In a couple of days, I’ll be running my Stop Being Lost – Rediscover Your Path workshop. And I’m trying to objectively look at what these increasing butterflies in my stomach are saying: are they squealing in excitement? Or are they whimpering with nervousness?
I believe it’s both: excitement about all the fabulous things that would happen and nervousness about all the possible things that could go wrong. What I pay more attention to from now on will determine whether we have a great and successful event on Wednesday, or a pathetic and disastrous one.
What tends to happen when we have something important to do (especially if it involves other people and we think we could die from embarrassment if things went wrong) is that we build monumental castles around all the possible disasters. I’m not talking about the carefully calibrated checking to see that every contingency has been planned for. I’m talking about those wild and often unspoken fears of what could possibly go wrong. E.g., what if there is a train strike? What if it gets too hot or too cold and the weather affects attendance? What if I forget my lines/my role? What if they forget their lines/their roles? What if they remember their lines and I forget mine? What if the equipment fails? What if I forget something important (but I don’t know what that might be)? And so on and so forth.
Part of the difficulty here also is the idea that everything should be perfect, even though we can’t always define what this perfection means, what it actually looks like in real terms. Mind you, excellence is great, and always working towards excellent standards is simply awesome. Striving for perfection, however, is simply a trap…
What if we focussed on the great possibilities that the butterfly flutterings are also speaking of? If so, we could think about how everything will work out alright – not because we are mindlessly chanting ‘positive affirmations’ without any corresponding actions, but because we have done our homework; we have done everything we could to make sure it all goes excellently well. We could think about how we will know just what to say – which is what is needed to be heard, not because we have committed everything to memory but because we would be communicating from our heart. We could consider how, if there are unforeseen contingencies, we know that we are resourceful enough to be able to find ways to deal with them and so we shall not be derailed – at least not significantly anyway. And if, however, it turns out that we actually do get properly derailed, it is all ok.
And we could think of all the possible ways that we could be a blessing to others – and I am getting more and more excited thinking about that just now.
Of course it also helps if we remember to breathe! And there are many other grounding techniques besides. But before we apply any of those, it helps to decide how we want relate with the butterflies…
So, how do you or how would you want to relate with those butterflies in the pit of your stomach?