This weekend, after finishing my workout, I was lost in my thoughts and reflections and I walked out of the gym little realizing, that I had forgotten my workout clothes at the gym. I go to the gym and yoga daily and this was the first time I had forgotten my gym gear. I was bothered on two counts, 1) how could I forget, when I had not forgotten to date and 2) I had picked up a new workout gear and that was the first day I had tried it out and thus didn’t want to lose it. I must have in my mind played several times about how could I forget?
I had to break out of this guilt feeling and from my inner critique trying to put me down. I decided to take a step back and asked myself what is the worst that could happen ?
In the process of stepping out of my critical self, I realized there is a first time for everything – exciting things and experiences that you learn lessons from.
There is a First time:
In our new job
To fall in love
To be a boss
To be a speaker
To lose our phone
To forget an important birthday and the list continues
My first time to forget something in the gym is part of this list as well.
The first time for everything is filled with various emotions of excitement, fear, disappointment, self-criticism, hope.
Your fear possibly comes from the fear of loss, or failure or doing something wrong and thinking about what impression you would make on somebody in that first time. The stress caused by over thinking and over analyzing the situation is not worth it. It is like adding fuel to the fire. [Tweet “#Worrying about the situation is not going to help you achieve the desired outcome of the situation. #fear]
What are some of the steps you can take ?
1. Stop worrying
You are not going to do something better because you worry and stress about it. Anxiety to some extent is good because it will help you do better. However, over stress and nervousness is not an impetus to better your performance. I was worrying about forgetting something and possibly losing it. The stress that I put myself through is not going to help me bring back the thing nor stop me from forgetting something else next time.
2. Perfection or build towards excellence
When we are engaged in doing something for the first time, we want to attain perfection. However, perfection is a myth that is in our own minds.
I was delivering a workshop on Executive Presence last week and I heard from one of the participants as to how stressed she was because she was making a presentation for the first time in front of a senior group of executives within her firm. A conversation with her revealed that the stress that she put herself through to be perfect didn’t help her and in fact the audience members were not in any way assessing her or being demanding. She had let herself imagine about situations which didn’t exist.
We learn from our mistakes and be it driving for the first time or making a presentation, stressing about perfection is not going to make us deliver the results we seek.
We make first impressions of others within the first 5-10 seconds of noticing someone. No matter what you do, first impression is already formed. If you focus on what others are going to think of you, your focus will be diverted from what you want to deliver and the end result may be something far from your expectation and in turn may also give adequate ammunition for others to form a bad impression on you.
Stop thinking of what others will think of you.
4.Do first things often because it allows you to challenge yourself
We get into cruise control and in our comfort zone. If you stay too long within your comfort zone, you get complacent and deny yourself the ability to grow and move towards excellence. Try new things often so that you don’t forget what it is to feel uncomfortable, and in that process to learn, challenge yourself, grow and build your Executive Presence.
5.Plan and prepare
Plan and prepare whether you are doing something for the first time or not.
Planning and preparation is essential and don’t make the mistake of over doing it, because that may not allow you to be present in the moment to deal with what happens then.
6. Reflect and learn
Reflecting on what went well, what did I learn, what could I have done different helps me to move forward. When things don’t go as per your expectation, you may tend to focus on what you did wrong and on the negatives. I blamed myself for having forgotten my gym gear, and that negativity didn’t help me to focus on things that followed after I left the gym. When I focused on what I learnt from that experience, my mindset changed and I was able to focus on the tasks that I was doing thereafter.
One of my yoga instructors in her class mentions and I quote “your body can take on this challenge and do it, your mind believes you can’t do. Focus on your breathing and believe you can do it”. When I go with the flow, and not allow my mind to wander, I am able to achieve what needs to be done and this is true in yoga, work and life.
When we fear about what the end may look like be it on a new job, new task, presentation, forgetting something we lose focus on the now. Focus on the journey and not the end, to deliver the results you want.
By allowing our mind to control us, we constantly live in conjectures. Letting go is difficult and yet when done achieves results you seek.
I got my gym gear back and I learnt that worry was unnecessary and that I need to let go more often. I also learnt that I do know how to let go though my mind may make me believe that it is not easy.
Life is an unknown path and we tend to underestimate her. Certainty is good and life is not a certain path, so one way to enjoy life is to go with the flow and let yourself be. Every day is a different day and life is not a mathematics formula.
How do you deal with doing things the first time?
What have you learnt from your first time experiences?
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