Face your Fear: Four steps to get over your camera anxiety

Last week, we bit the bullet and traveled for the first time in a year. The kids were ready. We were ready. It was time to get out of our locked-down house.

We ventured out west to Colorado for a family ski trip. It's my husband's favorite trip ever. I prefer the beach, but I love giving our kids all the experiences possible and I like to ski too.


While we both have taken this trip as children, as adults and with other couples, my husband and I have never attempted a ski adventure with kids.

It was entirely new adventure.


I'll preface this with some mom-knowledge I discovered long ago about expectations.

This was not to be a vacation; this was a trip. There is a huge difference when you are a mother.


A vacation means you take off from your major responsibilities and enjoy some time doing whatever you want. A trip, on the other hand, is where you travel to a new place while still retaining your major responsibilities of keeping tiny humans alive and happy.


Both are great! But the key to avoiding bitterness or disappointment is to realize these expectations before your trip or vacation. As a young mother, I made the mistake of expecting when we went on a "family vacation" it was a time to let loose, relax and not unload the dishwasher...again. Instead, I was aghast when it turned out to be a family trip. The dishwasher still needs to be unloaded, the children still need to be bathed and cared for and while I do get extra time to myself, these responsibilities remain. The best realization of all was that one isn't necessarily better or worse -- they are just different. It's important to set your expectations for such.


So what does this have to do with facing your fears? Hang with me, here.


My biggest fear going skiing with three kids, besides the mere danger of death or injury, was getting them all on a ski lift. I can make my way down a difficult blue, but I'm no expert skier. I still have a little bit of anxiety getting myself on a ski lift. Standing in the right place, sitting at the right moment, not falling off, holding my poles and the bar... the list goes on.


So it eventually it happened. My (older) girls learned how to easily get on and off in ski school, so they turned out to be better at it than I was. But one day it was just me and my little man (5 years old)... time to get on a ski lift ... with no safety bar at all.


Did I chicken out? Did I say 'this isn't for me' and stay at the bottom of the hill? No. I faced my fear.

Go time. I prepared by ditching my ski poles so I had one less thing to hold on to. I envisioned how it was going to go well. Then I faced my fear. We skied up, held hands, sat down and we were off! Nobody died. Nobody fell. I may have had a white-knuckled grip on his arm the entire ride, but he didn't seem to mind. And guess what? The next time was much easier. And the time after that, even easier.


So how does this relate to you?

Most of my clients have an innate fear of being on camera. It's completely natural because talking to a camera lens as if it were a real person is a complete unnatural thing to do!


We're all scared of something. Usually multiple things cause us fear and worry.


When it comes to presenting yourself on camera, fear is a good thing!

It only means you care. If you didn't care how you came across to your audience, it wouldn't matter how you looked or sounded on camera.


Fear of the camera means you care about what you are presenting and want to do it right. My fear of the ski lift only meant I wanted to keep my kids alive -- it's not a bad thing, when you put it that way, right?


How did I face my fear?


Envision.

I'm an eternal optimist at heart, so I usually envision the best case scenario by default. I'm also a believer in The Secret. Envision doing it right first. How will it feel when it's over and you nailed it? Think of someone you really like watching on camera and envision being just like them. Emulate their cadence, their pace and their presentation.

But when it isn't a life and death situation like a ski lift, I think it is also good practice to consider the worst. For instance, what's your biggest fear of being on camera? You look bad? You say something incorrectly? Someone asks you a question you don't know the answer to? Face these fears before they happen and consider what you would do in that particular situation.


Prepare.

When you envision these worst fears, it helps you prepare. I prepared for the ski lift by ditching my ski poles, because I envisioned how they could get in the way when I needed both hands to hold my kid and the seat. How will you prepare for your next on-camera presentation because you've envisioned what could happen? Most likely, none of those worst-case scenarios will ever happen, but if they do, you will be prepared for them and know what to do. Having this knowledge in your back pocket brings you a sense of confidence that can help ease those fears. You're ready for whatever happens!


Face it.

It's GO Time. The ski chair is turning the corner and next stop is your behind. What are you going to do? Sit? Fall? Ski away? Cry? You're going to sit on that chair, hold onto your kid as tight as you can and take the ride. If I could have done a practice run with no fear of life and death, you better believe I would have done it. When it comes to being on camera, you have that option! Set up your iPhone or web camera, do a trial run. See how you look, sound or how you can improve before 'going live' or even sending to an audience. But I guarantee once you take that ride, the next one will be easier.


Evaluate.

Don't miss this step. Evaluate what went really well and what you can improve on. It makes that next time that much better. When I skied off that lift with my little man, my first thought was 'that wasn't so bad.' Yours probably will be too. But I also knew how to make it easier next time.


I sure wasn't good enough on the lift to get a picture of us facing my fear, but I did get this one in an (enclosed) gondola so you get the idea.


It's okay to still have white-knuckles when you hit record (or hold onto a small child 200 feet in the air).


But it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Our ski down that mountain and the many more times we went holding hands were priceless. I'm glad we faced our fear and rode the lift.

You will be too.

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