The child in my office was tearful. Here was her story: She was selected to give the pledge to the flag on the morning news station at my school. This is a great honor and she was excited until the morning of the show, when she suddenly became paralyzed with fear and begged her teacher not to have to go in front of the camera. Her teacher reassured her, encouraged her and finally, selected another student to present the pledge. The child's initial relief turned to great disappointment and tears when her replacement returned to class wearing the special badge which announced to the world that she was a "Star Student" for the day. Her fear had resulted in a huge disappointment.
It was a hard lesson learned and one that many of us as adults have to learn the hard way as well. Fear and lack of confidence can keep us from not only accomplishing our goals but also from experiencing exciting moments in lives. Certain personality styles are more likely to experience this lack of confidence than others. The most likely candidates are the two personalities that fall on the reserved side of the spectrum: 'C' and 'S'. Being a high 'S' myself, I could certainly relate to the student's disappointment. I can remember a similar episode in from my own elementary school days when my class was putting on a play and I begged my teacher not to play the part I was assigned. It is a little amazing, that I could brave the displeasure of my teacher in order to get out of what to me seemed a terrifying role. Ironically, she gave me the part of announcer instead and I went from playing the part of a character with one line to an announcer with several lines. I also soon learned that I missed out on the fun of being on stage with the other children practicing and acting out a story. When we run from experiences that make us nervous instead of facing the challenge, we sometimes end up performing a job or role that is much less rewarding.
While the student in my office wanted a 'do-over', that opportunity didn't exist. Each class only had so many opportunities to select a student to present the pledge and her class's turn would move to another class. However, it was a great life lesson to recognize and prepare for upcoming opportunities that she might encounter. This is what we focused on. Not regrets over the loss of the day, but preparing for events in the future. No doubt, just as I've always remembered the time I gave up the role in the play that I wish I hadn't, this student too will remember to seize the opportunity, face the fear and do it anyway. The rewards are often well worth it.
Have you faced a similar situation in your life where fear had to be faced? What did you do? What was learned?