shutterstock_310520624Nerves versus focus. Dread versus opportunity.
In a recent Harvard Business Review article on calming nerves before a presentation by Amy Jen Su of Paravis Partners, Amy cites a few tidbits of insight and advice I offered when she interviewed me for the article several weeks ago. One of my quotes surprised even me as I was saying it, as it actually highlighted a new twist on how to view and manage nerves.
Here’s the excerpt: Levine advises, “Think of a quarterback playing in his first Super Bowl game. Yes, he may be nervous, but he’s not dreading it or seeing it as an obligation. He’s seeing it as a great opportunity that he’s ready to sink his teeth into. The nerves are a signal that this is something that matters to him.”
What is not new about what I said is that a mindset shift – more to the positive side of things – can be incredibly helpful. Usually that mindset shift involves thinking positively about performing well or about the audience assuming you’ll be successful.
What is new about what I said is that the mindset shift should be more specific – from dreading a presentation or looking at it as an obligation and something you need to simply survive to looking forward to it as a challenge to be conquered and an opportunity to shine.
In other words, your nervousness is not a block or an annoyance, it’s a signal that you have a great opportunity ahead of you to show your stuff. For more insights, read the article here.

Beth Levine