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A 'Feel the Fear' Story

Turning it around

Over two years ago I embarked upon a counselling skills course at college. It was the start of a major change in my life as I discovered so much about myself and other people. After exams and several workshops including those on loss and bereavement, anxiety, anger management and body image, I felt my eyes were wide open, I had achieved so much, made new friends, grown and developed so much as a person with the result that my confidence had soared and I was truly happy.

The only drawback was that whenever I was asked to speak in front of the group, I felt myself being swallowed by anxiety and fear, which seemed so huge I was struggling to find a way through my state of paralysis.

Almost in tears I asked my tutor if she could possible give me any tips and she told me about the book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I bought it the next day and I now call it my bible. That book enabled me to turn things around and face my fears head on. I went on to read many more of Susan's books, but Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is without doubt my best friend. I still refer to it for ''top up'' sessions, and it is always at my bedside.

Three months ago I decided to test my fears and I enrolled on a public speaking course at college. I started out with great confidence, but after about Week 4 I had what I can only describe as a mini-meltdown. My internal chatterbox was in overdrive knocking me down, making me doubt myself and my ability. I was in turmoil. I turned to friends for advice and surprisingly most of them asked why I was putting myself through such mental agony. The following week I truly felt defeated, but I decided to try once more, possibly for the last time.

But that night proved to be the start of something wonderful. From somewhere I found my voice, I replaced my negative chatterbox with positive and inspiring thoughts and I began to grow. Six weeks later was our finale, and I stood up in front of a room full of people, some strangers and some my supportive family and friends, and I delivered my speech on stress and positive ways to turn your life around. I felt victorious!

The tutor stood up after and said to the audience that he wished they all knew the journey some of us had gone through to reach that night. It was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life, and I have now enrolled on the advanced public speaking course.

I am a 48 year old single mum, with hopes and dreams and ambitions. My children are my world, and I have tried to teach them to reach for the stars. I have two sons aged 20 and 18 and a daughter aged 15 years. I have a wonderful supportive partner, who allows me to be me and accepts all that I am without trying to change me, instead he tries to understand. I qualified as a nurse 25 years ago and I love my job working in my local health centre.

Susan, you are without doubt an inspiration to us all.
From the bottom of my heart - thank you!

Maggie, Cheshire, England