Life on hold.
Ok, it's official. The summer is basically over, time to dust off the sand, find our work clothes and get back into the game.
This summer, I spent quite a lot of time not being content with my current situations and waiting for the next phase when things were supposed to be better. I had hoped for relaxing holidays, but being the mom of an almost-two-year-old makes the word "holiday" change it's meaning. Everything felt exhausting.
So I found myself complaining a lot and waiting for: when the holidays start - when my husband and stepkids are there - when my husband and stepkids are away - when I am with my son - when I am without my son - when I have time for my friends - when I am in Vienna - in Provence - back in Brussels - when when when.
"When" never came.
It also got me thinking that this is - of course in a more extreme way, but still - exactly what I do when I have public speaking gigs or singing performances. I endure life during the time leading up to the gig and dream about when it will all be over. I dream about walking down the street, without the pressure. I watch other people going about their days, thinking that they don't know how lucky they are that they don't have this presentation coming up. I dream about having time to relax again.
I guess to a certain extent this is normal. It's how we felt at school and/or university as well. Life was on hold until the time after our exams. But what about now? We are adults, we have passed our exams. We've gotten our degrees and they have helped us get our jobs. Now when these jobs entail giving presentations , they have the power to make us feel like schoolkids all over again.
What could we do to break this cycle? The thing is, I have the nagging feeling that if I didn't put my life on hold, I might actually be more in the moment, feel more relaxed and accepting of my fate and actually allow myself to have fun stepping in front of my audience.
So what could I/we do to not put our lives on hold, but stay in the moment even though it is tough?
1) Plan ahead. I'm a huge fan of planning and it fits here as well. Plan out not just your presentation, but also the preparation of your presentation. Start with the goal and then write down what steps you need to take in order to get there.
2) Plan time to consciously relax. Now that I have given you the task to plan relax-time, you cannot feel guilty about it. It is a part of good public speaking preparation! So there :)
3) Own it. I think a big part of the reason we put our lives on hold is that we don't want to accept that this is PART of who we are. We are not this person owning a room, demanding attention, putting ourselves up for critique. We want to be the nice one in the back who everybody likes. Start seeing yourself as exactly this confident person who is putting herself or himself out there.
4) See it as a game. Or a challenge. In German you say "nimm's sportlich!", which translates to "see it as a competition", but less intentional. It means that you don't have to take it so seriously. See it as a game. If you see it as a game, it might actually become fun!
5) Allow yourself to grow. With each challenge that we face, we grow. We come out a little bit wiser and taller. If you put your life on hold, you cannot be fully present for your lesson. You go back to square one after it is done. If you accept that this is part of who you are becoming, you will grow.
Phew..... I didn't see that coming!! There are quite a few lessons in this post for me as well.
What do you think? Are these tips helpful? Do they resonate with you? Or am I the only one putting her life on hold ;)
I wish you a great back-to-school, back-to-work time!