September 2009 - Test Anxiety? Public Speaking Fears?
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Are you going back to school or learning a new trade or career? Children aren’t the only ones going back to school these days. If you’re like a lot of my clients you may literally be reinventing your career and moving in a whole new direction.
How would you like to breeze through exams or public speaking situations with total confidence? The good news is you can and you won’t believe where some of your fears come from!
If you have exam jitters or freeze up when you have to give talks, you’re not alone. These are the top 2 professional performance issues I see in my office.
Fears and anxieties like these usually have a root cause somewhere in your past. It might have started when you were just in grade school or a pivotal event of embarrassment and it simply became a self-reinforcing belief from that point on.
Susan, one of my clients had poor eye sight as a first and second grader and neither her parents nor she realized her need for glasses. Susan struggled with learning, often sitting in the back of the class unable to see. Her teachers and her parents told her she wasn’t applying herself and that perhaps she was slow to learn. It was here and there that Susan took on the belief that she wasn’t smart enough. Even though she did eventually get glasses the belief had been reinforced and from that point forward she always experienced test anxiety when it came to test taking. Susan is smart; she just didn’t believe or know it and she was demonstrating her beliefs. Every time she’d fail she’d say to herself: “You see, I failed again, I’m just not smart enough.”
Thomas was age 45, when he came in to see me. He freezes up every time he has to give an update to fellow employees at work. He has all the typical symptoms of public speaking fears: sweating palms, racing heart, he can’t think or speak clearly, his body shakes and he almost feels like he’s going to pass out. When I worked with Thomas we found the root cause of his fear began at age 10 when he brought home a less than acceptable report card and his father, a rather stern, rigid, and unyielding man asked him to explain himself and the bad grades. Thomas was frightened and left quite speechless in his dad’s presence. Needless to say, he wasn’t able to express himself adequately and felt disempowered. From that point on, every time Thomas was asked to give his opinion, express his thoughts or give a talk, even at 45 years old, he still had that same frightened 10 year old boy inside of him, believing that he cannot explain himself.
Beliefs are powerful and greatly affect your behavior. You might be wondering how just one event could affect your whole life and isn’t simply forgotten over time. The fact of the matter is core events such as Susan’s or Thomas’ are self-reinforced out of belief over time. For example, even though Susan did get glasses and was fully capable of seeing and easily learning, her self-doubt and belief that she wasn’t smart enough affected every time she took a test from that point forward, and eventually turned into extreme exam anxiety. It was her own fear that continued to act as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. And, every time Thomas spoke through the years, his fear of freezing up and not being able to explain his self continued to be reinforced and turned into a public speaking phobia.
The good news is hypnosis fully released their fears and beliefs. Your unconscious mind, the part of the mind hypnosis works with controls about 90% of your behavior. If your unconscious mind has a limiting belief about any area of your life, you are going to continue to demonstrate that belief as a habit pattern.
Imagine what it would feel like for your unconscious mind to hold a positive belief that supports you instead of sabotaging you? Imagine what life would be like? What positive beliefs would you like to have about yourself and your life? You can begin today!
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