Tracy believes a good fright can be a great opportunity to grow.
You check your watch, it’s almost half-past two. You answered a listing for the job of your dreams a week ago and much to your surprise, you landed an interview! Your suit is pressed and you’re sitting outside the office door, having just broken out in a cold sweat. Your heart starts to pound, you can hear it about to burst from your chest. You try to breathe, slowly in, slowly out, slowly — the door opens. You attempt to say hello but nothing comes out. Your brain is screaming to make a run for it, but your heart knows that’ll end in disaster. What do you do?
Life is full of these little frights. They don’t happen all of the time but when they do, you know it. We react physically to something that is merely emotional or psychological stress. It’s like the caveman within us is desperately trying to keep us alive. The only problem is there’s no monster chasing us in the dark. Our stress levels rise when we must do something outside our comfort zone. A job interview, public speaking, sometimes it can even be as simple as having to make a difficult phone call.
Just because our instinct is telling us to run away, it doesn’t always mean we should. We must stand tall and face these frights. If you can push forward and get through to the other side, you can see that the outcome is worth the unpleasantness. If you wipe your sweaty hand on your trouser leg and stick it out for a hearty handshake (or elbow nudge, depending on the Covid rules), you’ll find your voice again and potentially land that dream job.
As a musician, I have experienced some scary auditions playing the orchestral trumpet. They are usually blind (the adjudicator is behind a screen), and you’re expected to walk into the (seemingly) empty room, take a deep breath, and nail it. This can seem impossible! How do I perform when the pressure is making my knees knock together involuntarily?! But I get through it and my next audition will be better, a little more relaxed. During the following audition, I’ll be shaking even less, my tone piercing and pure. We learn from each mistake and every time we face a little fear, it loses some of its negative grip on our psyche.
The door to the office opens and out steps a very friendly individual, someone who has selected your CV from a stack and thought to themselves, ‘I’d really like to meet that one’. They smile and extend their hand to you. You grab it enthusiastically, sweaty palms are forgotten. Your face smiles and your heartbeat quiets (well, a little, anyway). You can do this! Just push on through and you’ll be glad you did.