Ep #449: What To Do When You Are Nervous
Posted on November 24, 2022
When you’re about to put yourself out there, try something new, or open yourself up to failure and humiliation, you might feel nervous.
Nervousness isn’t a problem until you let it stop you from moving forward.
If you can get to a point where you are embracing feeling nervous, even seeking it out, you are going to have a much more amazing life.
Seriously. Looking for opportunities to feel nervous benefits not just you, but all of humanity.
In this episode, learn how to deal with feeling nervous and how to make your experience of it easier. Discover why this feeling isn’t a problem, but letting it stop you from putting yourself out there is.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast. It’s the truest shortcut to self development we have ever created!
What you will discover
- What happens when you avoid or resist nervousness.
- 2 things that occur when you are nervous.
- How to make your experience of nervousness easier.
- One of the most important tragedies in humanity right now.
- Why we need to seek opportunities for failure.
Featured on the show
- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program.
- Join The Life Coach School on social: Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | TikTok | Pinterest
- Follow my brand-new Instagram account @therealbrookecastillo
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 449.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello my beautiful friends. I am recording this in between two amazing events. I just finished Life Coach Live, which was a huge, amazing, exciting, awesome event. You know if you were there how magical it was. And I’m about to do Thanksgiving with all of my friends and family. We’re going to have about 16 people here.
So I’m sneaking this in, in between those two events, and I just wanted to talk a little bit about some of the things that came up during Life Coach Live, one of which was so many people asked me if I was nervous. And so I wanted to record this podcast on how I don’t get nervous and I don’t feel nervous, I feel great.
And I actually coached someone on stage about this, so I thought I could share some of the insights about that, in case you’re about to do something that makes you nervous, or you’re about to up-level your life and put yourself on stage, put yourself out there on social media, maybe put yourself out there on a Live or on a webinar maybe for the first time, and how to deal with feeling nervous.
Because if you can get over that and you can get to the point where you’re embracing feeling nervous and you don’t let nervous stop you from doing something, you’re going to have a much bigger, more exciting, amazing life.
So this year, I’ve done a lot of public speaking. I’ve done a lot of being on stages, sharing my insight about the Model and business with a lot of different groups of people. And what’s really interesting is when I go on a big stage, when there’s lots of people in the audience, people will ask me, “Oh my gosh, don’t you feel nervous?”
And I will tell you that I don’t really get nervous. I think one of the reasons is because I just have constant anxiety. I have chronic anxiety anyway, so I think it’s just like Tuesday, here we go, I’m so used to it. But I guess I would get more in my head when it’s an audience that I don’t know and they don’t know me, and we don’t know each other, and they don’t know my work.
And so I’m kind of having to introduce myself and bring them into my world, feels a little bit more nerve-racking than not doing that. But for me, a huge audience doesn’t do that as much. It excites me I think more than that.
So this year, I spoke on Funnel Hacking Live’s stage, which was 5000 people in-person, and Life Coach Live was really big too, but we had people virtual and in-person, which created a completely different dynamic.
And we had some of the other speakers that came and spoke on my stage at that event, and I asked them if they were nervous, and most every one of them said, “Yeah, but I’m used to it,” “Yeah, but I can handle it, “Yeah, but it’s not a big deal.”
And I think it’s important for many of you to know that most people do get nervous and they just do it anyway. And I had a woman come up from the stage. One of the ways that we were doing things at Life Coach Live is you could come in from the audience and come sit up on stage with me and I would coach you.
And a woman came up there and was talking about how nervous she was and how her heart was palpitating and about how she just could feel it all in her body. And I kind of talked her through the idea that when you resist nervousness, or you try to get rid of it, or you think there’s something wrong with you when you feel that, you actually make it worse.
You actually, by trying to pretend that you don’t have it, or push it away, or resist it, or ignore it, it makes it worse because you tighten up your breathing and you’re trying to brace yourself for all of that quickening that’s happening in your body. And that - when you take something that’s already happening quickly and you tighten it, it makes it go more quickly.
