It’s the weekend before the next Local Government Challenge and I’m feeling a little nervous about what’s in store for me. I remember not really knowing what to expect in advance of the first session and with hindsight, I think this was blissful ignorance…a bit like the scene from the Matrix where that guy eats a steak he knows isn’t real.
Before the first challenge, I knew the experience wasn’t going to be a bed of roses, but I didn’t foresee the extent to which I would be pushed and stretched and challenged over the course of 24 hours.
But now I do and it feels quite daunting to wait in anticipation of the next one.
This doesn’t make sense to me though – after my first challenge, I didn’t feel daunted, I felt ALIVE! I couldn’t wait for the next one!
“…exhaustion, elation but most of all pride for what my team and I accomplished in little over 24 hours…”
So why do I feel so nervous in the lead-up to this next challenge? And what can I learn from these feelings? That’s what I’ve been asking myself over the past few days.
Firstly, I’ve got to give myself some slack – it’s a challenging process and so it’s normal to have a few nerves. It’s how I react to my feelings that counts – as my Director of People and Change at East Sussex County Council tells me, ‘excitement’ and ‘nerves’ are the same sensations, it’s how you interpret them that makes the difference.
Secondly, I’m anticipating the next 24 hours in the way it would feel to eat one of those new stock pots, or an oxo cubes – bear with me! Watered down, they are great stocks to use in cooking, however, I can only imagine what it would be like to eat one of these in it’s condensed form – it would be disgusting! Cold, blubbery and potent. Without realising it, that’s how I’m thinking about the next challenge – condensing all I felt in the 24 hour period of my last challenge (fear, worry, excitement, exhilaration, stress) and experiencing it in one breath-crushing moment. I need to seriously step back, steady myself and gain some perspective!
The final thing I’ve been pondering is how my ‘ego voice’ (so eloquently explained by Claire Obeid here) has been behind the steering wheel for so much of my life. This voice tells me how terrible I will be, compares me to other people and constantly repeats that I will never be good enough. By listening to this voice, I become my own worst enemy and end up focused on how unworthy I am instead of fully benefiting from every opportunity that the Local Government Challenges brings my way.
This ego voice isn’t the only one speaking though – it’s just the voice that speaks the loudest. If I listen really carefully, I can also hear another voice speaking to me in a much kinder and gentler way. It’s what I call my heart voice and I am able to hear it when I meditate or sit in silence and connect to myself.
If I listen loud enough, I hear it say:
“You’ve got this Amy. I believe in you. All you need to do is show up and do your best. You don’t need to be anything more than you are – you are enough.”
That really is all I need to do and it changes everything I feel about the next challenge. I feel so much stronger, surer and have so much more confidence as I know all I need to do is show up and give it my all. I don’t need to be the best, to have the most amazing ideas or be perfect. For when I listen to my heart voice, I know that I am enough.