My Secret Antidote to Overcoming Nervousness

I co-wrote a book called Own Your Space a couple of years ago. One of my favorite chapters is called Own Your Confidence. Here is an excerpt.

Exuding a level of ease and confidence is critical to your career success because confidence has the power to create self-fulfilling prophecies.

Success may not be an easy journey for anyone, but when you’re navigating your way to the next level, nothing is quite as potent as your self-confidence.

Confidence is the characteristic that distinguishes those who imagine from those who do. It’s what drives us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off every time we fall. It allows us to try and try again until we triumph.’

Confidence incites us to action. From voicing our opinion around the boardroom table to applying for a higher position or salary increase, confidence is the force that catapults us.

So, what happens when our confidence seems to evade us or we are having a terrible day? 

You need to be able to press the override button when you experience a moment of failure and call to mind your triumphs. Creating a Positive Emotional Memory Database™ is an effective way to keep your wins ‘on file’ so you can pull them up when experiencing fear or self-doubt. I first came up with the concept of developing your PEMD in 1995. Please click here to watch my TEDx talk to see how it works. 

Exercise: Conquer your fears – build up a Positive Emotional Memory Database™ (PEMD)

Give yourself a quiet half hour and do yourself the honor of remembering all your past achievements. Look back at every triumph you have had, both personally and professionally. When was the last time you did that, if ever? 

• As a start, think of three experiences you had over the last ten years that have validated you, three moments when you achieved something, were complimented, or overcame some difficulty. Unearth some of your most delightful, most exhilarating, most potent memories. You’re creating an inventory of every time you felt a sense of achievement. Every time you felt unique, accomplished, comfortable, confident, whole, complete, and authentically you. 

• Take yourself back to those defining moments. Immerse yourself in them. And remember how you felt.

• Now go entirely HD. See those moments with absolute clarity. Make your mental image more straightforward, crisper, and sharper. Brighten and vividen the colors. Enhance the sound. Add applause if you want to. And most importantly, recall your feelings. Make those emotions of triumph, joy, exhilaration, completion, and happiness as tangible as possible.

• Finally, ‘pin’ those memories into your mind with a click of your fingers, a clap of your hands, or a long, deep breath. This is now your trigger for recalling and replaying them whenever you need them. 

Recalling positive past experiences and visualizing them before speaking up in a meeting, going for an interview, or giving a presentation is a powerful antidote to nerves and fear. We tend to focus on our insecurities to downplay our successes. So often, we start believing in our mediocrity and forgetting just how accomplished, skilled, and talented we are. With your PEMD (Positive Emotional Memory Database™), you enable yourself to shift your focus to what you do well, and by doing so, you remind yourself of your competence. 

Confidence is achieved through repeated success in any endeavor. The more you practice doing something, the better you get at it, and your confidence will grow over time.