The journey from presentation fear to freedom
“When we are prepared to increasingly acknowledge our vulnerability, we will demonstrate more courage and involvement; when we choose to turn away from our vulnerability, we will act increasingly from a place of fear and thereby act less from connection”.
These lines from the book “the power of vulnerability” by Brené Brown, resonated deeply with me this week. The struggle of one of my coachees and these words coincided seamlessly.
What does vulnerability have to do with presenting? And why is it so important to acknowledge and embrace vunerability? And why is this an important road to take, to overcome our presentation fear?
Read in this April newsletter the answers. I am curious if you recognize any of it and how this works for you.
The big presentation fear of Anne was something that presented itself mainly before the actual presentation. She would lie awake nights before the presentation. She would rather be hit by a car, cycling her bike to the presentation, than to actually having to do the presentation. However, her new function demanded that she would give lots of presentations. With the energy and nerves that it was costing her now, this was not a very appealing prospect.
The deep fear under this presentation fear was the fear of “being alone”. Putting yourself outside the group. Standing in front of the group, thereby excluding yourself, and starting to speak. It is one of our primal fears.
We do not want to feel the uncomfortable and nervous feelings that goes with that situation. We do not want to be there. We want to escape it and we want to avoid it. We do not want to feel the vulnerability, the nakedness, the loneliness. So what do we do?
We disconnect ourselves from ourselves, we don’t want to feel it. Some people recognize this. It feels as if you have an “out-of-body” experience”, when you present. You hear yourself talking, but it feels as if someone else is talking from a distance.
We don’t want to be there. So, we talk very fast, to be rid of it as soon as possible.
We want to avoid it. So, we prefer being run over by a car, instead of having to do the presentation.
The ironic news is that all these strategies to deal with these “uncomfortable and annoying” feelings, simply do not work. In fact they only make things worse. It is like putting oil on the fire.
Because, by disconnecting yourself and not wanting to be there, you become incredible lonely.
So, all these “smart” strategies only worsen things and will confirm the irrational fears in your head. You will remain a prisoner in your own negative vicious circle. And it is pretty difficult to get out of it
How then, to get out of this negative, vicious circle?
And now the words from the opening quote come in: courage, vulnerability and connection.
Being able to be with those feelings, without disconnecting yourself or closing down, but accepting your vulnerability is the road to presentation freedom.
By remaining available for yourself and the public, amidst those feelings appeals to our courage. And, only then the road to connection will open. Connection to yourself and the public.
And then we will eventually no longer feel lonely. Slowly, but surely we will feel, notice and see that there is connection. That the public and you share something in that moment. That is feels good and free. That, wait a minute….. you even start enjoying it for a moment…..
This feels so good and so free. This is something I want everybody to experience.