On a daily basis I hear the phrase “I get nervous”.
You might be surprised to hear (or maybe not, if you know me well) that my reply is “Get in line”.
We all get nervous!
Astoundingly, people think some don’t.
Wrong. Almost everyone suffers at times and many, like you (and me) can suffer a lot.
Nervousness is a natural response to a stressful event. It’s temporary and resolves once the stress has passed, which is little reassurance for anyone in the midst of an actual panic attack!
I could go on about how a lack of education is a strategy of oppression. It is like throwing people down a well and not following with a ladder and I hear the moans of those trapped in the bowels of despair, on a daily basis.
I love to share the adage:
“How do you get over nerves?
You learn how to deal with it”
And this knowledge is not new. In fact, it is exactly what they knew in Ancient Rome. Cicero, the famous orator, spoke of the importance of reason and intellectual pursuits, emphasizing the power of the rational mind over impulsive emotions.
This is what Daniel Goleman referred to in his writings on Emotional Intelligence, where he adds the challenge that the emotional mind is strong, fast and unconscious, while the rational mind is weak, slow and conscious. Hmmm.
Today we know a lot more scientifically, but humans have not changed for millennia and neither has the change process.
First, you need to realise that there are different strategies for different stages of performance anxiety.
The first stage is ‘Catastrophization’ and this is a time when visualization, deep breathing and relaxing will help. Here you may also spend time doing your research, sorting your outfit and rationalising your fears along with many of the oft-offered tips.
However, in the second stage, ‘Panic’, at the time of the event, these strategies don’t work!
As you sit in front of a Senate committee, it is too late for visualisation and if you can ‘relax’ just before sharing your presentation to an audience or board, do let me know and I’ll bottle your blood for scientific experiments!
Not only that, these strategies can be highly detrimental. For instance, encouraging yourself to ‘relax’ when that is an impossibility for the average human is cruelty to dumb animals.
Instead, this is a time to engage with the unconscious mind through strategies such as mantras and I am so grateful to have been quoted on this strategy in Forbes in September 2023. I am thrilled to see these techniques taking their place at last.
Other useful strategies during the panic stage may involve moving the body, swinging the elbows and breathing out with force.
You may be saying, “Ah Louise, how can I do that sitting at a table?”. Well, you might be surprised how easy it is. Watch this space and . . .
. . . follow me for more tips.
What I’ve been up to…
The Confident Leader Retreat
28th Aug – 2nd Sep 2023
8th September 2023
Property Management Conference
6th September 2023