I'm So Nervous

Ed Thomas Coaching

posted on Monday, December 3, 2018

I'm So Nervous    

Have you ever spoken or thought that phrase? Have you ever tried to help someone who feels so nervous that their emotions hinder their performance?

As a young teacher and coach, I recall being surprised at all the young people who openly shared that they were nervous prior to performing. If someone had a game, presentation, performance, or test that day, teachers and coaches would often ask, “Are you ready?." I found that students often responded, “I’m so nervous.”  

Today, we call being nervous many things like anxiety, fear, dread, apprehension, angst, or even butterflies. No matter what we call it, nervousness often has a negative impact on our performance. It causes physical and mental tension that can lead to what we refer to as choking. If someone says that they are nervous, it does them no good to be told,  “Just relax.” You have to find strategies that people can buy into and incorporate to their coping. 

After doing some research and observing some great role models, we began to use the following strategies. 

  1. The first for me was to change my self-talk. Instead or thinking or saying, “I’m so nervous,” you begin saying “I’m looking forward to it.” So, when asked if you’re ready, you’ll respond with “I’m looking forward to it.” It also works to talk like the Little Engine–“I think I can, I think I can.”  It’s real and it works. 

  2. If you want to help yourself, help someone else. Nervousness shrinks your world into an “only me” world. Helping others in your group or team can help calm you. There is more power in “we” than “me.”

  3. Being highly prepared can be very calming. Putting in the time, work, and effort can improve confidence. It feels pretty good to be ready for the task.

  4. Visualize what you want to do. In your brain, go through the process of your task step by step. See yourself becoming successful. Then, imagine how great you will feel when you succeed.

  5. Remember, you are never alone. Ask for help.    

In the end, we try to learn how to control our emotions instead of our emotions controlling us. It’s also a big part of what we call “maturity.” You may not figure it out right away, but that’s part of growing up in life. You will get there.

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."    

Matthew 11:28      


Your Challenge: 

When we realize others may feel nervous, let's help them by doing more than just saying, "Relax."

Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation    

This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.