Angela Ceberano: Be The Warrior, Not The Worrier – Fighting Anxiety & Fear at TEDxBedminster (Transcript)

Full transcript of Angela Ceberano’s TEDx Talk: Be The Warrior, Not The Worrier – Fighting Anxiety & Fear at TEDxBedminster conference. This event occurred on May 19, 2015 at Bedminster, NJ.

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Angela Ceberano – Owner, Flourish PR

I want to talk about anxiety. I have anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety. I was a born worrier. If I have nothing to worry about, I’ll worry about that.

So you can imagine when the good people of TEDx reached out and invited me to be a guest speaker here today, truth be told, I thought it was a joke. And then I freaked out. My thought process went a little like this. Wow! This is amazing; is this a joke? They can’t be serious. I can’t do this. There is no way; I hate public speaking. Doesn’t everybody hate public speaking? Actually maybe I can do this and wow this is amazing. And this is amazing. Being up here, doing this talk, it is great.

But you can see my thought process here. It went from really excited to fearful, back to excited again. And I think a lot of us go through this thought process when we are presented with opportunities that are outside our comfort zone. Being here on this stage, on the other side of the world, is definitely outside my comfort zone.

But I’m not just here, because I have anxiety. I’m here because the way that I view my anxiety has changed. I now view my fears, my worries, and my anxiety as a good thing and I use it to my advantage. When anxiety is at its peak for me, it can mean a number of things. Mostly it can mean a difficulty in sleeping; it can mean difficulty in eating and it can mean sitting up in bed at two, three, four a.m. in the morning, obsessing about the tiniest of details and role-playing different situations or scenarios in my head about how the future may or may not play out.

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Now the ironic thing with me is that in my professional life I own and run a PR agency back home in Australia. And when I put my work head on, my professional head on, my anxiety and my fear it completely vanishes. I feel very strong and confident in the work that I do and so I have this struggle. I feel like I have this dual-personality thing going on because the way that I am in my professional life is very different to how I am in my personal life. And to be honest, I feel like I’ve probably hidden behind my career for such a long time because if I’m working — and I am a workaholic — if I’m working, it can mean I can avoid going out to different social events or I can avoid going out in general.

And so I started my own PR agency when I was 27 and many people told me that I couldn’t. It couldn’t be done and that I didn’t have enough experience. And for me I think there’s a lot of power in NO and I live my life like this. I get told ‘no’ a lot. I remember being at school and my teachers told me that I probably wouldn’t amount to much and I would certainly struggle going on to university.

Let’s just say I was no scholar, I was shit at school. And when the teachers would tell me these negative comments, it drove me to work harder to not only prove them wrong but to get to where I actually wanted to be. I did go on to university and I graduated with honors. And then I went out and scored my absolute dream job which was working for the biggest record company in the world. It was an incredible job and I was the national publicity manager there.

And I was working with all sorts of bands and artists, anyone from the Foo Fighters, one of my favorite events, to people like Celine Dion, so it was very diverse and it was an incredible job. I was there for eight years. And then I started my own PR company.

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And I’ve had my own PR company for the last five years and we’re going from strength to strength. Just recently I realized that my whole life I’ve been fighting ‘No’ and I realized that I haven’t actually been fighting my fears. And maybe this has something to do with my anxiety.

I am sorry, I want to look at fear for a moment. Now research has shown that 40% of the things that we worry about never actually happen. 30% are in the past and they can’t be helped. 12% involved the affairs of others, so it’s not even our business to worry about them. 10% relate to sickness, either real or imagined. So that means that only 8% of the things that we worry about are only ever likely to happen.

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