When I first started road biking in 2016, I loved the feeling of freedom when the air passed my wet skin and became a natural air conditioner. I also loved to ride downhills at a very fast speed. It was an incredible thrill to let go and fly down those hills. It was truly exhilarating!

One of most exhilarating rides was when I reached 51 MPH. I didn’t fully consider the consequences of a fall at this speed. I was extremely lucky that I didn’t hit loose gravel or even a small stick, either of which could have easily ended in my demise. I got to fully enjoy the downhill and receive the coveted “Queen of the Mountain” (QOM) designation given to the female who rode the fastest on the Redgate Descent. (This is all documented on an app called Strava—a social media site for bikers and runners). I enjoyed my QOM “status” until I bragged about it to my experienced biking friends who immediately reprimanded me:

“You don’t know what you are doing. You’re crazy.” Or,

“You know you’d be dead if you fell.” Or,

“I need your husband’s contact info in my phone, so that I can call him the time you do crash BIG and I’m the unfortunate one with you.”

Yikes! These piercing words delivered to me in a stern yet appropriate way burst my bubble but made me realize that I was being foolish and not fully weighing the risks. I was behaving too fearlessly.

Taking risks is hard for many people. I see quite a few emerging leaders fear public speaking and therefore, don’t take the risk of learning how to convey messages to their audiences. However, I tell them how much more they will be looked up to if they do take that risk and how much their career can be propelled into new roles and responsibilities. Additionally, being out in front of a lot more people offers the opportunity to influence; their message will land on a lot more ears.

I encouragingly tell them, “You must overcome your fear and resistance to public speaking. Your message is important and people want to hear what you have to say.”

I’ve discovered after working with hundreds of emerging executive leaders that there are a lot of fears:

• Fear of not being good enough.
• Fear of making a mistake
• Fear of saying the wrong thing.
• Fear of looking silly or stupid.
• Fear of judgment.
• Even the fear of succeeding.

To be fully who you are, you must become a fearless soul and let go of any feelings you have of inadequacy. You are already a shining star! You may have areas to develop, but so did everyone else before you. who has now become an esteemed influencer because of their skills at presenting.

What fear is holding you back and how can you let go? As far as riding downhill, I have slowed down quite a bit. Unlike public speaking, the potential for physical danger and harm is just too great. But YOU can positively become so much more just by learning to speak up and have a voice in the discussion.

If you fear public speaking or if you lack self-confidence but wish to be perceived as confident and influential, you current skills may be holding you back from bigger opportunities. We created a speech, language and voice confidence quiz to determine if your skills are holding you back. Go to https://clearly-speaking.com/ and find out.

Author's Bio: 

Lynda Waltner Stucky, a coach, author and speaker, is committed to helping mid and senior executive leaders reach their potential and align the way they sound with their professional values and roles. She teaches executives how to use their speech, language and voice effectively to establish credibility, position themselves within their company, and enhance their reputation as a topic authority.