Do you remember what happened to your body the last time you got nervous? Like really, really nervous? Maybe you were about to skydive. Maybe you were about to give a speech. (Not-so-subtle messaging; Hire Megan!) Either way, your heart rate increased, you started sweating, your mouth went dry, you lost the ability to listen, and you may have experienced an overall “blacking out” sensation. Yikes. You were a hot mess! Now think of a time you were excited. Like really, really excited. Maybe you won the jackpot. Maybe you got a dozen free donuts. Either way, your heart rate increased, you started sweating, your mouth went dry, you lost the ability to listen and you may have experienced an overall “blacking out” sensation.
Wait, what?! Megan, typo alert! You copy and pasted the exact same sentence about physical response to nerves and excitement.
YES – I DID IT ON PURPOSE!
Your body experiences nervousness and excitement the exact same way. But excitement seems to feel so much better to our brains than nervousness. Why is that? Because we’re usually happy about whatever is making us excited, and, conversely, dreading whatevert is making us nervous.
I coach all my clients to reframe nerves as excitement. I ask them to please banish the word “nervous” from their vocabulary when it comes to talking about their upcoming engagements. “From this point on, you are not nervous. You are excited!”
I know it sounds like hogwash. But I promise the brain can be tricked. It does take work. But recognize this: what we tell ourselves is what our brain believes. If our inner voice is on repeat saying how nervous we are, and our body is showing physical symptoms of being nervous, the brain will 100% believe we are nervous. But, if our inner voice (and outer voice) constantly repeats how excited we are to speak at X event, and our body shows signs of excitement, our brain will 100% believe it.
Your speaking performance will be astronomically better if your brain believes you’re excited about it.
So stop saying you’re nervous RIGHT NOW.
We can talk about other tricks to deal with physiological symptoms of “excitement” later. But, first, start with your brain.