“Ke leon, ke tigre, e ku tatakut” is the Pampanga Province mantra that villagers repeat to shore up their courage. Our client, Mercy Steenwyk, shared this Philippine quote she learned as a child. Roughly translated it means, “Come the lion, come the tiger, I am not afraid.”

Hearing this quote made us reflect on two Immersion Workshops we recently conducted in Santa Fe. The elephant in the room was fear, which frequently reared its ugly head. Clutched hands were most prominent—whether they were over the belly, the crotch, or behind the back. Other manifestations were legs crossed, rocking back and forth, sweaty armpits, apologies expressed to the audience, voices that quavered, and content delivered too quickly.

The actor’s version of the Filipino mantra is “fake it ‘til you make it.” When you feel fear but don’t want the audience to perceive it, breathe deeply, open your hands, and stride with purpose onto the stage. Speak in short sentences so you can think on your feet and the audience can absorb your content. Make eye contact around the room. And ground yourself by committing to your purpose. Accept that public speaking creates anxiety, and then wrestle it to the ground.

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