Have you ever woken up the morning of an important something and something (test, presentation, meeting, etc.) and the feeling in the pit of your stomach– the nerves- are screaming at you that you are just NOT ready?
Do you start scrambling then, trying to figure out how to get out of the situation, because, obviously, if your stomach knows what it is talking about, it’s going to be a total bomb?
This week, I want you to rethink those nerves. I want to challenge you to realize that your stomach doesn’t actually know what it’s talking about– that’s why it is a stomach and not a mouth or brain.
Here is what I have figured out about those butterflies I get in my stomach. They are not an indication that I am not ready. They are an indication that what I am walking into, what I am preparing to do, is something that really matters to me. My butterflies say, “you care about this” not “you should not be doing this.” And when you realize that, you can move powerfully forward.
So what to do when butterflies show up, telling you how much something matters to you?
Step 1: Prepare. Put the work into preparing for the test, the presentation, the meeting. Write a script for the talk you are giving and don’t just plan on reading them when it comes to present. Practice it over and over again. Meeting with someone? Think through what might come up and make sure you have the details you need to make your case, support your position, or present your ideas. Same thing for a test. Really, truly prepare for it. For whatever it is, give yourself what you need on the front end so that you can resolutely tell yourself that you have done the work to be there.
Step 2: Give yourself what you need. In addition to doing the work to get ready, you need to give your body and mind whatever they need to be in their best form. Go to bed early. Eat breakfast. Have some quiet time. Meditate. Stretch. Do whatever it is that gives you a nice sense of peace and a feeling of wellbeing.
Step 3: Go for it. When the time comes to take that test, present your workshop, or confer in that meeting, let your brilliance shine. You’ve prepared. You’ve cared for yourself. And you know this matters to you. Let your light shine. When something matters to you, don’t be afraid to show that heart to others. That passion and fervor is an important part of what we have to offer. Radiate. It’s contagious.
Step 4: Debrief. After you wrap up the meeting, test, presentation or whatever else it was, unpack it. But, before you do, remember that we don’t fail. All of our experiences are just information. And so, you were probably awesome, but if you have a pesky self-conscious who isn’t always self-accepting, you may not see that and you may want to be all harky and self-judging. Don’t do it. Instead, turn on your more objective analyst and think through what you would do the same, differently, at what point, etc. Learning from our present day experiences is actually a really powerful way to reduce nerves in the future because it better informs us of how to prepare for next time.
Do you battle nerves? What situations really work you up? How do you deal with them?