I can’t wait

Rosanna Machado | January 18, 2022

I am fairly in tune with my emotions and whilst, this is a great thing, occasionally those difficult emotions can feel overwhelming. Take, for example, feeling anxious before a big open water swim, before any public speaking or before going to a party where I don’t know anyone. I’m sure I am not alone, and this has also been a theme in my coaching sessions. I have found that the anticipation is often much worse than the actual event in question!

Whilst we cannot predict the future, we can delve a bit deeper in what’s going on for us in that period of anticipation. We may be nervous because we want it to go well or anxious about looking stupid in front of others or simply wanting something difficult to be over and done with.

What can we do to process those feelings?

  • Try to understand the root cause of your emotions
  • Take a realistic view of your current situation and celebrate your strengths
  • Understand what preparation will put you in a good place
  • Identify those brief moments of discomfort and think about how you might be able to handle them
  • Explore any old narratives that may be creeping in – one bad presentation does not equal I am terrible at public speaking
  • Learn from past experiences – what have you done in the past to help you prepare
  • Be ok with the uncertainty and prepare to improvise
  • Accept that some nervousness, anxiety or fear is likely to be present. I think of it as a sign that I care. Adopt your coping strategies for these emotions
  • Reframe the nervous energy into excitement (probably still with a bit of fear if you are anything like me!)
  • Try not to catastrophise about every possible outcome
  • Think about how you can relax
  • Remember that it is about doing your best in the situation – many factors that determine whether something is a ‘success’ or ‘failure’ may be out of our control
  • Every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow

A healthy dose of preparation before a big event is useful, but equally we can’t predict the future so a big part of it is about being present and ready to deal with whatever comes our way.