‘Tacos’, ‘Enchiladas’, ‘Chile Rellenos’ coupled with some ‘Mariachi’, it’s that time of the year when we gear up for Cinco de Mayo. The weekend getaways are on the go and the ad banners are promising some great offers on couple entries and amazing drinks. People are checking out the amazing Mexican artisan wares and ceramics at the Hester Street Fair in Manhattan. I bought a beautiful Huipil tunic and a colorful Mexican skirt for Aaliyah while Adrian bought a Rebozo for his loving wife from there last week.
The women in the gang will be out for the 116th Street Cinco de Mayo festival in the day time and the celebratory spree will continue with a house party at Donna’s place. Adrian, Ethan and I are in charge of the arrangements for the rendezvous. While we drove to the store I noticed Ethan was caught up with something. “Hey Ethan, is everything fine? You don’t look fine.” I said. Busy driving, Adrian too agreed and wanted to know what was wrong. “Uncle Bob! Something is bothering me” he replied. It was best to talk it out and so we went to a nearby lounge.
“Well I have to lead on a project to pitch an important client but somehow I feel very incompetent,” he said. “And why do you think that you are incompetent?” I asked. “It is a big client I am not used to giving such presentations; I am scared that I may spoil everything,” he answered. I could figure out that the cause of the problem was the fear of a strong client and nothing to do with his competence.
I thought it was best to cite the example of Mexican soldiers to boost him up. When the Mexican soldiers had fought back the French soldiers on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla they were not afraid of the equipped army which outnumbered them. They triumphed over the strong enemy only because they did not let any fear raise self-doubt. I tried to reason out with him. “If you were so incompetent then your boss would not have asked you to lead in the first place. The fear is in your mind.” I added.
Adrian shared his experience of overcoming stage fear. “This fear is very obvious when you are doing something for the first time but the focus should be on the work and not on the output or feedback,” said Adrian. “You don’t have to win a battle you just have to give a presentation,” I further stated. Ethan looked convinced and decided to focus on the quality of his work rather than overestimating the likelihood of bad things which may or may not happen. ‘Tecate’,’ Micheladas’ and ‘Margaritas’ he ordered for the three of us to celebrate this initial victory of overcoming the fear with the flavor of the season.
The performance is in our hands but the end result is out of reach. Self-doubt leads to underperformance. Instead of harping on the power of the person sitting on the other side of the table, it is better to divert all our thoughts and effort on the work. ‘Performance anxiety’ results in low self-esteem which hinders the end result. Visualizing the things to go well can help in boosting the self-confidence. If we can’t be helpful by being positive then let’s not cause disfavor by doubting our own capability and confidence.
Share with us how you overcame your worst fear for doing something new!