Use your nerves for good and not evil.

Sometimes our nerves hold us back from moving forward.  In fact, we become so paralyzed by them that having those conversations, or giving the feedback, grips us and traps us in inaction.  This is when nerves are not good.  We are not taking a hold of them.  They are holding us.  But nerves can be used for good.  It’s up to us.

I have taught and mentored over a thousand leaders and people on how to have the tough conversations. There are some common reasons why people stay stuck in their nerves and anxiety.  The most common reasons are;

  • Worried about managing the reactions, the other person’s and their own
  • Concerned it will become an outbreak not outcome
  • Stressed that they will damage the relationship
  • Nervous that nothing will change

Whilst these are valid concerns they can become our excuse not to push forward and stay stuck.  Then they are right.  Nothing will change.

Becoming trapped by your nerves is an internal tornado you want to avoid.  It will eat you up and spit you out.  In fact, most of the things we worry about don’t come to pass. Check out my blog about ruminating all over yourself.

So how can nerves be good?

Nerves mean you care. 

Your emotionally connected and concerned about the outcome, person or issue.

Nerves help you improve. 

They can drive us to greater preparation that leads to better performance.

Nerves can mean you are doing good. 

Chances are when we are nervous we are embarking on something important.  We get nervous because we want it to be impressive and have an impact.

So how do we overcome them? 

  • Breathe deeply, really. It’s the one thing that calms your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Be prepared. There is no doubt that the more prepared you are with facts, evidence and other comments to cement trust and respect, the better the outcome will be.
  • Remove the ‘Board of Directors’ that live in your head. These are the unhealthy thinking patterns that take us away from seeing the real truth.
  • Practice mindfulness. Google it.  The more you practice this, then easier life is to navigate and the less stress and anxiety you have.
  • Just ‘fess up’. Tell them you are nervous.  This works nearly all the time.  People are generally supportive when someone is uncomfortable. Then you don’t have to try and act calm and confident.  Be who you are.

The good news is, if you are willing to try, there are solutions.  Which then turn into outcomes that lead to better performance and relationships.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum summed it up well when he said; ‘there are four ingredients in true leadership; brains, soul, heart and good nerves’.

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