Have you ever felt like there is a whole debate club living in your head? It’s particularly loud when you are under pressure, faced with a challenge or going for a goal you really want?
It’s as if one part of your brain is saying “Go for it, you can do it”, while another voice negates that fiercely, “No you can’t, who do you think you are? Get out while you still can.” And then of course there is that other slightly more reasonable voice that convinces you to" just try" , "do your best" but then comes in and chokes when the pressure gets too intense.
If you have ever had that happen, you are definitely not alone.
For some reason, there were lots of big sporting events for people in my life this past weekend and that is a classic place for this mind game to rear its ugly head. First, my client Teresa was scheduled for a Spartan 10K trail run and called Friday with very “rational” reasons why she should postpone and essentially “get out while she still could”. Another client Jill was signed up to do a ½ Marathon and also found some crafty ways to try and “punt” her event.
It didn't stop there, my super competitive husband, Stephen left nervously for a golf tournament worried he would "bomb like he did last time". Finally, my son Ty was in his first Varsity baseball playoff game and feared he would "choke" and let his teammates down.
And all of that took place in just 3 days!
It just goes to show how frequently this can happen. Whether it’s a job interview, sales call, date, or athletic endeavor psyching yourself out can be debilitating and it's a guaranteed way to compromise your abilities. The good news is there are ways to control those pesky nerves, shut those voices up and maximize your talent.
And my crew proved that! I have to proudly share that despite how they may have felt, they all overcame their doubts and fears. Teresa finished with flying colors, Jill boldly conquered her mindset and health challenges and completed her first ½ marathon, my husband’s team won 3rd place and my son’s team won a nail biter of game and for the season championships.
So if they can do it, you can too! Here are 5 ways to stop you from psyching yourself out.
Also be aware of focusing too much on yourself or you may fall into "analysis paralysis". When we become so hyper conscious or overly concerned with doing things "right", “being perfect” or even "feeling" every physical sensation, we can create problems and limitations that don’t exist. Instead focus on the task at hand. What is your objective and what actions can you take to achieve that goal. A director on Guiding Light would often instruct us “faster, funnier and more passion where appropriate.” And as she walked away, she would add “ especially faster”. I got it. We were over thinking and over emoting every line. Our focus was on "how well we said the line" instead of "how well we were achieving the objective" of the scene. So, get out of your head and into action.
Bottom line, both options of this question offer a change in perspective that can help bring clarity, reduce stress and redirect the negative voices. Use whichever version works for you.
Suddenly, she started laughing. I asked what’s so funny? She replied, “I feel like I’m in a phone booth and I really like it.” She continued, “In this phone booth I am completely focused, I can’t hear anyone else, not even the doubting voices in my head. I feel unstoppable". So now whenever she needs to golf under pressure, she imagines walking into her “phone booth”.
Interesting side note, I went to sit at my dining room table today to write this article, and I was overcome with a heavy feeling. I realized I was starting to perceive that space as my “unproductive zone.” Yikes! That wasn’t even a pressure situation, but this still applied. So be conscious of the “identity” you give the places, you want to perform at your best.
I had a client who was applying for a new job. She had been on several interviews but nothing was working out. So we got very clear on her "recipe for success" including ingredients like: physical stance, posture, walk vocal quality and pace, as well as her mindset in that empowered state. The next interview she walked in like she had been working at that company for years and sure enough she was hired!! Nothing else had changed.....her resume, qualifications, references were the same. But physically owning that new position got her the job! .
Where there is a will there is a way and where there is pressure, there are also ways to hack the brain and body for performance success. It's possible, you CAN do it!!
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