Those pesky nervous butterflies come at us just when we have gotten the courage to try something new. Do you know the ones I am talking about? As if trying something different, new, or stretching isn’t hard enough to overcome the mental hurdle-those butterflies then show up! I have come to learn that those butterflies that get in our nervous system is our bodies way of warning us. It’s saying, “Hey, we haven’t done this a lot. I’m not sure how it’s going to go, so I can’t warn you in all the feels and triggers yet”. They make you more alert. It can be helpful to be aware of the nervous feelings emerging, but I have also learned a few tricks of how to deal with the nerves that come with trying something new.
In this post, we are going to dive into 5 things I have learned over the years from leading an art studio, stepping into leadership, and having the courage to try something new or grow in something that makes you uncomfortable. These tips might sounds basic, and I hope they do. Don’t think too much and over analyze as the butterflies come. Just prepare and act. You can do this. Let’s dive in…
For me, going on camera is still something that is stretching.
I’m not sure exactly why. I have been doing marketing, teaching, and brand vision casting for years in videos. I’m not super self conscious by how I look, yet I get those pesky butterflies every time it’s ‘go time’. For me, I think it is that there isn’t any audience to really read in the video setting. I love to teach. I love to connect with people. When you are doing a video, it’s just you talking to a camera. There is no audience to read to know if they are tracking with you. There is no head nodding, staring off, or encouraging words immediately after to know if what you did was right and you hit the gauge of the assignment.
As much as I don’t like the nervous feelings going live on video, I know it’s part of my job and I have gotten better at it. I have learned to picture the audience on the other side in my mind. Maybe you can relate to being nervous for videos? Or maybe for you it is simply picking up the phone and calling someone? Having to do an interview or conduct a presentation are all things that can bring the butterflies your way as well.
I recently went live to teach an art workshop online, and was reminded that although I’m not super comfortable with it, the nervousness no longer controls me.
I sleep fine the night before. There is more excitement than stress. I am able to be present in the situation so I can think on the spot, remember it, and be present to feel the wander of it. For me, I see/feel growth and there’s tricks that helped me get there. Let me share these with you on what to do with your nerves, so you too can tell your body that you are ok and prepare mentally and physically to do a stretching thing.
1. Wear clothes that are you.
In our excitement or maybe even in our attempt to prepare, we may buy something new to wear for the occasion. It can be looked at as we are thinking ahead and want to be ready for the part for this new, stretching activity. My advice is wear something you already own. Our bodies hold memories. If you can wear that favorite hoodie, pair of jeans, or flip flops, do it. If the occasion calls for something fancier and you have to buy something new, buy something you know you will wear again. Make sure it is something when your friends see you in it, they think you either already owned it or it just screams that it is you.
If you are able to be comfortable in your clothes, you will feel the most like you. That is the goal. For you to be present in the situation and activity, we want you to be YOU. So, go ahead and give yourself a win from the beginning by wearing something that is you.
2. Eat before the event.
Often we have those nervous feelings, we don’t want to eat. What I have come to find is we still NEED to eat something. Try to eat the meal before your event or at least eat some kind of healthy snack. Be smart about what you eat. Maybe a sugary donut is not the thing to eat, but try eating something like a banana, egg, granola bar or cheese stick. These are a few things that are my go to items to grab.
It’s helpful to have something in your stomach, so you don’t begin to feel sick or have only caffeine in your body and get the shakes. Remember food is fuel and your body needs fuel to keep going, especially at a time when it is working in overdrive with extra feelings and fears at bay.
3. Don’t try something new for the event.
Buying new high heals for the event, is not the time to practice walking and standing in high heels, if that isn’t something you already do. Trying a new hair do or a new makeup technique is not ideal either. Be yourself and do what you know. If you do things you are already comfortable at, even when your body might begin to get locked up you wont have a freeze moment. Your body will kick in and do what it always does.
For example, I love to teach about the creative process. When on video and teaching live, I teach the project or tips I know that helped me create the sample craft. I might experiment a little with the supplies, but only as it applies to the project. Breaking out a circuit, stencil machine for the first time, while teaching on a live video would not be smart. So, in this new lesson, I will show how to cut a heart the good-old fashion way that I know. Do what your body has done lots of times.
4. Arrive Early for it.
Give yourself the gift of time. Wake up a little earlier if need be, but definitely get to the event early. You don’t need any extra stress of walking in at go time and having to quickly switch gears. Allow yourself to get there early, walk around, use the restroom, get accustomed to the space, and be alert to any thing that might have changed in your planning.
5. Be yourself.
This last tip is my favorite. Be yourself. I’m quirky. With my dyslexia, I mess my words up a lot. I think I am using the right word, but it’s totally the wrong usage of it. My family will call it my “Erica-isms” as if I have my own language. It’s just part of me. It use to stress me out and I would want to practice what I was going to say to prevent these mess ups, but now I just roll with it. I might ask out loud, “did i say that right?” or “what is the word I am looking to use here?” I engage the audience. I will even catch it, laugh at myself, and fix it live. I think when we are the most ourselves, we are the most comfortable, and it gives everyone around us permission to be themselves too.
People like to know you are real, and if you aren’t all polished and smooth- that’s ok.
When painting our snow room, I stepped into a bucket of paint. Instead of hiding it in the room reveal video or blog post, I just laughed about it and pointed it out. If you are polished and smooth naturally, that’s amazing too. Just be you! People can read through the fake and know when you aren’t being genuine. At the core, we all just want to connect to what’s real.
Whew, do these tips help you feel a little more empowered to try that new task or to do that stretching activity? I hope they do. We were made to be life long learners and it’s never too late to try something new. Just take note of a few tips to get you through it. You will be so proud of yourself after you do that stretching thing. You can do hard things!
I still don’t love to film, but on this day (the pictures were taken), I took my kids and showed them I could do something I don’t love. Isn’t that a good trait to model always!? It did help to film to be at the beautiful, DreamOn Studios and have their amazing team do all the video components. Yet, in their professional amazing-ness, I psyched myself out a bit by that too.
In all the nerves though, I was more excited than nervous.
I wore my favorite jeans and flip flops. I had a banana and drank water. I arrived 20 minutes early, and I told everyone live that I love cutting cardboard. Is that a quirk? Maybe. I went with it. It was honest and me. If you would like to see the video from this shoot, you can pick up the craft kit + lesson here. I’d love to encourage your imagination in this online workshop!
There are nerves that come with trying something new, but we can deal with them and teach our body that it’s ok to grow.
It’s ok to change and be stretched. Otherwise, what all could we be missing out on? Allow yourself to be stretched. You will be so proud of the YOU you are becoming.
Which tip sounds like it would be the most helpful to you? Please leave me a comment or find me on social media to let me know. I’d love to encourage you on!
If this post was helpful to you, it would mean so much if you would share it with someone you know or post it somewhere others can find it. Thank you for allowing me to encourage your journey, and I will be back again soon!