When do you feel anxious or nervous? Chances are it’s when you have to speak to a group of people.
Today my colleague and I are giving a talk to a large group of government employees on the effects of stress and stress management. I’m really excited because I love this topic. But I’m also getting hit with occasional waves of nervousness. Through the past week I’ve wondered: “What if I completely bomb this?” “What if others think I’m terrible?” “What if I’m met with a lot of resistance?”
I’m noticing a very real experience of anxiety.
Over the past month, I’ve also noticed this theme emerge in conversations with my clients and friends:
Here’s what’s going on. Straight up.
Any bit of nervousness you might be experiencing is because of the focus you’re unintentionally holding.
You’re nervous because you’re making it about YOU, your image, and your competency and/or adequacy.
So the question to ask yourself is: “What am I really standing for? What’s the real reason I’m about to put myself out there?”
I’m nervous about this talk only if my awareness is more on how I’m going to appear and how “good” I am at delivering this. If my unrealized focus is largely on getting others to admire me, believe in me, or think I’m great then I’m going to be riddled with anxiety because I’m making this about my competency.
But I’m not doing this to prove I’m competent and worthy of admiration, I’m doing this because I truly believe in the content and transformational impact it has on others. I have to remember that I stand for empowerment, joy, wisdom, and clarity. Coming from this stance, the talk is then about the shared experience of these qualities. With this as my focus, my delivery will be powerful and effective.
Of course, the question of what others think about me will pop up. But I don’t have to let that question take over and dominate my experience. If it does it’s because I’m more concerned about my image than I am about the content. But by standing for what I’m REALLY after – empowerment, joy, wisdom, and clarity – the nervousness and anxiety are replaced with power, clarity, vigor, and peace. I turn that fear into fuel simply from shifting my focus from my image to my stance.
What do you stand for?
Next time you find yourself hesitating to speak up or put yourself out there, just remember to ask what your real focus is. Your competency and image? Or what you deeply care about and stand for? Tap into your bigger vision and turn your fear into fuel.
Share your experience!
Do you know this experience of nervousness I talk about? How can shifting your focus from your image and competency to your true stance liberate you from anxiety? Comment below and tell me how this simple shift in focus can change your reality. Thanks in advance for your contributions!
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.