Next weekend, I will be giving a presentation at a major conference in Nashville, TN. Since there will be 118 other presentations at this conference, along with dozens of major speakers, I didn’t expect too many people in my audience. I was content to be an obscure player in a very large production.
However, last week, I received a letter from the conference sponsors, saying that 845 people had already pre-registered for my presentation, and that I ought to plan on a capacity crowd of 1100.
Yikes! My anxiety went up dramatically. All of my negative thoughts started swirling around in my head. “That’s too many people. I’ll do a terrible job. Here’s another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into!”
Ironically, my presentation is about anxiety. I will be talking about the newest treatment methods for anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder. In this time of killer hurricanes, war and terrorist threats, I guess it’s not surprising that anxiety would be a big draw.
In my presentation, one of my key points will be: “It isn’t doing things that makes us anxious. It’s thinking about doing things.” The best antidote for anxiety is action. Do the thing you fear, and eventually the fear will go away.
I believe that some level of anxiety is a good thing. It means that I’m stretching myself and taking on a new challenge. When I give in to anxiety, I stagnate. When I can get myself to
attack my anxiety with action, I grow. A wise mentor once told me, “When you hear the sound of the cannons, march toward them.”