Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't Panic

Growing thick skin takes time and continuous exposure to the challenges and hardships that harden our spirit. Occasionally life gives us a long break when the amount of stress we endure on a daily basis is so minimal –we barely notice it. However it’s less of a favor then we think since we soften and relax. And when a real stressful event finally occurs – good or bad, we are so unprepared that we panic.

If I need to do public speaking every week, it becomes a customary thing for me and causes little anxiety. But if I am barely ever involved in it – and suddenly I am asked to present to a bunch of serious people, I am terrified to a point when I become speechless with fear. All the long-forgotten symptoms make a comeback: loss of appetite, inability to focus, broken sleep pattern and insomnia. Mentally you are so stuck on the upcoming event that you actually fail to notice what’s going on around you unless it’s related to the source of your stress. Waiting is the worst part: hours suddenly stretch into eternity; you dream about having a “fast forward” button, which would transfer you instantly into that future moment, when the scary event is over and you know the results.

What can I say… You have to deal with it, there is no way around it – unless you choose to escape right before the “dreadful” thing is supposed to happen (such as quit your job before an important meeting that terrifies you). But you cannot run away from life, some of these situations are inevitable. Thus, I remember my cowardly thoughts as I went into labor with my son: “I wish it was not happening to me” or “I wish they just sedated me and when I wake up – the baby is already out”. Yet I had to endure the process from its painful beginning to its equally painful end. But if you do something in spite of the paramount fear – you are not a coward. You are a human being. It’s important not to let your weaknesses dominate your life and slow down your progress. You dive right in, you push yourself, you move forward even as panic paralyzes your body. And then you look back and tell yourself with pride and joy: I made it!


  1. Hi Aysel
    I can identify with what you are describing here.
    I too have felt the panic rising and rising.
    However I have come to accept that every time when I do something new, there will be feelings attached to that.
    But as I learn to observe my Little Voice those feelings of fears and anxiety lose their grip on me. Love Wilma

  2. Hi Wilma, thank you for the comment! I was supposed to have a meeting with a difficult client - and as good as my presentation was, the numbers leaved much to be desired. And my fear of public speaking multiplied by bad numbers... ah well, I was in a state close to fainting all day. Writing a post about it an hour before the meeting actually helped to relieve my anxiety and I felt calmer. I accepted that I was scared but also told myself: you will do it no matter what.

  3. Oh Aysel, I can relate to that as well.
    Bad numbers, no love for public speaking, quite a combination to make everybody NOT want to get out of bed. And yet, I am learning that how bad the situation, if you have done your preparation with integrity and doing the best you can, the rest is out of your hands.
    I am learning that it has been the worry about having to get the wanted outcome that was always doing me in, that made it all so hard.
    I too have had to do things that I felt were near impossible to get the desired outcome with, I am building my own business and that scares me too, and when I am in that place I cannot think and the fear paralyzes me.
    Good on you to write this post as a way to see what you were doing, it is like putting it on the table so you can see what is really going on.
    Now I want to know how the meeting went. xox Wilma
    PS I am writing this on my partner's computer as my letter 'm' is stuck.

  4. Hi Wilma, I also find the if you are well-prepared, the nerves are losing their grip and you feel more confident. The level of preparedness is totally under our control, so there should be no excuses here. I also have to believe in what I am saying (even if for 1 hour :) ), or no one would "buy" it. The way I look for the event matters too - I was thinking, even if I "go down", at least I will do it gracefully in my best dress. Surprisingly, it boosted my confidence too.

    As far as the outcome - no, I wasn't really attached to it, it was the process that terrified me, so I just wanted to get over with it regardless the outcome. But.... It went so well, that instead of losing the client (which was expected), we signed him on for a bigger contract. I've received quite a few "good job" compliments, but I do believe that overcoming my fear is my biggest win here.


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