Today I have the privilege of sharing a deeply personal story with you from a good friend and someone who’s been part of the community for the last 5 years – Anthony Antoine.

He shares his courageous journey of growth to overcome his biggest fear and how mentorship has played a crucial role along that road. It’s been a remarkable transformation to see Anthony develop over these last few years so I hope you enjoy it and make sure you check out the incredibly moving video at the end!

As you read, have a think about what your biggest fear is that you want to overcome that may feel too hard or big, or scary to do so…

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Anthony at the London Olympics, Stratford in 2012

Overcoming My Fear of Speaking – Anthony Antoine

“You know when you are challenged with something when the thought of that thing brings up a lot of pain, anxiety and dread. Speaking was that thing for me; conversations, presentations and even catching up with old friends made my heart sink. I had no faith or belief in myself to hold a valuable conversation with someone – it was my biggest gap.

Why Was This My Biggest Fear?

My fear was a result of having a stammer and being dyslexic; a double whammy! The avoidance of experiencing the pain when speaking to people led to a distinct lack of competence with anyone, not just speaking to them but also understanding them. Because of the lack of engagement with people I developed a lack of awareness of how to interact with people and this created an underlying fear when doing so – interacting with people was scary! Let me paint the picture of the extent of my fear – I would take a round-trip of about 2 1/2 hours to go to the bank instead of having a 10 minute phone call with them, because I found face-to-face much easier than speaking on the phone.

How Did This Happen?

How on earth did I develop such dysfunctional beliefs? To see such little value in myself that I just hated speaking to people!

This wasn’t just due to one thing, but I can safely say that I had no one who I could speak to openly about my challenges. I felt alone. My family wasn’t close; my mum, being a single mum, was busy with holding down two jobs to support the family. My brothers and sister had their lives and were not really concerned, or didn’t know what to do with me, either way I was dealing with this by myself. It felt like I brought myself up. This feeling exacerbated through the years and by my mid-thirties, my life had become stale, wanting so much in my life and career/business but not knowing how or where to start, so I didn’t do anything. The thought of where I was going was painful so I avoided looking at myself; especially the areas of my character that were holding me back, my gaps. If I did look at these I definitely did not do it very deeply or for any amount of time.

Where Am I Now?

I’m not there yet but I have made big steps forward. Speaking isn’t such a painful experience and now I’m actually having some amazing conversations with friends and strangers which helps me feel very positive and certain about my future. More so at Lighthouse I get to speak with people about some incredibly meaningful and deeply important matters, which helps me grow while helping others.

How I see myself is far more inspiring and positive. As a result of me starting to see myself as more confident and successful I’m beginning to do things that will make me more successful; stepping out of my comfort zone, developing better habits, saying no to things that are distracting etc. This has undoubtedly happened through having consistent mentorship over the last few years, to help me come to grips with reality, and for the first time, to accept myself – to truly begin to understand and know myself. I can only imagine if I had this when I was a young boy, where I would be in myself and what level of value I would be able to add to the world as well as the level of internal and external success I would have achieved by now.

This video below is a tiny glimpse into that very idea and shows much of how I felt during those times; It shows what’s possible when young kids and adults who struggle to communicate receive the right mentorship and care to help them overcome their biggest fears and biggest weaknesses… ”

Check out tomorrow’s Breakthrough Experience where Anthony will share more about how he managed to change his fundamental beliefs about himself to overcome his biggest gap and his greatest fear…

Facing our fears is one of the most challenging things we can do, but it also brings the most rewards and biggest growth. If you would like any support with this just register to speak to a mentor on this page or get in touch with your Lighthouse Introducer.