04/05/2013 08:43 am ET Updated Jun 05, 2013

Standing Up to One of the World's Greatest Fears


A few years ago, I had a friend approach me about having awful nerves before an upcoming speech. She had been asked to speak for a charitable cause she was closely connected with. My friend was dreadfully shy and the thought of speaking in front of more than a couple people terrified her.

I asked her, "If it goes poorly, then how will that ultimately affect you next week? You may feel embarrassed at first, but will it really matter seven days from now? Or next month?"

She agreed that it wouldn't do much harm in the future if the talk didn't go well. I then asked her to think of the benefits that could be gained if she took the risk and went through with the speech. To think of the impact she could have on people and how fulfilling this experience would be for her. My friend did decide to give the presentation, and her fears of speaking in front of a crowd have long since been forgotten.

People often think I don't understand these fears since I am an accomplished motivational speaker. In actuality, the experience wasn't all that foreign for me, because I was that same nervous individual 15 years ago before I started my speaking career. I convinced myself that there was much more to gain if I humbly powered through a few stammering presentations. I now have what I consider the best job in the world and am confident speaking in rooms full of thousands of people.

You are going to put your risks in perspective today. Ask yourself how accepting a challenge will impact you a week, month or year from now. If you take the risk and don't succeed, how will this setback affect your life in the future?

We are often focused on consequences right now. Thinking of how something will impact us beyond the present moment helps put the risk into perspective. Many times you will find that a setback won't matter a year from now -- or even next week. So why not take a chance? You likely have much more to gain than you have to lose.

Motivational Tips and Tools

As an Olympian, best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and Biggest Loser motivational expert, I'm often asked for tips, tools, quotes and activities to help people reach their goals. I like to end all of my blogs with short tools that are driven from actual advice I've shared.

This week's tip:

Break away from certain times and places that you have found challenge you to stick to your goals. For example, if you are dieting and know you tend to eat junk food or sweets at specific times or in specific places then come up with some alternative stress-reducing behaviors to use at those moments. Or if you find you are drawn to check your social media pages when you should be getting work done, take the app off of your work computer or phone so it's not so tempting. If encumbering temptations are dangling in your face, they are much harder to circumvent.

For more by Nikki Stone, click here.

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