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In The SpotLight!
   December, 2014   
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Here is some more "food for thought" which I am sending out in the months between my regular In The SpotLight newsletters. These are excerpts taken from past newsletters I have written that still have much relevance today.


I would love to guide and support you in working on this challenge. Please consider my Getting Over Stage Fright workshop and/or personal coaching if you would like my guidance in learning how to transform this fear. If you have already taken my workshop, please consider taking the workshop again if you need some further reinforcement in using the tools.


If you are interested in the workshop, the next one is being planned for January 17-18, 2015. I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible so you can reserve a spot for yourself and benefit from the Early Registration discount (good through December 5th). What a positive way to start the New Year! I hope you will be able to join us for the workshop to help move your progress to a new level. You can find out more information about my workshop by visiting


If you want to do some personal coaching with me, please contact me directly at I would love to hear from you!


Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!


Warm regards,




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"All anxiety disorders manipulate people by creating an absolute standard for certainty and comfort."    Reid Wilson, Ph.D.



Using Fear as Our Protector

I was recently listening to a tape series that a colleague loaned to me from a workshop he had taken on fear, given by Carolyn Myss.  One thing that really stood out for me in her discussion was her challenge to the group about their true desire to give up their fear. She confronted the group pretty strongly around the idea that people "use" their fear and don't really want to let it go, though they generally say they desperately want this. 


She related that people use their fear to help them feel safe, comfortable, and protected and to give themselves permission to not take the risks in life that might cause them to feel highly anxious and uncomfortable. Of course, this is not something we consciously think about when we are fearful. All we generally think about is how we don't like what we are feeling and how we want this feeling to go away. 


Fear usually makes us feel vulnerable, which many people associate with feelings of weakness - something most of us don't like to feel. So the typical human reaction to feeling afraid is to not want to feel this way and wanting it to be over as soon as possible when we do feel it.


Since feeling fear can be such an aversive experience for people, it often stops us from doing things that make us feel afraid. Fear is adaptive when it stops us from doing things that can be truly harmful to us, but it is maladaptive when it stops us from leading the life we really want to lead. 


Carolyn Myss comments on the many ways that fear stops people from living their truest and most empowered lives. And she speaks of how people become comfortable with the "permission" that our fear gives us to do less and be less. It can feel far easier to acquiesce to our fear and not step up to the challenges of life - speaking and performing or other challenges - than to face the discomfort and uncertainty of going outside of our comfort zone.


There is a similar concept that has been written about called "secondary gain", which suggests that we can benefit in some way from our problems or symptoms. That is, in the short run, we may find some solace in living a smaller, "safer" existence as our fear leads us to constrict our lives and not venture out into the risky unknown where it feels less safe. 


But, the longer term consequences of living a smaller, "safer" life is that it takes something precious away from us - our freedom to live the life that expresses our highest potential and our most empowered self.


As I think of ways people may "use" their fear when avoiding public speaking or performing, here are a few things that come to mind:


- You don't have to risk people finding fault in you, criticizing, or judging you

- You don't have to risk people not liking you, accepting you, or approving of you

- You don't have to risk feeling the discomfort of feeling exposed and vulnerable

- You don't have to risk dealing with the responsibility that goes along with taking on a highly visible leadership role in a group

- You don't have to risk experiencing any feelings of failure in a public way

- You don't have to risk the discomfort of the unknown


Consider ways that you may "use" your fear to constrict your life so you feel safer and more protected, so you don't have to take as many risks, and so you don't have to feel so uncomfortable. Consider what you stand to lose as you "play it safe" in the area of public speaking and performing (and in any other areas of your life where fear holds a strong grip). Consider what it will take for you to not "use" your fear as your protector and what you stand to gain as you move towards the fullest expression of yourself and your potential.




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Janet Esposito, M.S.W.   

In The Spotlight

PO Box 494

Bridgewater, CT06752



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