Do you know the feeling? That dry throat, knotted stomach, sweaty palms? Even worse your knees chattering as you stand there. It happened to me some 20 years. Not a word uttered my armpits a mess. Body an anxious heap.
Fortunately, a lot has changed since then. I now have a Mind Toolbox which I regularly have to dip into, the tool I had to fetch this time, how to banish your inner critic.
I was invited to speak at the launch of London Business Biscotti Corporate Wellness Gold Club. I stood fastened to the floor, before my peers. My anxious butterflies jittered to remind me, of my ‘humanness’.
What happened next?I dropped into automatic mode from 20 years ago. OMG! The room is full of psychotherapists, published authors etc. etc. … what are they thinking of me? Followed rapidly by a string of ‘What ifs … yap yap yap …?’ (it all happens so quickly). Impact, of my thoughts -my brain chemistry kicked off, it injected a dose of cortisol and adrenaline into my body. Shot a message to my ANS (Automatic Nervous System), triggered my ‘save yourself from thesaberr tooth tiger’ respons, instant tense muscles, shortened breath, a wee wobble and prepare to attack or escape. Oh! Yes the mind is connected to the body.
Ned (the talking horse) yes that long ago! Whispers, deeply, gently in my ear, ‘take a deep breath in… let out slowly … repeat 3 times. Now relax your shoulders, that’s it, well done,’ he says. His tone assuring and caring, continues, ‘now soften those knees just a bit, that’s it.’ ‘You’re amazing girl you know your stuff, just share it with them’, Ned smiled as his nodded his head.My mind felt clear. My body felt safe, strong and steady. The words flowed from my mouth. My body was at ease with gestures and movement. I love Ned.
Who the Hell is Ned?
Well, you know that inner critic? For me it’s an Ugly slime blob. That harsh voice when I was in auto mode. Yapping yapping on about what others might think and what ifs … bla .. bla .. bla.. You see, I Visualise Ned coming along and kicking that Ugly slime blob. He’s there anytime I invite him, I just have to remember to invite him in.
I wonder what difference would it make to your life to have a ‘NED’ on your side?
I would love to hear your thoughts, questions and stories about performance anxiety.
Pop a message into the comment box and I shall come back to you.