I'm heading to my first big prospect presentation today, and it is with my boss. No pressure!
It's a good chance, though, to be aware of the thoughts that are running through my head, and the nerves that can arise.
Our lizard brain is quick to provide a list of bad things that might happen. My boss might think I am stupid, or think that he should not have hired me. I might say something stupid. I might not know the answer to a prospect's question. The prospect might be bored. The demo might not work. I might offend someone. I might spill something on myself on the plane. The plane might get delayed. I might get lost. The rental car might break down. My boss's flight might get delayed. My boss might embarrass me. I might get food poisoning at lunch.
And so on . . .
It is true that any of these things could happen. There are some that we think we can, at least partially, control. But for the most part, we have no control over any of them. And there are many other things that could happen that I haven't even thought of.
The chance of any of them happening is small, so it seems like a waste to time to worry about them all. But they pop up, in random order and at inopportune times, and sometimes they bang around in the head for awhile. What to do?
Let them. Let them have a voice. Most of the time, we try to keep ourselves from thinking about the bad things that could happen. We visualize good things. And we worry that if we dwell on the bad, that somehow makes it more likely that something bad might happen. My experience, though, is that if I notice the thought, and I ask myself "is that really true?" the thought drifts away on its own. Once I admit I am worried about the prospect noticing I have a spot of coffee on my pants, it all seems pretty silly.
I don't know what is going to happen in this meeting. And there is nothing that I can do that will make the outcome of the meeting or the trip certain.
All I can do is prepare--to know where I am going and what I am saying. And then, to enjoy the ride.
Wish me luck--