How I Fought Off My Overwhelming Terror of More Than 100 Scary USC Students

Business and marketing guy Seth Godin writes and publishes more print books, eBooks, and blogposts than I can usually keep up with. But he caught my eye with a post this past weekend.

It was about fear. And since I’ve struggled with near-crippling fears in the past — and still do at times — I took that post to heart and thought I’d share it with you.

Here it is:

“Your most vivid fears … are almost certainly not the most important ones.

“We pay attention to the loud and the urgent. This can lead us to ignore the important and achievable paths open to us — because we’re so busy defending against the overwhelmingly dangerous (but unlikely) outcomes instead.”

Where’s your focus?

Is it on a scary, exaggerated disaster scenario you imagine might, but probably won’t, occur?

Or is it on opportunities lying before you right now?

Fear’s a mean son of a you know what.

It’s also a choice.

Quick story…

One day (back when I was still wearing suits and ties), I was “volunteered” by my corporate masters to speak at USC to a hundred or more journalism students.

“When?” I asked.

“Half an hour.”

No prep time. I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to talk about.

Worse, I’d never before spoken to a group larger than maybe a dozen people.

My immediate instinct was fear.

Luckily, though, I didn’t have time to pursue it. I had just a few minutes to negotiate my Honda Prelude through L.A. traffic, find a parking spot, then hike across the vast campus to the right auditorium.

You may be thinking, “Heck, you had no choice but to refocus away from your fear. The urgent goal of reaching your destination stood between you and the terror of speaking to those students.”


And that’s my point…

What’s more important than your crippling fear? Your family? Your freedom? Or something as simple as getting to your appointment on time?

Whatever it is, focus on that.

The fear may not go away entirely. But you’ll shove it so far in the background that you can ignore it.

If you fear something, give that a try. And let me know how it works for you. Leave a comment below!

P.S. You can access a whole bunch of techniques for fighting fear, worry, and doubt if you visit…

Be Sociable, Share!


How I Fought Off My Overwhelming Terror of More Than 100 Scary USC Students — 1 Comment

  1. Before some USC zealot tags me as a Trojan-ophobe, lemme quickly add that my sister and BOTH of my parents graduated from the University of Southern California. Yes, I was the “black sheep” in my family, but I swear I hold no grudges against the school! 😉 Besides, they have a helluva band. (Any college band that can play back-up for Fleetwood Mac is A-OK in my book!)