A few weekends ago I was challenged with the task of teaching a yoga class to group of my peers. I was terrified to the point of reconsidering my decision to become a yoga teacher. As I ran through my planned sequence with Toby I felt hopeless. I had lost the ability to communicate simple instructions. My voice was quiet and passive. As Toby looked at me puzzled asking “How do you expect me to extend through the crown of my head? That makes no sense.” I was on verge of a total break down. I tried to stop there but Toby was having none of it. He gently encouraged me to finish going through what I had planned. So I took a few steadying breaths and decided to charge forward without focusing on the details. Instantly my cadence improved, my voice sounded stronger, I used simple accessible instructions and made it through feeling much better. That night I fell asleep running through the sequence in my mind, picturing every moment, every inhale, every exhale. I woke up and reviewed my notes one last time, packed the car and headed to the studio. My partner and I were presenting second so we did a run through together and I started to feel prepared for the task. Finally I found myself sitting in front of the class looking at my fellow yoga teachers in training. I felt the butterflies frantically fluttering in my stomach as I introduced myself to the group. But as I looked around the room I was met with encouraging smiles, friendly eyes and all my fears of judgment washed away. I felt the Cailyn I am when I am most confident rise to the surface and take over. My nervous self sat back in wonderment and watched this confident, talented women walk through the class guiding her students through movements with ease. As my partner took over I walked the room adjusting and observing this fantastic group of people I am lucky enough to be a part of and just like that it was over. My classmates were applauding and my instructor was giving me a high five for a job well done. Not only did I survive the experience but I surprised myself with how well I did.
All week I have been reflecting on the experience thinking of ways to avoid the terror next time. So I thought I would write a blog post about some steps you can take to conquer your fears and channel your confidence.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND PRACTICE SOME MORE!!
Whether you are giving a presentation to an audience, going to a job interview, going on a hot date or trying a new trail on your mountain bike, the best way to get over your fear is to practice. The more times you do something the easier it gets, the more natural it will be. Once your subconscious knows how to handle the situation you can focus your attention elsewhere. You can be confident with the expected and have the peace of mind to deal with the unexpected.
THINK OF THE PLACE IN YOUR LIFE WHERE YOU ARE MOST CONFIDENT
We all have a place (or two) where we really excel and know it. It could be in your job, playing a sport, doing a hobby, taking care of your family or screaming out the answers to questions on your favorite game show. Take that feeling and transfer it over to whatever is making you nervous. Remember the things you are really good at and apply the confidence to the new task at hand. Somewhere in all of us a version of our self exists who is ready to take on the world, we need to let her or him out more often.
STOP PROJECTING YOUR PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS ONTO OTHERS
You are your own worst critic. All those things that you imagine people will be thinking about you when you stand up in front of the crowd… they only exist in your mind. Everyone else is either indifferent or pleased as punch to have you around. I can guarantee that no one will be as hard on you as you. One way that I remind myself of this is to look at the things I think about other people when they are on the spot. That list always looks something like this: They are so brave, confident, intelligent, beautiful, unique and talented. We often see great things in others that we may not be aware of in ourselves. As long as you choose to surround yourself with the right people you have no reason to fear judgment.
GIVE YOURSELF THE CREDIT YOU DESERVE – ITS OK TO BE COCKY SOMETIMES
Often we get stuck believing that it is a bad thing to feel pride about our talents or accomplishments. I agree modesty is important and we need to remember that there will always be room to grow. But I also think that we live in a society that tends to focus on the negative and that needs to change. Its about time that we start celebrating the wonderful people that we are! So just before you find yourself in the spotlight take the time to sweet talk yourself, fluff up your feathers and remember why you are special.
STAY IN THE MOMENT- FACE YOUR FEARS
We often want to be somewhere else when we are uncomfortable. If we push the fear away and don’t address it then we will never be free. Say hello to the fear, embrace it (because it means you care) and when you are ready let it go. One of my yoga mentors Mark Laham (founder of Mind Body Kinect) likes to remind us that fear is the same as excitement, its just how you choose deal with it. He has much to say on this topic and if you are interested I recommend looking into the coaching offered at Mind Body Kinect (http://www.mindbodykinect.com/).
These are the things I do when I need to feel confident. I hope that they are helpful for anyone out there who may be struggling with feeling as good as they should!