How I (Finally) Overcame My Fear Of Public Speaking

The first time I ever spoke in public, I suffered a severe anxiety attack. It was an awful experience...

Ever since I found my purpose in life, I like to tell folks that I feel like Superman. As soon as my eyes open every morning, an extreme sense of urgency overcomes my body to get up, own the day and make things happen.

But as you know, even Superman has his weakness.

Public speaking has been my kryptonite for a very long time now. The first time I ever spoke in public, I suffered a severe anxiety attack. It was an awful experience and something that stuck in the back of my mind ever since. I also believed that public speaking was the main thing holding me and our company back from reaching our full potential.

The opportunity to overcome this fear came when I received a cold call one morning from the president of the Alabama Real Estate Association. He invited me to come and share the story of how I started my company, Ohio Cashflow. My mind started racing. I did my best to spit out a response, “Well, I am not a public speaker. I can be very raw and rude sometimes.”

None of it worked. I reluctantly accepted the invitation and thought that I would have to make up an excuse, since I had three months until the event to create one. As the event date became closer, my mind started to race and play tricks on me. The thought of public speaking haunted me every evening before I went to sleep.


Mindset Shift

One day, I decided that I’d had enough. I had to go for it. As soon as I made the mindset shift, I quickly gathered the team and we started preparation for the speaking engagement.

We created a presentation along with branded company brochures and fliers. Every little detail was accounted for, with two rehearsals on the calendar. I asked someone to stand next to me and kick-start the presentation with a question, just in case my mind went blank and I froze on stage.

The day soon came. Twenty minutes before I took stage, I started feeling very lightheaded and anxious. I asked one of my team members to get me a glass full of ice. For whatever reason, crunching the ice with my teeth was soothing and helped me relax.

As soon as I hit the stage, it all fell away. Everything felt completely natural — from my tonality to hand gestures and even throwing in jokes to make the audience laugh.

Everyone seemed amazed with my story and related to many things I spoke about. After the speech, I received a ton of praise. People were even lining up to shake hands and talk further.

I do recall looking into the crowd and receiving some weird looks like, “Who do you think you are with that weird accent?” However, taking my eye off those characters and solely focusing on someone positively acknowledging and smiling kept me on track.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience and one that I am looking forward to doing many more times in the future.


Facing Fears

In business and entrepreneurship, educate yourself as much as possible on becoming a market expert. Surround yourself with key people who are smarter than you and who will always have your best interest at heart.

This will minimize your risk as well as your fear of making mistakes and losing money. Don’t forget that business is easy — it’s working with the wrong people that can make it difficult.

The magic happens when you get out of your comfort zone and stand up to pain and fear. You must be willing to acknowledge that every experience can be a good experience as long as you perceive it that way. Accept failure if it does occur, re-asses and keep moving forward.

The most powerful inspiration and ideas come to me when everyone has long left the office and I’m in the 12th hour of a grueling day. I sit by myself with all the time in the world left to think and create. As I learned on that stage, eliminate all negativity. Make an effort to focus your energy on always being positive, growing yourself and your business.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Engelo Rumora, “The Real Estate Dingo,” is the founder and CEO of Ohio Cashflow. To date, he has been involved in over 300+ real estate transactions along with successfully founding and running 3 businesses: Ohio Cashflow, Rumora Construction and a venture capital firm called Venticap. Connect with @engelorumora on Twitter.


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