Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking

If you want to overcome your fear of public speaking a powerful strategy is to alter your beliefs. This article on self limiting belief was contributed by Stuart Warner, editor of the personal goals website, Make Your Goals Happen.

Self Limiting Beliefs Article contributed by Stuart Warner

A self limiting belief can hold you back from achieving your goals - just like a locked door can prevent you entering a room. You can't change a door just by mind power, but you can change your beliefs.

What is a belief?

Anthony Robbins in the book 'Awaken The Giant Within' explains the nature of beliefs brilliantly. Clearly a belief is just an idea we have about something. That idea has taken hold in our minds so we feel certain that it is true.

Robbins asks us to imagine that a belief is like a table. The table top is the idea. The legs of the table are what turns the idea into a table. After all a table without legs of some sort is just a flat board resting on the ground.

Assume that the idea is "I'm sexy". What supports this notion? There must be some supporting evidence. Robbins gives some example table legs: such as "My lover tells me I'm sexy" and "I work out every day". It is these supporting reference experiences that help us turn our idea into a belief.

Now let's say that you set a goal of landing a new job, but that you have a self limiting belief that says "I'm not worthy of such a job". Having such a self limiting belief will make it difficult to achieve the goal.

We need a new empowering belief that says "I am worthy of that job". To turn this idea into a belief you then need to identify some reference experiences. Now here is the key point:

Your imagination cannot tell the difference between a real and a 'made-up' experience. So you may be able to find some of your references from your actual experiences, and you may create some imaginary or 'synthetic' experiences. For more on creating imaginary experiences so as to change your self image see my psycho cybernetics page.

You may end up with the following reference experiences to support the idea that you are worthy of the job:

You know you can do the job (real - based on your knowledge)
A friend has told you you could do it (real)
You see yourself doing it successfully (in your mind)
The interview will go well (in your mind)

A good example of a self limiting belief holding people back was the 4 minute mile. In 1954 Roger Bannister ran the first sub four minute mile. This had been thought impossible for a human to achieve. As well as smashing the 4-minute barrier, Bannister created an undeniable reference experience to support a new belief - that it was possible. In the year following, another 37 people broke the 4 minute mile, and another 300 runners did it in the following year.

You can use this same idea to change your beliefs about your ability in public speaking.

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