I want to share with you a story, of a man who now fears a hobby he once enjoyed on a daily basis.
Since I was a little boy, I’ve always enjoyed radio, from listening to weak signals from far-off lands to building antennas and radios to talking to locals. When I turned 16, I put a CB radio in my car. CB was all around my area, we had a large population of truckers, and since cellphones weren’t a thing then, CB was the answer.
In 1998, I got my amateur radio license. I was living in an apartment at the time, so I could only embrace the “local” portion of the amateur spectrum since the antennas to go the longer distance was way larger than I was capable of installing at my home. I had a commute that lasted about an hour each way, and amateur radio was my way of dealing with the long drive. My fellow hams and I would solve the world’s problems through the power of conversation.
As time went on, and my focus on life changed, I withdrew from radio in pursuit of other hobbies. Somewhere around 2005 I re-kindled my radio hobby and started talking on the air again. In 2009, I upgraded my license to general, which opened the world to me. Finally, I could talk across the globe to different people in countries I could only find on a map. The excitement in the hobby was back!
I spent a few years getting things ready, I bought an HF (High Frequency) radio, a fairly decent antenna, and I even built my own wooden tower. Ham life was good, or so I thought. I participated in my first contest, trying to contact people around the country for signal reports and points. That would be the first and last time my voice was heard on the HF bands.
Not too long afterward, I began to develop a fear of talking on the radio. It initially started out as not wanting to key up, for fear that a certain someone I didn’t want to talk to at the time would respond, and I would be forced to interact. Unbeknownst to them, they were the catalyst to the demise of my enjoyment of the hobby.
Now I’ll be the first to tell you not to let anyone stand in your way of doing something you enjoy, but it’s easier said than practiced. This fear of communicating eventually worked its way into all aspects of my life.
Today, I’m afraid to put my voice out on the radio, today I am afraid of communicating with people on voice chat in video games. My heart races, and I get a nervous twitch whenever the potential for interaction arises.
So, the big question is, how does one overcome “mic fright”? I don’t know the correct answer, as I am currently experiencing it, but I can give you and myself some ways to possibly work out of it. I’m going to focus on this in 2017, and the hope is I will be able to rid myself of this self-induced silence.
- Confidence in yourself – Over the years I’ve developed low self-esteem, I feel worthless, so naturally I feel that what I have to say doesn’t matter. The first step to recovery is dropping this notion.
- Take the plunge – The feeling that I should just do it, and stop worrying about the repercussions may be the next step to recovery.
- Repetition – Doing it once isn’t a cure, I’ve been there, it doesn’t work. Only through repeat breakouts can one achieve a routine.
I feel that this acquired shyness is something that will haunt me for some time. I have to approach this as an illness or a disability that can be overcome through exercise and therapy.