When I first started this blog, I had a mild panic every time I hit the publish button. Will this be the time that I embarrass myself and offend all of my followers?
As time progressed, I learnt to take a deep breath, adjust how I was being, and hit send. I accept that not everyone will like my blog posts. I also accept that my reflections will never have a chance of helping anyone if I don’t post them. Now when I hit the publish button, I feel at peace, without fear and anxiety.
Recently, when I started to think that it was time to look at producing video content for my leadership blog, that all-too-familiar feeling returned. It was the feeling of grasshoppers in the bottom of my stomach, tightness in the chest and shoulders, and sunken shoulders and torso. Hello, anxiety.
I was curious. I had been putting my thoughts out on the internet for people to read for months. Why did I suddenly feel anxious about producing some short videos for my blogs?
As I listened to the stories that I was telling myself, I realised that blogging feels to me as though there is a level of anonymity. On my blog, I have really only exposed my thoughts and feelings. People don’t necessarily know who belongs to those thoughts and feelings.
Publishing a video felt as though I was handing over everything about me for others to judge. All of a sudden, there would be a face, a voice, and a way of being to associate with my thoughts and words. My speaking and video efforts would be on display for everyone to judge. This felt like the ultimate in putting myself out there electronically.
The Deanne who started this journey 4.5 years ago would have become overwhelmed by the anxiety and given up. The Deanne who started this blog 8-10 months ago would have found reasons to put off producing video content for an undefined amount of time (and did!). The Deanne of today paused, welcomed the anxiety, and then started to work on a plan.
I assessed that the story I was telling myself was that by creating video content, I was opening myself up to judgement. This seemed odd when I thought about it, because the thoughts and opinions that I would be sharing via video would be no different to the thoughts and opinions that I was sharing on my blog. There must be something else behind this story.
So, what was really concerning me?
I generally feel as though I have to be very well prepared to speak in public. I can write prolifically because I have time to ponder and perfect my thoughts. Public speaking however, feels as though it requires hours of planning. It was then that I realised: Producing a video was, to me, public speaking.
That was my ah-ha moment.
I am passionate about finding ways of managing the challenges of daily life. If I was talking to a friend, a colleague, or even a complete stranger about my latest reflections on dealing with life, it would probably be difficult for me to stop talking, because my passion would have me becoming caught up in the reflection and the conversation. What if, rather than thinking of a video as public speaking, I treated the video camera like a friend or a colleague and had a conversation with it? My body felt peaceful as I visualised this.
Feeling comfortable with these new stories, I then looked at my emotional space. I chose to operate from curiosity and wonder for my first video, and I spent some time thinking about the body that would assist me in being in this emotional space.
When I was ready, I set off to record my first video. I gave myself permission to have as many takes as possible. I also promised to be kind to myself if the video was not usable, and I told myself that it was ok for the end product to not be perfect.
The video was a short one. It took a number of takes. It wasn’t perfect, and there are a couple of errors that I still cringe at. However, I decided to embrace the imperfections and publish it (see below). This wasn’t about being perfect. This was about overcoming a hurdle that had prevented me from creating video content for nearly 12 months, and embracing my efforts.
And that felt rather awesome.
Points to Ponder…
- What would you like to do that you have been putting off?
- How might changing the stories that you have attached to that situation help you?
- What emotional spaces might help?
- What body posture would be helpful?
As a leadership and life coach, I am available for coaching and facilitation, either locally in Canberra or remotely as appropriate. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.