This time, with Jitters

When was the last time that something you were dreading went unexpectedly well?

Most of the time, a positive mindset is a prerequisite to success. That optimism can come from focusing on the work you put into a project and knowing you’re prepared. But let’s face it, not every day can be full of mental sunshine. Sometimes a positive attitude and healthy mindset are simply out of reach. And on those days, the ticker tape in your head is like a lot like CNN reporting on a stock market crash: doom and gloom.

You know what these moments are like. You convince yourself you’re not good enough. You’re not ready. You’re not qualified. These thoughts sap your motivation and your happiness. Driving to a race recently, each mile that brought me closer to the course brought another negative thought:


“I don’t want to be here.”

“What if I come in last?”

“I can’t wait to be in the car headed home.”

What do you do when the jitters won’t go away?

Luckily, my race day partner held me accountable and wouldn’t let me back out. So I put one foot in front of the other, and set out for what I expected to be a miserable few miles with a last place finish.


Fueled by a desire to get this over with, I set a steady pace towards the finish line. Far from being the last person in the pack, I finished the race faster than I had imagined or intended. More importantly than my pacing or results, I had a really good time. I enjoyed it, and it turns out I was plenty well prepared. And while I (admittedly) was quite satisfied to be in the car on the way home, I was also really happy to have gone through with the run.

Tackle your next dreaded experience head-on with these three techniques that saved me on race day:

You have to show up.

Don’t let yourself back out of a commitment because you aren’t in the mood that morning.

On days when you're struggling, just take the first step by showing up. It's much harder to back out once you're there. Turning the car around means missing out on a valuable opportunity to practice, to learn where you need to grow, and to surprise yourself with how successful you can be right now



Pair up!

Find someone to hold you accountable. Whether this is your co-worker or your workout buddy, seek someone who has similar goals you do. Set your intentions at the beginning of the partnership and hold each other to them.

Don’t concern yourself with the competition.

Instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing, focus only on yourself.

Think of your career as a marathon. Trying to keep up with the fastest runners -- whether literal or proverbial -- leads to burning out early on. Focus on your own abilities and set the pace that is the best for you.

At the “finish line” you can take a moment to appreciate how you did and reflect on how you got there.

Don’t let unexpected morning-of jitters get the best of you. Know your resources, keep to your own work, and show up. We can’t wait to see what you achieve.

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Lauren Laitin