Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm Not Anxious, I'm Excited

My original intention was to post a new entry every week.  I started off strong, but recently, I have been struggling to meet that goal. 

For one, the traveling hasn’t let up.   We spent this past weekend in Vermont with good friends; Kacey, Charlie, Sue, Liza and Mike.  The trip started off with a nostalgic and incredibly satisfying meal at Friendly’s (I’m envisioning Brittany, pouting, out of jealousy, as she reads this) en route to Mount Snow.  Once we arrived at the condo, we had a great time snacking on cheese and crackers, sharing homemade meals, drinking and playing old school games, like “Never Have I Ever…” and Circle of Death.  We also spent a majority of the time asking extremely personal questions, more appropriate for couples counseling, than a ski weekend.   Good times.

Secondly, I spent the majority of last week preparing for the keynote presentation at SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology EduTech Conference.  I spent most of Tuesday fine-tuning the content and practicing the delivery, out loud, in front of the mirror.  By Wednesday, my throat was sore, and by Thursday, I was so sick of the material, I could barely review my notes without glazing over.

But, before I get any further; let me give you some background information.  

As many people do, I have dealt with anxiety for years.  The worst of it was during college and shortly thereafter.  It’s getting easier to manage, as I get older, more confident and more aware of coping techniques that work for me.   Positive thinking, positive visualization, and controlled breathing are tools I use every day to do things that make me anxious, such as running ½ marathons in August, or any other challenging physical activity, traveling to far and new places like Asia, living in NYC, a big and intimating city, and speaking publicly. 

Not surprisingly, I was so anxious about giving this presentation.   It hit a tipping point on Tuesday night.  

Thoughts on Tuesday: I might pass out or throw up on stage, shake and sweat uncontrollably under the strong lights, plus there’s a good change I’ll forget the entire presentation and run away in embarrassment, and it’s almost guaranteed that I won’t represent myself or my company in the best light.

It was exhausting thinking that way and the next morning I made a conscience decision to only have positive, calming thoughts.  

Thoughts from Wednesday on: I’m not nervous, I’m excited. I can’t wait to share this information with the audience, I’m a rock star, I’ve presented well in the past and I can do it again, I’m smart and a great speaker, I’m going to nail this.

And, I nailed it. I felt like a rock star. Twenty years ago, it would have been worthy of a Cone Head sundae celebration and serious amounts of praise from parents.  Instead, afterwards, I went to BRGR, sat at the counter and read the encouraging texts sent from Jeff and my Dad.  It's nice to know that no matter how old you are, whether or not you fail or succeed, you have fans. Just remember, be your own fan first.

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