You Are Where Your Mind Puts You

You Are Where Your Mind Puts You

| Tina Bakehouse

Notecards in hand, I dart into the restroom. It’s 10 minutes before my college debate partner and I are on stage for my first regional tournament arguing the topic “Biotechnology in Ethiopia.” 


I’m nervous.


Beyond nervous.


I’m terrified.


I don’t want to present this topic and be judged. 


All the “I can’ts” and “I won’ts” overcome my mind and body.


I start to shake.

My head feels faint and my mouth dry.
I throw up in the trashcan.


I’m wishing this experience to be done and over. 

I’m full of fear.


My brain is making me miserable.


Our brains go into fight or flight mode when we feel fear or threatened. We’re hardwired to worry, fearing embarrassment. Communication Professor Amy Boone has researched ways to overcome anxiety. 


Boone said, “You can learn to control your stress response when you are exposed to small doses of it.” 


Embracing the new, understanding it and channeling it is key to overcoming our fear of failure.


Our brain likes what’s safe. It protects us and prevents us from danger, so any uncertainty causes the brain to go back to old ways of thinking and doing. 


Instead of avoiding public speaking, say, “Yes” to facilitating your next team meeting;

say, “Yes” attending a networking event;

say, “Yes” to presenting a webinar or in-person workshop.


By throwing ourselves into new speaking experiences frequently, we’re training our brain to deal with the stress, one small step at a time.

Taking a breath, I walk out of the bathroom and remind myself I need to do this college debate for my partner and team.


I changed my story of discomfort and failure to that of possibility. 


I took a breath.

I stepped into the unfamiliar.

I supported my partner and presented my part.


As speakers, we must retrain the brain. 


By filling our mind with stories of future success, communicating to ourselves with grace, and then continuing to practice, we will see and feel progress.


You are where your mind puts you.


Ready to craft a keynote or share your story? Reach out to me for a discovery call, so we can connect to uplevel your speaker style. If you want help telling you or your organization’s story or communicate with ease, I can help you in a 3, 6, or 12-month signature communication coaching program. For more information, check out my website: or follow me on LinkedIn or my Tina B. LLC Facebook page and Youtube Channel: Effective Communication with Tina B.