085 - how to control your feelings


"I don't ever feel anxious. I define the feeling"...

Those are the wise words of a 100m Olympic Sprinter after being asked if he experienced performance anxiety anymore

He was once asked to describe how and why he wins in three words... and his response "feeling, feeling, feeling "... When asked to explain, he said:

" I got very clear about the feelings I needed in my mind and body before I walked out onto the field, while I readied myself at the starting blocks, what I sensed in the middle of the sprint, and what I wanted to feel after I crossed the line and even all the way back into the tunnel"

Don't let this fool you, however, as this doesn't mean he is in total control or doesn't experience performance anxiety, nerves, or fear anymore...

"No. When I'm at the starting blocks, my body still senses the energy and emotions of it all - my body is naturally aware of what's at stake, and there's some fear that's there no matter what. But I don't feel anxious. I define the feeling. I tell myself that what I'm sensing is a feeling of readiness and excitement"

And that's the takeaway, you're in total control of how you define what it is you're feeling... we know that fear and excitement feel the exact same and produce the same physiological responses - what's different is the story we tell ourselves about what's happening or what's going to happen

Fear = negative, disempowering stories of what might happen and self-limiting thoughts
Excitement = positive, empowering stories of what's going to happen and thoughts of our potentials, not our limits

You get to choose the primary feeling that you want to bring to any situation you're going into... Going into a rep trial, you can choose to feel confident and excited OR you can choose to feel nervous, anxious, and be full of fear

The same goes for that grand final, the big exam, the assessment, or even asking that boy/girl you like out

You're in control of your feelings and emotions... you're emotions and feelings don't control you


Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • Do I currently feel controlled by my emotions and feelings? Do I let them dictate and control what I'm experiencing?
  • What feelings and emotions show up most in my life? Is there a connection to them/do they show up in certain instances? If so, why?
  • What's one thing I can say to ground myself and help me define how I want to feel going into specific situations?
Nick Maier