Are you a victim of self-intimidation? If you're not sure, I advice you to examine your performance choices. Typically people bothered by "butterflies" will start avoiding any situation that might stir up their nerves. An attorney will turn down a big case, or file a continuation; a salesman will let a colleague make the call on a client with a reputation for being a specially hard sell; a reporter will avoid investigative assignments that require cornering people who would rather not be interviewed; an executive will delegate presentations to underlings or turn down public speaking invitations. How many people do you know have gotten bogged down in a low-level job because they can't take the stress that comes with more responsibility or with going on interviews? If you find a pattern where the fear of nerves is lording over what you decide to do in life or in work, you have probably fallen to the trap of intimidating yourself.
The remedy prescribed by Dr. John Eliot to eliminate self-intimidation is to unlink arousal from anxiety. When your body is in a charged state, you must first re agonize that anxiety is the result of a psychological misinterpretation of that arousal and then practice choosing the correct interpretation. Sometimes just knowing that there's a difference between anxiety and your body's natural preparedness for performance will do the trick.
If you know what you're doing, if you're good at your job, the "nerves" actually can make you perform better. You have educated yourself or worked for countless hours perfecting the skills that make for good performance in your field. You now have to start train yourself to accept that arousal is good thing.
You learn to love pressure by performing under pressure. You must put yourself in pressure situations in which you get nervous and then practice assessing wha the pressure can do for you. Pressure often signals an opportunity to excel.
PRESSURE OFTEN SIGNALS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXCEL
You must make a conscious association between the "nerves" and the potential to perform. If you have a speech to give or a presentation to make, try it in front of a few good friends or family members. I guarantee it will get your blood pumping. The next time around, try it out on a few colleagues or your department as a trial run before you face a big audience. If you have to perform in front of an audience, you better practice performing in front of some type of audience. A lot.
Astronauts spend months in simulators going over and over the procedures they will be required to carry out in space—not so they will be able to relax in that situation, but to train those inevitable physiological responses to their advantage. To keep their games sharp, the best golfers in the world like to play for a lot of money even during practice rounds. During spring training, baseball pitchers have been known to put as much as ten thousand dollars on a game of game of golf. Campaign managers put their candidates through mock press conferences. If the president of the United States rehearses his press conferences and major addresses to Congress in front of audiences made up of top aides and other staffers, shouldn't you be putting some time in simulating pressure situations?
Once you start enjoying that kind of pressure I advice you to ratchet things up a notch. Incorporate some distractions in your rehearsal. Encourage audience members to heckle you or ask the toughest questions they can think of. The flight directors at NASA intentionally cause the computers to fail and the shuttle to start spinning out of control.
In summary: Practice, practice, practice. Braking bad habits takes time. Research shows that it could take thousands of trials to break and old habit and learn a new one. Always remember:
TOP PERFORMERS GET WORRIED WHEN THEIR HEART IS NOT RACING
Unless you learn to love pressure—to perceive stress as an advantage—you're unlikely to enter then ranks of high performers
In good health,
Efrén Guerrero Rodríguez
Fortza Fit High Performance
Ph| (619) 780-6968