Are you nervous or excited?

I’m a mother and a business owner. It’s an intricate balance of client deadlines, homework, networking events and football matches!  Before you know it, another month has passed and a new milestone has been reached.

My eldest son started high school this summer.  This is an interesting time, and Facebook Timehop provides an annual reminder of how far we’ve come.  My cute little ones excitedly bounced into their primary school, whereas now they shuffle down the road like Kevin the Teenager, worrying over what appears to be the most minor details. This morning’s drama was a tuft of hair that was just not quite slick enough – tufts used to be cute!

I know that much of this change is a rite of passage, but I can’t help notice that nervousness has replaced excitement. The night before his first day at high school he had butterflies in his tummy, sweaty palms and was unable to sleep at night is because he is “nervous” about going to his new school. Are these not the same physical reactions that make him feel “excited”?

It made me think about my own reactions and the times when I feel nervous or excited.  I’m nervous about a future event when I feel afraid or worried about it. I feel excited when I am looking forward to it.  The only difference is my perception of them, as the physical response is very similar.  I touched on this in my last blog about public speaking.

I’m a little bit in love with Simon Sinek. His ‘Start with Why’ book transformed the way I think about content and his ‘Leaders Eat Last’ book has made me think of the way we deal with those around us.  This has led to devouring his #SimonSays video content, and his recent video sums this up perfectly. He uses the example of a sports journalist. When interviewing athletes before a race, when asked if they are nervous they respond “no, I’m excited”. These athletes have been coached to interpret what their body is telling them in a positive way, whereas the journalist his imposing their negative associations on how he might feel.

It really is that simple. How we chose to respond to our emotions can impact the outcome.  No one has control of our thoughts but us.

When public speaking you can choose to be excited.

Starting a new job or taking that promotion is exciting.

The opportunity to meet new people at a networking event is exciting.

Or

Everyone will be looking at me, public speaking makes me nervous.

I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge of this new job, I’m nervous.

I don’t know anyone, I’m nervous about this networking event.

Feeling nervous is pre-programmed from our caveman days when we were not sure what to expect.  Is that a deer or a tiger behind that rustling bush?! Our thinking has evolved so don’t think like a caveman. Take time to remember that public speaking, a promotion or a networking event will not kill you, and chose to recognise your physical response as excitement, not nervousness.

Thankfully, we’re now in week four of the new school.  Normal service has resumed:

daily reminders that a bag of crisps is not a suitable breakfast, you do need a shower every morning and your school blazer is for you to wear not to keep your locker warm.

What are you excited about today? I’d love to know!

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