So the first thing that I want to offer you is when you feel that quickening within your body, when you feel what you would call nervousness or fear or anxiety happening because you’re about to go do something maybe that you’ve never done before, the key is to embrace it, to allow it, to create space for it, to actually, if you can, encourage it.
And I know it sounds totally counterintuitive, but I promise you, it’s very, very powerful. If you allow yourself to have authority over your emotion, which means you can increase it or also means that you can decrease it if you want to.
And as soon as you tap into it and you stop resisting it happening to you, and you embrace it, and then show yourself that you could actually increase it because you are the one creating it, something changes in your brain. You realize that you are actually mentally and cognitively in charge of your own sensations when it comes to creating nervousness.
Because nervousness comes from a reaction in your primitive brain. And there’s two things that I think happen, especially when we’re speaking on a stage or speaking in front of people or on a webinar, or even in social media is there’s the perspective that we get in our brain that we are separate from the group.
We are putting ourselves out there alone and there is a group that is literally separate from us. So if you think about being on a literal stage, you have isolated yourself from the group. And your primitive brain translates that into a real danger.
Now, there is no real danger. You’re not going to get eaten by an animal, you’re not going to be left behind, you’re not going to be separated and have no resources. But your primitive brain doesn’t understand that. Your primitive brain sees the separation and is trying to figure out why you’re not part of the group, why have you been isolated?
And when you understand that your brain is just having a thought error, it’s just confused, you can relax. Have you ever been walking somewhere and someone jumps out and scares you? And you have this moment of terror, but it only lasts a moment because right after that, you’re like, “Oh, I’m safe, oh, that was just pretend, oh, they were just messing around with me, that wasn’t actually real.”
So your brain had that experience for that moment. It was terrified for that one moment, but you just calmed yourself right back down again because you’re like, “Oh, that wasn’t real. That was just funny.” And you actually laugh about it.
That is the exact same thing you can tell your brain when it is panicking that something is about to kill you. Really, it’s just your kid jumping out from behind a wall. Really, it’s just a group of people that are actually wanting you to win. You aren’t actually separated from them at all. They are there to hear what you have to say. You can calm yourself down very quickly.
The second thing I’ll offer is that trying to make it go away, it being that nervousness, is not a good use of your energy. It’s not a good use of your time. It’s not a good use of your brain.
Just let it be there. This is part of the experience. I’m going to tremble a little bit, I’m going to have this experience for a little bit. And I noticed a lot this weekend where people would come up on the stage and they would be nervous, and they would say, “Oh, I’m so nervous.”
They would acknowledge their nervousness. And I actually think that when they’re acknowledging it to me, they have this moment of observation where they get a break from it. And this is really powerful. And you don’t necessarily want to do this if you’re a speaker on stage. You don’t want to go out there and be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so nervous.”
Maybe you do, it depends on your audience, but when you’re able to notice yourself being nervous, in that noticing, in that minute that you’ve pulled yourself out of actually experiencing it and you are now observing it, you are now the one observing it, you have given yourself a respite from it in the same way that you do for any emotion that you’re observing.
So you want to make sure that you give yourself a minute to observe yourself having an emotion. It gives you a breath in between those trembles. And you’re able to say, “Oh, this is nervousness, it’s not a big deal, it’s not going to hurt me, I don’t have to react to it, I can literally just embrace it. I can literally just create space for it and have it be here.”
So the second thing to remember, especially if you’re a coach and you’re putting yourself out there in the world, or if you are a teacher, or if you are a speaker, that it’s very easy to get caught up in it being about you and how you feel and what you’re doing and what they’re thinking about you.
And as soon as you get in your head about you, you are going to get even more nervous and more wrapped up in your own emotional energy, instead of focusing on your client, focusing on your audience, focusing on the people that you’re serving.
