My work helps clients develop their ability to influence outcomes to win business. In my last posting, I discussed fear paralysis and how facing and taking action on fear gives choices and escape routes. One aspect in developing the ability to influence is to be bold, keeping a cool head in the face of stress and anxiety.
Say for example, you are giving a presentation to potential investors. They are likely to give you a critical ride. They will want to know whether you are authentic, whether your figures stand up to scrutiny and most importantly, whether you have strength of character and business acumen to make them money before they entrust you with their (usually) hard-earned cash. This could be an extremely intimidating moment, or it could be the most exhilarating pleasure depending on your approach.
Anxiety is a word for fear. And another is excitement. You can interpret the tremors, turbulence, the shaking as ‘nerves’. And you can also see it as excitement. It depends on how you define this experience. In calling it ‘excitement’, you have chosen to give yourself an opportunity to look forward to the event with enjoyment.
In my practice, I have found that anticipation is the key to whether the fear is stoked or banked down. Anticipatory anxiety – the constant thought of the event in the weeks beforehand in association with worry and dread – ramps up and contributes to undermining and paralysing anxiety which affects performance badly. However, if in the weeks or days leading up to the event, the thought crops up associated with pleasurable anticipation, performance is likely to shine.
The feeling of fear can be a blessing or a curse. And it depends on what you call it, whether it works for you or against you. You decide!