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  • Writer's pictureGoran Yerkovich

How To Shift Your Narrative: Are you Feeling Nervous or Excited?

Updated: Apr 6, 2020


Are you feeling nervous OR excited today? How you just answered that question might be the difference from the outcome you're hoping for verses one that is, well, utterly catastrophic.

If there's an upcoming big event or task to complete, a meeting that must go just right, or a presentation where everything seems on the line, most of us might instantly answer the question above with one quick response - "I'm definitely feeling nervous."

BUT, as innocent and innocuous as it may seem, that instantaneous negative response of 'feeling nervous' is one that most certainly won't help us reach our goals. And it may also hinder us from much more.

Learning to understand how our body reacts to different situations will greatly change the way we all deal with heart pounding moments. And don't take my word for it - ask your local Olympic Athlete.

In a recent video by Simon Sinek, he noted that reporters at the London Olympics kept asking the athletes the same stupid question. Either before or after an event, the reporters would walk up and say to the athlete "Do you feel nervous?" And every time the athlete would give the same response, "No - I feel excited."

Over and over again this would happen, with the reporters completely missing the point of what was really going on. The reporters were actually feeling nervous, while the highly mentally trained athletes were feeling EXCITED.

How does this work, and what does it mean? Well, Simon says:

"Your body responds to nerves and excitement THE SAME WAY. But you can learn to INTERPRET it differently. Train your mind to perform under pressure by shifting your narrative."


HOW TO SHIFT YOUR NARRATIVE - Nervous vs Excited:

In other words, we can actually TRAIN our minds to STOP feeling NERVOUS.

Here's what's happening when we say we feel "nervous:"

1. Negative Thinking: Known Tasks i.e. Meeting, Presentation or Competition:

Mental Response: I'm afraid of the many potential negative outcomes of this future event.

Physical response: Hands and armpits get sweaty. Heart races, blood is pumping.

2. Negative Thinking: UnKnown Event i.e. Airplane Turbulence, Unexpected Family Visit!

Mental Response: I'm afraid of the many potential negative outcomes of this future event.

Physical response: Hands and armpits get sweaty. Heart races, blood is pumping.

Instead switch to this 1 Winning Rule:


3. Positive Thinking: Known Tasks i.e. Meeting, Presentation or Competition:

Mental Response Rule: Say instead that I'm excited of the many potential positive outcomes of this future event.

Physical response: Hands and armpits get sweaty. Heart races, blood is pumping.

Bonus TIP: Planning and execution makes perfect.

4. Positive Thinking: UnKnown Event i.e. Airplane Turbulence, Unexpected Family Visit!

Mental Response Rule: Say instead I'm excited of the potential positive outcomes of this future event.

Physical response: Hands and armpits get sweaty. Heart races, blood is pumping.

Bonus TIP: We may not be able to predict the future, but we can play out scenarios before they happen, and ask ourselves how we SHOULD react to them.

See what's happening here? We may not be able to control the uncontrollable physical response created by our body, but mentally we have the ability to re-engineer our mental response, and plan for the future better, which may lead to a better outcome.

So, instead of worrying about a negative outcome, switch to a positive outlook, think to yourself "I'm excited about what's about to happen."

And do a little bit of mental planning along the way. This approach is a valuable mental toolkit we can all practice when a potentially stressful situation approaches.

START WITH "WHY" THEN TELL YOURSELF YOU FEEL "EXCITED!"

The next time you feel NERVOUS, ask yourself this question - WHY? If you haven't prepared properly FOR A KNOWN EVENT, then you'll know what to change the next time that gold medal comes calling.


And if it's due to an unexpected family visit. Well, it IS family after all, so make the best of it! I'm sure they'll be gone before you know it.

Now, here's the video from Simon Sinek. It's just a little over two mins in length:


And remember, in life it's all about how we respond to situations around us, never the situation itself.

Thanks again for reading. Don't forget to SHARE this story with friends!

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