And if you can stay focused on the people that you’re serving and why you are there, it will make it so much easier for you. Because they don’t care that you’re nervous if you can help them. And they don’t care what’s going on for you in terms of you being worried about them judging you if you can help them.
They’re simply there for themselves. And I say this a lot, I’m like, “They don’t really actually care about you. They care about what you can do for them.” They’re not thinking that consciously, but that’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re there listening to you speak on a webinar, or that’s why they’re there on your social media, that is why they’re there at an event to listen to you talk because they’re hoping you can help them.
And if you show up to help them and focus on serving them in the highest way you can, then it’s okay that you’re nervous. You’re willing to do it nervous. There was someone at Life Coach Live that was talking about - she just kept saying, “Do it sweaty, do it anyway. Even if you’re sweaty, just keep doing it.”
I love that. I think it’s such an amazing way to think about it is it’s not about you. Don’t get so wrapped up in I’m so nervous, or I’m so sweaty, or I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m. Just start focusing on your client. What are you there to give them? What do they need from you? How can you focus on their life? And how can you make their life better? Giving them the information that they need to create whatever it is that you are there to serve them with.
So the first thing that I offered for nervousness is you just allow it to be there, you don’t resist it, you notice it, and you breathe into it and create space for it. The second thing is you remember that you are in front of an audience, you are there in that moment to step out of your comfort zone to serve your people, to help them, to love them, to give them what they need for them to have better lives. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
The third thing that I want to offer is that one of the ways that we will evolve as a human species is we will learn how to overcome our more primitive brains. As we learn how to overcome our more primitive brains, we will become more evolved. We will utilize our more advanced brains inside of our own heads to be able to create amazing creative solutions for the world.
One of the things that I offered at Life Coach Live is that every single one of us has extraordinary in us. Every single one of us has something to create and something to contribute for the evolution of human kind, in my opinion. I believe that one of the tragedies, one of the most important tragedies that we’re dealing with right now in humans is that they are underutilized.
We are not getting enough of the wisdom and the extraordinariness that can come from all of human beings because our mental health isn’t where it needs to be. We are blocking our contribution and our ingenuity because we are so caught up between two brains.
We are trying to accommodate for our primitive brain and we are stalling ourselves out with buffering, instead of accessing our highest level of contribution. I believe that if all humans can figure out their mental health, we will be able to access a higher level of intelligence and ingenuity that will solve all of the current human problems that we have created.
I want you to really think about that. If we are blocking access to our own intelligence, our own ingenuity, our own solutions, our own imaginative inventions that will solve the current problems of humanity because we can’t get a grip on our own mental health, think about what we could do when we do.
This is why I believe so much in life coaching. Because we can uncover all of these things that we’re dealing with in terms of the miserable maybe, where we’re living in these lives where we keep repeating all the same problems and all the same issues, and we keep struggling with all the same emotions, and we’re medicating ourselves so much that we can’t access what would be our contribution to the world.
But when we recognize something like nervousness is just an emotion that is created by a primitive brain that is misinformed, we can utilize the highest level of our brain and intelligence and motivation to overcome that and step into the next level of our own personal evolvement and ultimately, the next level of the human evolution.
It’s not just for you. I don’t believe your success is just for you. I believe your success is for you, for the example that you’ll create for the world, and for the contribution and value you will create for the world. So I say all of this to give you an incentive to overcome your misguided emotion and nervousness is just misguided.
It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it. It just thinks that there’s an actual danger when there isn’t an actual danger. So this leads me into my next point which is I think we should seek failure. I think we should seek opportunities to fail.
We should literally seek opportunities where we could be humiliated, we could fail terribly in front of other people. And if we pursue these dreams, we pursue these ideas that the worst that could happen if we make a mistake on stage, or we have writer’s block, or we have speaker’s block, and we don’t know what to say, or we get too nervous that we can’t do it, that getting over that emotion, overcoming that nervousness, overcoming that failure is part of the work that we all need to do for our own personal and collective evolution.
