Do you find it difficult to get up in front of group of people and speak, teach, perform or do anything? While hiding under a rock may seem to offer safety, it never does. Avoiding situations and worrying about ourselves only increases our fear, makes us unavailable to others and has no benefit, to us or others. I am sure those of you who have known me for some time would recall the ‘shy, under confident’ story I had going on. Up until fairly recently the idea of speaking or performing in a group situation, in public, or teaching terrified me. Fortunately this is no longer a story I need to tell myself. I have been fortunate to come across some helpful wise advice, which for me has become a ‘game changer’ as a friend of mine says.
While I still feel that sympathetic nervous system response kick in with that increased heart rate, butterflies in the stomach etc. I have learnt to see this as a reminder to:
My daughter taught me this several years ago. She was young, at a new primary school and had to participate in the swimming sports. She was very nervous and expressed to me her fears, “What if I sink to the bottom of the pool? I can’t dive off the blocks? What if I stop half way, come last, etc. etc.” How often do we worry about things in the future that have not happened yet? So often I catch myself doing this. She was working herself into a ‘nervous wreck’ and she was nowhere near the pool.
Fortunately I remembered something that might help. We can’t be worried about ourselves and concerned about helping others at the same time. Together we made a plan for the swimming sports. We came up with a list of things to do when she got to the sports. The list included look for friends and younger swimmers who seemed a little nervous and give them a smile or have a chat to them, cheer for every race, support her house and join in the chants, see if the teachers or anyone needed a help with anything, swim her race and do the best she could for her house, etc. After making the plan to do what was needed when she go to the sports she looking a little brighter; at least she had stopped crying. I dropped her at school with her plan.
Later that morning I went to watch the sports. She didn’t know I was there and I watched with relief and joy as I witnessed her putting the plan into action. She was doing what was needed, chatting, cheering and helping younger swimmers. She got up to swim her race and looked a little nervous on the blocks. She dived in and swam her race. I was so excited and was cheering like mad. The mother next to me said, “Did your daughter win that race”. I said, “no, she came last but she is really happy”. There was lots of laughing going on amongst the swimmers at the end of the pool and I was so happy she was able to get her fear and worry about herself out of the way to do her best to benefit others. She had come out from under her worry rock and swam like a fish. (a relaxed even paced one!)
She had realized the secret of her own happiness – letting go of that worry about herself and doing her best to make others happy. We have been able to share this story recently as she embarked on two new jobs, and I returned to teaching. We realized we had a choice. We could worry about ourselves and how it may or may not go and work ourselves into ‘nervous, what about me wrecks’ or we could do our best to present and prepare well, get there and benefit who ever presents, customers, employers and students. I will share how I applied this in next weeks blog. Hiding Under a Rock Confessions of a Terrified Teacher and Tapper
Have fun this week letting go of that worry about how things may or may not go and instead use your energy to do your best to be of benefit to others with whatever presents.
You might want to
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