You know that feeling when you are about to do something challenging and you start feeling anxious, nervous, and then the fear creeps in? The anticipation of what will be? I was working with a client and we were focusing on mentally preparing for an upcoming job interview. Which by the way, I love doing this type of work with my life coaching clients. Before we visualized tapping into the energy of how they wanted to show up, we looked at the energy behind the nervousness and fear.
There was a lot of anticipation around the what ifs, so we utilized this opportunity and turned the nervous energy into preparation. Anticipation can spark hope, positivity, and creativity or fill you with anxiety and dread. I will be addressing the latter of the two in this post!
It’s safe to say that feeling nervous is part of the process especially when it comes to doing something of significance where your future is dependent on your performance and ability to convey that succinctly. There’s a lot at stake and how to prepare for this type of pressure can feel overwhelming.
We approached this just like any other challenge and it came down to this..
The anticipation of doing something very hard ALWAYS feels more challenging than the actual act itself.
Our brain wants to concoct these crazy scenarios that mirror our belief system. These beliefs are typically created in the formative years shaped by what we were told or something that happened to us that stuck with us to the present.
The cool thing about this situation is that you can challenge these beliefs and look at the current scenario through the lens of curiosity and truth. The truth of who you are NOW. Not a month, a year, or ten years ago. Who are you now? You are not the person who bombed the interview (which I have done many times and didn’t get the job which was a blessing).
How often are we believing in who we are now, rather than past versions of ourselves that run the present narrative?
Obviously being prepared is one strategy to utilize and I highly recommend it. However, the other strategy I would like to offer is acceptance of what is. Instead of freaking out because you are so nervous and focusing your effort and attention in calming the ef down, try accepting the feeling for what it is. “I acknowledge feeling nervous as this is a normal part of the process and so it is.”
Friendly reminder – nothing has gone wrong. Even if you truly fail your interview, what is the worst thing that will happen? You will most likely feel negative emotion. So before you fall into the misery of despair, feeling shame, doubt, insecure, and not feeling good enough, acknowledging whatever happened at face value for what it is will help bring you down a level or two. Whatever you resist will persist in some form. So let it be and notice where you are from this space. When we release the judgement and look at the situation from a neutral point of view, this is where we can evaluate what went well, what didn’t, and what can be improved upon. Of course, there’s the other side of the pendulum – what if the interview went amazing?!
I love this quote, “Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.” ~ Seneca
We have anywhere from 60,000-80,000 thoughts throughout the day. About 90% of those thoughts are repeated from the past. No wonder why we feel paralyzed with fear when thinking about what happened in our past. It takes us out of the present and living in the past – way back when in 2003 while speaking at a town hall meeting and completely froze in front of 200 people (yes that really happened to me). I still have fear when it comes to getting in front of an audience, but I also know that my mind wants me to go back to that 25 year old who didn’t have the confidence or experience that I have today. I go back to who I was then, instead of focusing on who I am now and how I want to show up.
These are the thoughts that create our narrative.
The story you tell yourself about yourself. The narrative can be inspiring and motivating or it can cripple you to the point of paralysis. The amazing part of this situation is that you get to decide on purpose what you want that narrative to be. Filling it with words such as I can’t, I should have, I don’t, I used to be, and I am not, will not create feelings of bravery, courage, confidence, and motivation. For more on how to change the narrative and change your life, read 5 Ways you can start rewriting your story today.
Instead tell yourself you are doing this with intention and purpose. You are showing up for you and for them. You are proud no matter what the outcome is because you are doing something outside of your comfort zone. Use words that resonate and empower you – that light you up. Focus on them and repeat. Then go prepare yourself for whatever anticipation you are experiencing. Then, Go get it done!
Rather than focusing on all of the fear and nervousness, focus on how you will show up, the value, impact, or help you can offer or solve.
Energy flows where attention goes. Why not use this energy to create something amazing for yourself and the world?