Aside from the usual nightmares that I’m sure everyone has (just last night I woke up to the image of my daughter sinking deeper and deeper vanishing into dark water while I struggled furiously to remove the cross country skies I was bizarrely wearing) there are a few things that scare the pants off me.
The biggest one is that I’ll sink the family business. There’s a statistic that says 9 out of 10 family businesses fail in the 3rd generation. Guess what, that’s my generation! This stat compelled me to get an Executive MBA, grow my skills in other hotels, and it continues to motivate me to work my ass off! Luckily I seem to be beating the odds but chances are I’ll stay on my toes forever more.
Public speaking still freaks me out, which is probably why I love doing it so much (there’s definitely an adrenalin rush involved). I’m sure you’d never know I was scared if you me public speak because I try to have fun up on stage as well as be memorable and different, but deep down I’m still scared. A public speaking expert once told me not to negatively label it anxiety, fear, or even nervousness but rather as excitement. And it’s true, I am excited to speak to the group, excited to do a good job, excited to come across as passionate and enthusiastic.
I think like most people I’m scared of what other people will think. This has been an almost lifelong battle especially since my teens. As a mom of 6 year old who hasn’t a care in the world for what other people think of her, I realize how unnatural and uncomfortable it is to feel this way, and so I make quite an effort to overcome it. (Today is a great example… I’m wearing neon blue stockings with my dress. They are a little “out there”, but I like them!). Here’s a great fable I’ll leave you with that has helped me overcome some of my fear.
“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”
― Pema Chödrön