Anxiety. Stress. Eustress. Distress. Do any of those happen to you? Of course, you're human, right? The literature is full of articles and posts about anxiety and performance. There are arguments about whether there is a balance for optimal performance, meaning how much anxiety is too much, how much is too little, and how much is just right. Perhaps the amounts differ for different people and different situations.
Nonsense! When you are anxious, you do not have the quality of security, which is defined by Character First! as "Structuring my life around that which cannot be destroyed or taken away." We get anxious, we get stressed, when we think about things that could damage our egos. We forget that our egos are the parts of us that recover the most easily, and that we are anxious for nothing, actually. If our focus is on doing things that will benefit others, in upholding what is true, right and just, then we will have no anxiety. When we focus on those factors that are within our sphere of control and our sphere of influence, we have no anxiety because we know that we have done all that we could have to make the endeavour successful. However, when we start to focus on things or factors over which we really have no control, then we start to worry. We start to get anxious. We start to get tense. When we focus on our own egos, status, appearances, pride, then the same thing happens to us - we get anxious.
Remember, winners practice until they get it right. Champions practice until they can't get it wrong. If you haven't reached "Champion" level yet, no point worrying. Just keep on practicing until you get there. It is this confidence of knowing that we are not doing whatever it is we are doing for ourselves, but for others, and knowing that we are doing our very best to get better every day, that drives all anxiety away.
What about the arguments that some anxiety is actually good for performance? Again, I say nonsense. When you have visualized what it is you are going to do, whether making a sales presentation, proposal, or before you start that championship match or concert performance, your body would have been "warmed up" to the appropriate level of readiness, in sync with your mind and your spirit. You might even experience going into "overdrive" especially if you are required to perform under various forms of duress. The few times I was jumping out of perfectly normal aircraft in mid-air, I managed the natural fear that came by visualizing that I was jumping into the area in order to rescue comrades who would be annihilated if I didn't jump. That is one way of raising your level of battle frenzy to an appropriate level. The same thing can be done for any business situation.
Anxious? Use it as a sign that you need to become a champion. Use it to evaluate whether you are being self-centered or whether you are really serving others. And as time goes by, be anxious no longer. By then, you would know exactly how to prepare your mind and body for your best performance. Every time.
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