Imagine you're on stage giving a speech, live performance, or playing a team sport. All eyes are on you and the pressure is ON. Just your luck the voices of self-doubt and depreciation are screaming loud in your head. You know you have to silence them but have no idea how. It's so hard to turn the volume down when some part of you believes those voices are right.
It's at this very moment you must remember the voices come from place of fear and not necessarily truth. The voices of fear blazingly tell you you're not good enough, smart-enough, you're not special or talented. They convince you this spotlight will expose you and the gig will be up, everyone will know you're a fraud. The pressure to perform creates an amphitheater with the voices of fear echoing around your head causing anxiety and tension throughout your body. The worst part is more you listen to those voices the more you experience the very thing you truly fear - failure.
This weekend I watched my own son through his own moment self-doubt, anxiety, and pressure. The more he disbelieved and discounted his light and power the more he struggled through his basketball tournaments. Sadly there was nothing I nor his basketball coaches could say to pull him out of the vortex he had created in his mind. Ultimately, he has to choose to believe what the rest of us experience to be true - that he is good. As long as he listens to that voice of fear and doubt he will continue to get in his own way, make mistakes on the court, and ultimately create the very thing he feared in his basketball game- making a bad play.
Watching him work through his self-doubt and subsequent anxiety during his basketball game made me think of ways this one-two punch cripples us in our careers too. When the pressure is on at work and this time the naysaysers aren't only the voices of doubt in our head, they have real names and faces too! I reminded my self and my son is that fear is bound to creep up - whether someone else opens the trapdoor or you do it yourself. The key is to learn how to turn down the volume and turn up your focus.
Quiet the noise by focusing on one thing at a time. Like an antennae tune your attention in to what matters most in that moment. It could be your lines in a play, the passes and shots you make in a game, or the positive contributions you make at our job, Focusing on the key elements of success will move you forward without you even realizing it.
What's you performance focus for the week that will help you stay on top of your game?
If you find this reminder to turn down the volume and focus on what matters most useful be sure to share with a friend.
The life we experience is designed to help us grow. My wish is that you learn from me as much as I learn from you. Share your life lessons and let's build together.