It was a Monday morning and I felt stressed. I was due for an important meeting and felt nervous.
“Would I make a good impression? Would they like me? Was I…enough?“
Agh. Here is a handful of situations when you and I may resort to feeling the pressure of making a good impression…
- When starting a new job – it might feel as if we need to validate the interviewer’s choice for picking us
- When flirting and instead of being relaxed all we can think about is how the other person perceives us…
- When meeting “important” people – from parents-in-law to business collaborators
- When meeting old friends – think high-school reunion
- When setting our own path, feel insecure for our choice, and look for other people to validate our decision…For example, if you want to lose weight, but believe you can’t do it, then you will expect validation from other…
My experience has taught me that feeling like you need to prove yourself can lead to a handful of (unwanted) situations:
- Feeling sleazy
- Coming out as needy
- Coming out as weak
- Possible boyfriend/girlfriend/business collaborator/client/friend, etc. turning us down or acting uninterested
- Feeling frustrated and disappointed with ourselves once the “stressful” situation is over.
- Sabotaging yourself: In the weight example, every time you see the scale not changing, you will feel as if it’s the end of the world. The more you feel like that, the more likely you are to eat unhealthy, and ultimately….quit.
- In other words, if you feel needy then you are definitely not going to get what you want.
Now don’t misunderstand me. You can be a little nervous before an important event and that’s totally fine – it even adds a little bit of spice to our lives.
However, there is a BIG difference between healthy nervousness and neediness…
Neediness…adds a great burden on our shoulders. Feeling we are not enough and that we have to TRY to make things work is extremely demotivating and discouraging.
Ultimately…if it feels wrong, then it IS going wrong.
So the question is, how can we make it feel right? How can we not come across as needy, weak, or sleazy?
What most of us try to do: We try to go from feeling stressed to being relaxed. We try to jump from NOT believing in ourselves, to being our best supporters. So here is how it looks like:
“Don’t say that, act normal, take a deep breath, you can do this, you don’t need to stress, maybe do something else and the stress will go away, come on…”
Here is the problem: It doesn’t work.
This approach never works because actually believing in ourselves, actually believing we are good enough is way too far from our current standpoint. Maybe in the morning, just after we woke up, believing in ourselves was close. But now, in our place of stress, feeling confident is way too far away. It’s unreachable.
To make matters worse, the more you try to be confident, the worse it feels and the worse YOU feel.
I have tried this approach countless times, and it has NEVER worked. I have tried to reason with myself, distract me by focusing on other things, jumping immediately into action with the hope it will go away, yet, the stress remains.
Yet, I have found an approach that works. This new approach helps me get myself up…fast. It provides relief from this burden almost instantly.
And that’s exactly what I want to share with you today.
Introducing the “What if” technique: The guaranteed method to take the pressure off yourself instantly
Instead of trying to get yourself to feel confident, try doubting the beliefs that cause you to feel stressed in the first place. Ask “what if.”
- “What if I didn’t need to impress anyone?”
- “What if I didn’t need to prove myself?”
- “What if I didn’t need to adjust myself to other people’s expectations?”
- “What if people like the way I actually am more than the way I think I should be?”
- “What if I can just chill out and enjoy myself?”
- “What if it’s safe for me to just chill out and enjoy myself?”
- “What if what I do is my business and nobody else’s?”
- “What if I can just strike a casual conversation that has nothing to do with what I now see as my “end-goal”?
- “What if my “end-goal” did not exist in the first place?”
Now, honestly, don’t you feel an immediate relief, just thinking that is might be possible that your assumptions about what you should do or be might not be true?
Awesome, that’s exactly what we were going after…relief. Now the more you think “what if” the better you will feel.
What if, what if, what if….The more “what ifs” you ask, the more the pressure dissolves and you can go back to being…authentic again.
And the more you go back to authenticity, the more you:
- Impress others
- Assure others that they made the right choice for choosing you (by either hiring you, or even spending their time talking with you)
- Attract others to your cause
- Radiate with confidence
- Show the people around that they don’t need them to tell you what to do
- Create new business partnerships, get new dates or new clients!
- Make more friends
- And finally…the more you enjoy yourself and have fun!
So next time you feel you have to “act in a certain way”, or “prove yourself”… The next time you feel the pressure of having to act in a way that you are not, ask yourself…”What if” – the results may surprise you!
Photo Credit: PatrickLim1996