|Can You Give a Toast?
Are you afraid? or good at it?
A Chicago Tribune article said:
“Talking in public is the No. 1 phobia in the world,” says Jonathan Berent, a licensed psychotherapist and co-author of the book “Work Makes me Nervous.” “A number of my patients say they would consider getting into an accident on the way to work to avoid speaking in public scenarios. One patient who was an ovarian cancer survivor said she’d rather go back to chemo.”
I know the feeling of having the fear of public speaking. I know the disappointment of not being able to give a toast, let alone a good toast. I had Glossophobia, commonly know as stage fright or fear of public speaking. It affected my choices as a young boy, through college and into my professional life as an architect and author. What made it worse, was that I stuttered and was embarrassed about it. Some of you may know the feeling of being trapped in an introverted world of silence, self-consciousness, and not being able to speak especially when you had something great to share. (See the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts)
For most of us, if we don’t need a skill, we don’t learn it. Or if we fear it, we just simply AVOID it! Most people go through their lives simply avoiding public speaking claiming to never really need it. As you know, this fear affects everything from socialization to leadership. The fact is that it is one of the most feared, yet also the most easily to avoid (well, skydiving would be easy to avoid too). You simply just don’t talk, don’t show up, or don’t offer to say anything. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not talking about the normal jitters or little butterflies inexperienced speakers get, that’s easily overcome with some work. I am referring to the strong overwhelming fear that keeps you from performing even when you are asked to give a toast or to say something for a large family event and YOU CAN’T!
It’s frustrating to say the least and like most phobias, it really makes you feel powerless. If someone had ever come to me and offered what I am about to offer you, I would have jumped at the chance to finally end my fear. But unfortunately or fortunately (as it turns out) no one did, so I had to start my own pilgrimage to slay this nasty demon.
I tried everything from the time I was seventeen years old. I was certified in Transcendental Meditation (TM); learned hypnosis from top hypnotists; spent weeks away in speech therapy, learned Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Mindfulness, Raja Yoga, and Zen. I went to seminars, workshops, spoke with masters, and just kept researching for every answer I could find. In fact, I spent almost two years at the Bio-Med (Biological-Medical) and the Ed-Psych (Education-Psychology) libraries at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles). I gathered hundreds of studies and research articles trying to thread together a truth to the nature of my mind. I asked questions like, “Why am I stuck in my life?” and “How do I get free of my own habitual nature?” And finally the hardest question to answer, “What is the true nature of my essential being?”
Then, one day the need to overcome my fear became so great that I had to do something, so I began to develop a way to not only overcome the fear, but also become happier, more successful, and more spiritual in the same process—all the research and practice finally came together as a whole. It took years and years to complete the system based on my ground-breaking research and meditative experiences. I combined Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), neuroscience, systematic desensitization, and ancient Zen techniques based on the concept of No Mind. The system became known as the Zen Advantage Program, and it is detailed in my 796-page book, The Ten Paradoxes: The Science of Where’s My Zen?
You see the biggest problem is being able to circumvent the fear enough so you can begin the process to untrain your mind. That was the hardest for me, was being able to start DOING what I fear, so I can UNDO the brain’s neuro-associative mechanisms. This is what keeps us trapped in the same habits day in and day out. I can show you personally on how to do this and why your brain is being so reluctant to your unanswered requests. I take you on a journey that begins with unfolding the mystery of the mind and ends with the enlightening discovery of the mystery of the ages.
So here is my offer, I am sponsoring a new Toastmaster club called Zen-Prov. I want to invite you to our first introductory meeting. If you suffer from the fear of speaking as I did, or if you have any fear that you wish to overcome, please email me directly and I will take extra effort at the meeting to help you. In my experience, the best teacher is the one who has been through it. I notice with public speaking fears those that were always natural speakers don’t understand what it is like to have that phobia and don’t deal with it the same way. In addition, I will be putting together a workshop after this meeting for those people that contacted me directly and I will be tailoring a special program for them as well as being their personal coach. Hope to see you at the event or send an email to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org