Focus on you
Earlier this year, Evolve had the pleasure of attending the Focus Africa festival. We had a stall in the market room selling our books and our inspirational artwork. The event was a success and we made sales, but even more importantly, we got to connect with a lot of wonderful, beautiful people. The festival showcased talent from the African continent and diaspora. It was a spectacular showcase, with a fashion show, rhythmic music and good food. We were doing what we love and so every moment was a blissful experience.
It isn't always easy to do what you love. Sometimes, the nerves threaten to take over and get the best of you. This was true for both Yvonne and myself. We had known about this event since we signed up for it and we considered ourselves lucky to get in... As though luck is what you call hard grafting. But even knowing that we had been good enough to be chosen, our nerves were still bubbling.
It is here, when the little inklings of fear come in that a lot of people give up. Have you ever felt nervous about something and decided not to do that thing? How did you feel after? Did you have a deep sense of relief or regret? What about the opposite? Have you ever felt the nerves but kept going? How did that feel? Nerves can either hint at fear or at excitement. The line between the two is often so blurred... one can be mistaken for the other.
And here, in this inbetween phase sometimes, that giving up becomes the easy choice. It is often easier to keep in our comfort zones instead of pushing ourselves through the discomfort, whether that be excitement or fear. It's easier to do what we've always done because it's familiar, than trying something new. A lot of dreams die in this in-between phase. So, we need to get into the habit of asking how can we tip the scales in our favour? We need to remind ourselves that in some cases we need to just do the thing and see how it goes. We need to face the nerves, get through the excitement or fight the fear and conquer whatever it is that brought the nerves on in the first place. Mostly, the reward lies in the doing. Yes, sometimes, we may fail or not have the experience that we expected to begin with, but in that case, we can always take the lesson and allow it to give us insight for our next trial.
Because that's what life really is, isn't it? A series of trials that teaches us important lessons we need for next time. In the end, Yve and I realised that our nerves were of the excited kind. We did our trial and made it out the other end with a few lessons and a feeling of accomplishment. We decided that focusing on us and where we wanted to be instead of focusing on the nerves was the best course. And it paid off big time!
Here are 3 lessons we learnt through that ordeal:
Nerves come, but nerves also go. The discomfort only lasts as long as we don't face it. Once you do, it starts to ease.
It is better to have support to get through the uncomfortable. As we were doing this together, it made everything easier to face.
The coping strategies you have in place will get you through if you trust yourself and your process.
We hope that the next time you feel nerves coming on, you ask yourself what you can learn from this and how you can focus on you instead of on the nerves! We believe in you, so go out there and believe in yourself!
Love and light, Charlynne