We’re so touched and impressed by the stories of personal leadership that people share with us that we decided last year to create special posts to highlight those people. We’ve called this series, Faces of Leadership. Today we have another great story of personal triumph and leadership from Lorianna Kastrop.

It is tempting to let fear control our lives. Fear can be a strong, visceral feeling that is like an alarm bell going off in your head warning you of danger.
There are those times when you must listen to your fear. Feelings of fear that actually alert you to impending danger or high levels of risk – that fear you need to listen to. But for most of us, our day-to-day fear, the fear that can really stop us in our tracks, is not impending danger fear. It is more about a lack of experience than about something that is truly dangerous.
Lorianna Kastrop, Vice President, CFO of The Kastrop Group, Inc. Architects responded to one of our posts about courage. Her wisdom is a powerful reminder that we don’t have to let fear stop us.

“I do a lot of public speaking, and I’m often called upon to host or be the M.C. at large public events, sometimes with thousands of people in attendance. 
I’m comfortable speaking from a script, or off-the-cuff, and into a microphone. I am also comfortable singing in public and will do so, when asked. 
People who request my help often thank me profusely, as though I have really bailed them out.
I always say that it’s no problem for me, it’s just something I know how to do. 
Many folks have asked me how I overcame the natural fear of public speaking. Here’s the reason—
I had a speech defect when I was born.
I had a lot of speech therapy. My mother took me weekly to a doctor who taught me how to breathe, how to swallow, how to say a variety of words, and eventually how to speak in sentences. 
I had to practice with the doctor and at home. I had to sip water over and over while the doctor watched to make sure my tongue was in the correct position. I said lists of words until I was blue in the face, making sure that I didn’t mispronounce or slur any of them. 
I got over my self-consciousness because I was just trying to complete the task.
I still have trouble with what is called a “sibilant S”, which is a slight hissing sound on words with the letter S. It bothers me, but I can live with it. 
Malcolm Gladwell noted that “Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness”.  My speech therapy wasn’t 10,000 hours, but it was a lot, and it was while I was a child. 

I build upon those hours every day. So, by now I probably do have 10,000 hours of speaking in front of other people. And I’m delighted to say, I’m no longer concerned about it. 

I’ve learned that some of the things that cause fear are just a matter of inexperience. Try the skill, and if you have an aptitude for it, then get training. After that – practice, practice, practice.
Eventually you will no longer be afraid. You may not be perfect, or even be an expert, but you will no longer be afraid. Now that’s an accomplishment.”


This week, spend some time observing yourself to identify those times when you let fear stop you – believing you are in danger – when in fact, the fear is about doing something that you don’t have experience with. 
As Lorianna shared with us, pushing through your fear can bring a great sense of accomplishment and in some instances may even help you develop a skill that you become recognized and respected for.   
Let us know your experience of managing and overcoming your fear.

– Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

We’d love to hear your story. If you have a leadership story that you would like to have highlighted in our Monday Morning Business Coach post, please submit it to: leader@carpentersmith.com. Please note that we receive many more submissions than we can publish, and we often have to say no to good proposals due to limitations of time or because they’re not distinct enough from other pieces we have published.

Are you struggling with fear and would like to overcome it? Contact us today. We’re here to help you learn ways to get around your fear.