The Wall Street Journal recently posted this article titled Use Stress to Your Advantage.
Imagine that you work for an organization with hundreds of employees and you’re about to give a presentation to the entire group. The CEO and all the board members are in the audience. You’ve been anxious about this talk all week, and now your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your mouth feels dry.
What is the best thing to do in this moment? Should you try to calm down or try to feel excited?
When Harvard Business School professor Alison Wood Brooks asked hundreds of people this question, the responses were nearly unanimous: 91% thought that the best advice was to try to calm down. But is it true?
The thesis of the article is that we actually perform better when we embrace and leverage our stress, rather than squashing or ignoring it.
Anecdotally, from my personal experience, I totally agree with this.
The next time you feel stress or anxiety, try to step back and examine yourself with a dispassionate neutrality. What is really happening?
You may feel your blood coursing, your breathing may not be steady, your chest may be tight. You have all of this internal energy.
Instead of feeling helpless or letting that energy engulf us, we can choose to embrace all of that inner energy and leverage it to our advantage.
Next time you feel your nerves, step back and see yourself for what you are - a human with an opportunity to harness those feelings however you see fit. Then get excited, give yourself an internal pep talk, and GO!