Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Good Nervous

Being nervous comes with all kinds of connotations.

- Not prepared
- Inexperienced
- Not good enough 

We’ve heard them all or have convinced ourselves that those are reasons for our anxiety. Those may be valid but not always. What if instead we looked at nervousness differently and actually sought out ‘good’ nervous situations. The ones that scare us but we know we need to do. The ones we know will make us better.

When I think of these good nervous situations, many come to mind for me - joining Delta Chi in university, moving to Belgium, co-hosting the Gridiron Show. Those are all examples. I was freaked out by each but something pushed me through that nervousness knowing the doors the experience would open would be amazing. Without fail that happened in each case. Delta Chi gave me an incredible chance to learn outside the classroom while introducing me to some of the closest friends in my life. Moving to Belgium taught me I can live elsewhere and it has given me subsequent amazing international sports opportunities. Putting in my audition for the Gridiron Show forced me to challenge my introversion to see how far I could take my broadcasting experience. And though co-hosting it a couple times hasn’t yet landed me a spot replacing Jay Onrait or Dan O’Toole on TSN, I can dream!

The point too often is we (and specifically I) see the nervousness as a wall. Instead it should be seen as a compass. It’s a compass that guides to things that truly matter to us and relate to a passion. Are we nervous because we’re unnecessarily paranoid about something and we’re creating anxiety? Or are we nervous because we care and we know this situation matters deeply to us? Is it a nervousness that can incite change? Making that distinction is key.

It takes some time but you can identify the difference between a ‘good’ nervous and a pointless one. A bad nervous is one you can’t explain. It’s just there and provides nothing of value. It stalls and limits you. A good nervous is the one where you feel like something’s pushing you through the anxiety to things you know deep down really matter. That’s when being really nervous can be really fun.