Yes, I did it. I punched fear in the face last Saturday morning. A few weeks ago, Croix Sather, fellow Toastmaster and friend asked me if I’d be interested in sharing the stage with him during his presentation he would be giving at the upcoming District 53 Toastmasters Spring Conference. He said that my job would be the one who eats fire.
Yes, eat fire. I’ve never done it, nor have I really thought about doing it, but I was immediately intrigued by the idea of it. So, my answer was yes. Yes, I would eat fire on stage with him in front of the crowd.
When Saturday morning came and I got in my car to drive to the conference, I wondered why I wasn’t better at thinking things through. What had happened to my decision making skills lately? What compelled me to say yes to such a request? Was I missing that piece of the brain that helps make more rational decisions? Or had I completely lost my mind years ago and this was just sealing the deal?
Actually, it was none of those. My answer was simple and came easily because of one simple element.
I trusted that Croix wouldn’t intentionally put me in danger. For many reasons:
1. Toastmasters look out for each other. Because it’s not our job to actually toast each other, just be better at speaking.
2. Croix is building a career doing this sort of work, so he wouldn’t offer if he wasn’t certain he could pull it off.
3. I’ve seen others do it, and as long as the technique is right, it should be safe. Right?
A few minutes before Croix called me up on stage, I got that familiar feeling – the one that makes me feel like I either need to scream, cry, run away, or puke. Fortunately, I did none of those. I got up on stage and followed Croix’s directions. If you want to see if I burned my face off, you’ll have to watch the video.
The lesson I learned on Saturday is not the obvious one of overcoming my fear of eating fire so that I can then do anything I put my mind to. The lesson was about trust. Trusting myself to pull something like that off, and trusting someone else to keep me safe.
I think that often times we like to believe we are in fear of something external and that is what stops us from moving forward, when all along the real issue is that we don’t trust ourselves enough to pull it off.
So, instead of focusing on external factors and allowing your fear to stop you, trust yourself to do the right thing, even if you don’t know what that is in the moment. You’ll be surprised what you can do.