A popular bumper sticker says NO FEAR. I don't know for sure what it means. I see it all over. Maybe it's a line of clothing or a record label or something. I laud the sentiment and the determination it expresses. But we all have fears, and how we deal with them shows the world what we're made of. Our integrity, our priorities, and yes our courage, are all on display in how we deal with fear.

One of my deepest and most unreasonable fears is public speaking. I get so riled up that I vomit. But I am a mouth, and so from time to time, being a mouth on stage falls to me. The last time was not recently. I was asked to address a citizens' meeting in Texas. The issue was a big cement plant, and the cancer clusters that mysteriously kept popping up downwind. There were over a thousand people in the auditorium. I was the keynote speaker. My hands were sweaty, and I really thought I might pass out. Then my name was announced, and I heard applause. It was time. I took a deep breath and strode onstage, grinning from ear to ear and applauding myself, with my hands in the air. I walked back and forth on the stage, clapping. When the applause started to die down I pumped my hands and brought them to their feet. I went to the microphone and called out, "Keep applauding! Applaud yourselves! Do you know what you have achieved by being here? Turn to the guy next to you! Applaud him!" Finally it got quiet, and I gave a pretty good grassroots-organizer speech. It went well.

That was a good way to handle my fear in that instance. I have other fears, which I don't always handle so well. But more and more, I see that bumper sticker: NO FEAR.

I will fear. I know this. You fear. We all fear. How do we handle our fears? How do they hold us back and how do they preserve us? How do they propel us forward? I am interested in ideas, YOUR ideas.


NormaDeLara's picture

Hi Dave

There's nothing unreasonable about fear of public speaking, in fact it's more than common and most of us have a hard time dealing with it. I joined a Toastmasters club over a year ago and it's been one of the best things in my life. I've met the most supportive people and have had a lot of fun as I face my fears in a very warm and safe environment. Check www.toastmasters.org, find a club near your house and attend one meeting to see how it works,  they will love to have you as a guest.

By the way, I 'm loving your forum about Religion and all the comments. You guys rock!


brian-reed's picture

Good for you for doing it even though it's frightening for you.  I am in toastmasters also.   I fear table topics most of all.  That's where they give you a surprise topic and you have to stand up and talk for 1 minute.  It is great practice and you really learn to think on your feet and get past the "my mind just went blank" times. 

Toastmasters is all about practicing in front of a supportive group before being thrown to the wolves.

And thanks for heading up such a great cause!

Stefa's picture

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davelambert's picture

Stefa, thanks for weighing in. My gosh, I can scarcely imagine volunteering as a human shield in Iraq! That would surely bring fear to a new dimension. The things I feel fear about - like with public speaking - are trivial by comparison. I fear pain but not death. I fear disgrace before my own inner judge more than I fear being disgraced publicly. I have been shot at, and it gave me a good spurt on adrenalin but not fear. The only time I contemplated losing my life was when I got a false-positive on a test for prostate cancer...I was surprised at how calm and free from fear I was. I have become more and more free of fear as I have got older...I have some fear of our government, and what they might do to us...but I know I will deal with it if it happens. I'm glad some folks have contributed to this thread. There is something healing about coming to grips with the things we fear. And Stefa, my hat is off to you in absolute awe for what you did!


Hey Dave,

I have always loved the NO FEAR slogan. I think it comes from the x-gamers?, someone like the guy on the wheelchair vid. Basically it means that you will not give in to your fears, No fear will stand in your way......, look at your goal and go for it, with "no fear", ......that was how I always took it........

and yeah, I think you have the idea!......just blast thru your fears....... lol.......public speaking gets me too


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