How I Faced My Fear of Presentations and Started My Path to Success

You only grow outside of your comfort zone

True growth and empowerment begin when you confront your fears head-on and do the thing you are most afraid of, not just once, but repeatedly. This is part of your path to success.

I was nervous. My hands were shaking. I was sweating.

I was searching for words.

At every presentation.

I hate this feeling.

People are looking at you.

They see every detail and hear every mistake.

The teacher is judging you.

You prepared a text that you learned night and day.
But suddenly all the words you wanted to say are gone.

You are nervously looking at the prepared sheets in your hand, but you cannot read them because you are shaking.

This happened to me at every presentation I had to do in school.

Moving on to study I thought that I never had to do a presentation again.

I was wrong.

Doing presentations at school is one thing you will probably need your whole life in almost every job sooner or later.

It’s one thing in school you definitely need in your life.

  • at interviews
  • at project presentations
  • presenting ideas at the city council
  • convincing your family to go on that holiday

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

— Henry Ford

Take the Opportunities to Grow to Start Your Path to Success

We usually don’t like to take the opportunity to do something that makes us nervous. It’s awkward.

And it’s definitely out of our comfort zone.

But what I found is: you have to do it anyway. Especially for things like learning to do a presentation. It’s a life lesson you should learn and master to succeed in life.

I was forced to do more presentations because studying Architecture means presenting your project at least 2 times every semester.

As opposed to a book presentation in school you are presenting your own work. You know your project because you worked on it, you thought about it and it’s based on your ideas.

Those presentations are easier to do than some random book presentations.

The great thing about doing something repeatedly: you get used to it and it gets easier.

“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.”

— Dan Rather

Go Deep Into The Things You Don’t Like

Doing presentations is one of the things you need for the rest of your life.

So instead of fighting it, why not take a deep dive into the topic and learn to do it properly?

There are meetups like Toastmasters where you can practice doing presentations.

This doesn’t just apply to presenting. It works for every topic you need in life but is out of your comfort zone.

Go out of your comfort zone!

I took the opportunity to become a leader at a student organization.

My tasks were:

  • lead the board meeting every few weeks with 6 people
  • lead and present the general assembly 3 times a year with over 30 people
  • do small presentations of what happened at national conferences
  • do team meetings

Every one of those points was out of my comfort zone. At the beginning.

After a while, I got used to it. It felt normal and I wasn’t nervous anymore (depending on the amount of people I was a little nervous sometimes).

“Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.”

— Dale Carnegie

Use The Getting Used To Things Fast

Our brain and our mind are getting used to things, circumstances, and people really fast.

This can be positive or negative.

The positive side is you can get used to doing presentations, and you will not be nervous anymore.

On the negative side, you get used to the person you love and spend a lot of time with so it can be that you take the person for granted after a while.

Things that were exciting or terrifying at first, will feel normal soon if you do them more often.

Use it as a tool to learn exciting stuff and to make them feel normal.

If you repeatedly do presentations, they will become normal and you will also get good at them because you are practicing.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”

— Michael Jordan


Practicing something that is out of your comfort zone by repeatedly doing it will help you to become better but also will help you feel normal.

Doing presentations became normal for me, and having all these opportunities to practice I also got better at it.

Don’t be afraid to fail! It is out of your comfort zone but just do it anyway!

Even if you are failing (my first presentations were terrible) you learned more from that situation than if you would have succeeded.

Try, experiment, and fail repeatedly!

You will learn and improve a lot!

How I was able to study, part-time work, and lead a student organization at the same time and you can too:

Get your free copy of my tips about how to boost your productivity!

(c) Karina Ahrer

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