How much could our performance improve if we could change the way we see our stress response? According to Wray Herbert, “valuing” the stress response (like nervousness, sweating, or heightened heart rate just before a speech) can peak performance. So rather than fighting those butterflies, or rationalizing them (which is what I tend to do), remind yourself that these physical responses are actually going to help you be more alert, think quicker on your feet, and be more engaging to your audience (be it 1 or 1000).
That leads me to the fact that many of us resist being uncomfortable. It may not be about a one time speech, but rather, stretching ourselves in a way we haven’t tried before. I suggest that we can use Wray Herbert’s idea to help us push outside our comfort zone and be the change we want to see in the world (as Mahatma Gandhi said). Reminding ourselves that being nervous and uncomfortable will motivate us to master a topic/skill, improve our mental cognition, and demonstrate the confidence and faith we have within ourselves, can be a useful tool for professional development. And moving past this discomfort is what makes change happen. Both within ourselves and in our place in the world.
Can wanting to become comfortable, and wanting to move out of being uncomfortable, make us ultimately more capable? I say, yes!
- Having Heart: Can We Rethink Life’s Stresses? (psychologicalscience.org)
- STRESS 101 – What’s Going On In My Body (And Why Should I Care?) (awakenedlives.com)