Performance Anxiety

Today I got my haircut. The beauty salon next door didn’t have any openings this morning so I went down the block to the barber franchise next door. The stylist was nice and I got a decent haircut.

I completed my EKG test today! I passed!!! I actually did really well. I made a couple mistakes but they told me I am a great candidate for Telemetry Technician and I got to meet some of the department staff. I also met the Hiring Manager today. The Hiring Manager did not seem that excited about my candidacy for the position. It seems like there are some strange goings ons related to the position I’m going for… But I got the Hiring Manager’s card and I already emailed them this evening. I will be calling them in the morning and continue to pester them until I get hired. If that takes too long maybe I will end up with a different job. We’ll have to see what happens. I haven’t submitted any job applications today but I did a brief job search and there are some promising openings.

Performance anxiety affects people engaged in every kind of activity. I didn’t have too much anxiety over that situation today. There are two activities that I sometimes have performance anxiety during. Public speaking and sex. The public speaking is pretty consistent. I worked as a marksmanship coach for awhile and when I gave classes (from 40 to 80 people) I had no anxiety. It was because I knew the material inside-out. I could do those presentations blindfolded. For every other public speaking situation I’ve been in, I’ve gotten quite anxious. Probably because my pre-game was weak. I’ve never prepared for a speech or presentation at the same level as I did for teaching those marksmanship classes. Performance anxiety during sex has only happened a few times. In situations where I really, really, really wanted to be intimate and I got so nervous I wouldn’t do a good job for my partner and all of a sudden I wasn’t sure if I wanted do it anymore. Again my pre-game was weak. I didn’t have a plan for fulfilling my partner with different skills and instead relied completely on one thing that I wasn’t all that good at. Don’t worry folks, I’m better now ;-D My most recent experience with overwhelming performance anxiety hasn’t been my own. My partner experiences performance anxiety about grades so badly that weeks before an exam there are multiple emotional breakdowns. This is the system I have come up with to try and help with that. I don’t use any part of this system very often and I’ve never gone through all the steps together so I don’t know how effective it is, but based on my experience and the anecdotes I’ve come across, this is the best thing I could come up with.

  1. Pre-game
    1. Work hard. Like really hard. The only way to prepare for a big event is to train for it and take the blood, sweat, and tears from your body and put it into your soul until you know what’s gonna happen on game day. If you decide to do something you love, the work might come easier but it will still take a lot of it. (I could be totally wrong about this but anyway, be honest with yourself and figure out what you need to do to prepare yourself)
    2. Right before you go into the arena, take a moment and visualize the successful outcome. Imagine what it looks like when everything you want happens.
  2. Mid-game
    1. Breathe. If you start to lose your cool, remember to breathe. (This will be enough for some people by itself but for others it won’t. If breathing doesn’t work, implement another step to calm down. If 2 or 3 end up having negative effects, try something else. Figure out what motivates you)
    2. Remember how much hard work you put into preparing for this moment. You know what to do and how to do it so do it.
    3. Remember that even if you fail, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be okay. Not only will you be okay but you’ll know exactly what you need to work on to be better.
  3. Post-game
    1. It’s out of your hands now so unless you have something nice to say about yourself and your performance, try to forget about the whole thing until you get some meaningful feedback. Whether that’s your coach’s advice, your exam score or what have you.
    2. When you get that feedback, remember, now you know what to work on. If the game means something to you, don’t give up. It’s rare that we get anything worthwhile without having to work for it so keep working. Don’t focus on what you did wrong, figure out what you can do about it. You’re going to be able to try again. You’ll never get to redo that game, but you can still play the game again.

So that’s my silly, cliched advice on performance anxiety. I managed to fit a condensed version of this onto a notecard. You might not always be able to whip out a notecard when you’re having performance anxiety but keeping something like that around in the pre-game might help when it comes game time. And having the card during post-game might help for the next game. In extreme cases where performance anxiety erupts during the pre-game phase, that’s a great opportunity to practice and hammer out what’s effective for the mid-game strategy.

I hope it helps sweetie :-*

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