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November 6, 2015
A Two-Word Response To Pressure
 
I was on the phone with a client from Atlanta, and we started talking about that word I don’t like hearing very often: “nervousness.” I’ve already been over my views of eradicating that word from the dictionary altogether and replacing it with the word “anxiousness.” Yet, it seems that the word keeps coming up in conversation, so let’s go deeper here.

Think about the last big job interview you had, or the last big presentation you delivered, or that recent big client appointment you went on, or that important meeting you conducted. What if I told you that there are two words that are the secret to conquering your anxiousness in these situations?

You want proof? My kids could tell you these two words because they’ve heard me say them on many high-stress occasions. All three of my children have completely conquered their anxiety when acting or speaking in public. They not only excel at it, but they look forward to these types of pressure opportunities. These two words have helped them get there, and will continue to lead them to even greater success.

My wife, Ronni, has heard these words too. Ronni was a person who was deathly afraid to give a presentation in public. Now she excels at it, and looks forward to it as well. Two words allow her to continue to excel.

When I consult with clients, it’s one of their first concerns: “If I can remain calm, and conquer this anxiety, I think I’ll do well.  How do you remain calm under pressure?” The two words are… “Track record.”

Not every moment of our lives reflects a track record of success, but there are plenty to draw from. When you can ask yourself, “What usually happens when I’m in a situation like this?” and the answer is “Good things,” you have a lot less to be anxious about. The anxiety dissipates, and you’re able to focus on the task at hand, whether it is an interview, or a presentation, or a client appointment, or a meeting. 

If you listen to professional athletes, they’ll often tell you how they visualize getting a hit before they swing the bat, or making a basket before they release a shot. They don’t get a hit every time they swing, or sink a basket every time they shoot the ball, but their mind is focused on the times they have in the past. That’s their track record.

When I clip on a microphone and step on a stage, I’m anxious just like you. You’d think that I wouldn’t be, after almost thirty years of doing this, but I am. As a matter of fact, I hope I am, because I plan on channeling that anxiety into energy. If I’m not anxious, I do have something to worry about, because then I run the risk of being flat.

It’s easy to throw out trite statements like, “I plan on channeling that anxiety into energy.” However, I can assure you that it is exactly what I plan on doing because I will not be distracted with thoughts of failure or uncertainty. Instead, I’m focused, or should I say comforted, with thoughts of success — previous successes, and that’s what we call a track record.

Enough about me: You’ve had the exact same feelings that I have! Remember your last success — the one where all your hard work paid off, and you thought, “I’m really good at this!” If you were to repeat that same task the next day, you would have a high level of confidence because you would be basking in your… you guessed it… your track record. Time passes, and we all can get amnesia. We just need to be reminded of our track record from time to time, that’s all. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it does guarantee that your anxiety will be reduced, if not eliminated, and that makes the task at hand a whole lot easier.

Each time you have success, that track record builds, and so does the byproduct that goes along with it: confidence. The next time you feel a couple of butterflies building up in your belly, make the words “Track record” your silent mantra, and I can promise it will work for you!

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A sought-after speaker and best-selling author, Rob Jolles teaches, entertains, and inspires audiences worldwide. Through his seminars and biweekly BLArticle®, Rob draws on more than thirty years of experience to teach a variety of lessons in business and life. His keynotes and workshops have carried him over 2.5 million miles, including to companies in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Far East.
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