I had been recommended for promotion in my job in IT. I had a great track record, enviable feedback from peers and customers and had attained all the technical achievements that were required to move up the ladder and gain a substantial increase in pay and recognition. So what was stopping me? In order to gain that promotion, I would have to present my case before a board of executives, but the very idea made me feel physically ill.
I had struggled for years with panic and anxiety, and as soon as I pictured myself in front of those people, I could feel all the old symptoms rising up: the sweaty palms, the racing heart, the dry mouth. Over the years I had found ways to cope with most of the anxieties that affected me on a day-to-day basis, but public speaking was still unthinkable to me. It was something I was going to have to face if I wanted to get on in my career, but I knew that I was going to need help to get over this major hurdle.