I’ll never forget it. I was walking down the hallway, heading back on stage at one of my events and my cell phone vibrates. I’m receiving a text from an east coast family member asking me to call right away. There are 95 people waiting for me to come back into the room and we’ve got a tight schedule. My team will never forgive me if I make us late and I want to respect my audience.
I’ve got to make a decision fast. I choose to wait until the next break (which is 90 minutes away) to phone home. Yet, that doesn’t make the stressful feelings go away. I feel anxious, worried, curious and out of focus with the next segment of my event presentation.
I needed to get back to feeling centered and shift my focus from worrying about what’s happening at home to being present to the room… and fast.
That’s not the first time I had to shift my emotions quickly and it certainly won’t be the last. Running a business is almost an invitation for stress and sometimes it shows up on the invitation at the most inconvenient moments.
When is the last time you had an emotional experience that felt intensely stressful and you have to “perform” anyway? It’s tough to operate at peak performance at those times. In those stressful moments, it’s easy to become fused with the thoughts running through your mind and hooked by your emotions. Thoughts like, “I’ve got to get a grip,” “I’m really going to mess this up,” “I feel so stressed out,” “This is going to be really bad” race through your mind.
Guess what? It’s normal to feel a burst of stressful feelings, when you are, well… STRESSED. This is your brain and body’s natural response to a perceived stressor. It’s also normal for that stress to reach its peak and then fade away. Yet, that doesn’t usually happen in perfect timing, and especially when you’ve got to take the stage or meet with an important client, or some other activity that requires your immediate focus.
Shifting away from the emotions of stress and coming back to feeling centered is somewhat counter-intuitive. It’s not about focusing on what’s going on in your head as much as it’s about getting OUT of your head and more into your present experience. Essentially allowing the scary thoughts and stressful feelings to just continue passing on by. In doing so, you allow them to simply “be there” without giving them power over you.
And, it’s important to remember that when you choose to shift away from something that is causing you stress, that you will want to revisit the situation at a later time to make important choices. In my case above, I did call home on the next break and was able to calmly discuss the situation with my family member. Together, we made some thought-out decisions and later that week we were able to reconvene to map out a plan for the family situation that we were faced with.
Being able to quickly ground yourself during any sudden stressful situation is easier when you’ve formed a habit of connecting with the present moment and the “YOU” within you that is your life force. Try the 7 minute centering meditation in the “experiment” section below for several days in a row, and continue the practice as a regular routine if you find that it deeply resonates for you. Doing this will enable you to quickly shift from stress and worry when the situation calls for it.