So that is to say that I want to encourage you to sign up for things that make you incredibly nervous. Even if that means you have a post-traumatic response afterwards, being able to overcome that and then do it again and again and again and again is what is required for you to overcome that primitive brain that thinks you’re about to die every time you post something on the internet.
You have to show your brain that you did not die and that you’re actually fine and that you can do it again and again and again and again. And then eventually, you get to the point where you can go up on stage and you can serve your community, you can serve your people, and you literally just won’t feel nervous because your job will feel too big and you’ll feel like what you have to offer is too important and you won’t want to be holding back because of your own limitations what could be serving or helping someone else in their life.
Your ability to seek and overcome negative emotion is one of your assignments to stronger mental health. Poor mental health comes from an avoidance of anything that would create negative emotion and a lack of awareness of where negative emotion comes from.
And when we avoid life, literally, because we want to avoid any kind of nervousness or fear or trepidation, we miss out on the opportunity to learn the skill of how to feel emotion. I do not think there is a more important skill for us to develop our own personal confidence.
Developing personal confidence I think is a responsibility that all of us have because without confidence, we’re not going to be able to share what we have within us. We’re not even going to be able to discover what we have within us because we will constantly be hiding from ourselves, from our brains, from other people, and from the people that we are meant to serve.
But when you get to the point where you know how to experience emotion and you are no longer afraid of experiencing negative emotion, you will put yourself out there more. You will seek failure more. You will put yourself on more stages. You will put yourself on more posts. You’ll put yourself on more webinars, you’ll tell more people, you’ll show up bigger in the world.
And when you do that, we all benefit. We all get to see more of what is available from other human beings. And as we collaborate and as we share our extraordinariness and as we get over our negative emotion, we create literally a better world where we can really cooperate and collaborate to make everything go to the next level.
And that’s not to say that life won’t be 50:50 because as we solve current problems, we’re going to create new ones. But that is part of the process. If we try to have everything be great all of the time, and if we try to be happy all of the time, and we try to get to the point where we solve the problems of the world, we are missing the point of what it means to be a human being.
What it means to be a human being is to experience this world as complete polarity, which is positive and negative, to experience ourselves as positive and negative. Not to pretend like the negative isn’t there, not to get afraid of it and hide from it, but to embrace it and move towards it.
So ask yourself right now, what is the worst part of being nervous for you? And is it worth the best part of what you have to offer? And if the answer is yes, you want to show up in your life and invite things into your life that “make you nervous.”
Where you have a physical sensation that doesn’t seem to be created by your brain, although I promise you it is, because you are in an environment where you think you’re isolated and separated from the world. Any leader is going to feel this way.
Anyone who has pulled themselves out of the group in order to offer something of value, in order to lead that group, even if it’s just for a few minutes, even if it’s just to volunteer an idea, even if it’s just to come on stage and share your experience and to get coached in the hope that it will help someone else, you are going to possibly feel nervous because your primitive brain will think something has gone terribly wrong and that you’re in danger.
And what I want to offer you is an amen to that. Let’s do more of it. Let’s be more nervous on purpose. And the next time you find yourself with your heart quickening and you feel a little sweaty, or you feel like there’s a little bit of palpitation, just say yes, I’m living amazing, big, awesome life, I’m putting myself in harm’s way on purpose, willing to feel all the experiences that are available to me as a human being, including being nervous.
For those of you at this moment, maybe you’re listening to this because you have some big event coming up, or maybe you’re listening to this because you’re going on a big date, or maybe you’re listening to this because you’re going to have a confronting conversation with someone.
I honor you and I respect you, and I say embrace the nervousness and do it sweaty and make it happen for yourself. Keep moving forward. There is nothing that nervousness can do to hurt you as long as you don’t hold yourself back because of it.
Have a beautiful week everyone, have a wonderful Thanksgiving for those of you celebrating, and I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care.
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