something, no matter how hard it is or how much it might scare you, it can be done. Determination, support and positive thinking can help you achieve nearly anything.
Never give up on your hopes and dreams. After facing these fears, I’m getting ever closer to mine…
Now, on to the next fear…heights! I’ll let you all know how that goes soon.
Do you have any fears? If so, have you tried to conquer them and how? I’d love to hear about them so feel free to leave a comment. Thanks as always for reading. Áine (Social Onya) 🙂