In May I'm going to be speaking at a totally magical gathering of artists and entrepreneurs. (It's called Brand Camp - if you are looking to align your work with your joy, do yourself a favor and check it out.) The last time I gave a presentation in public was in 8th grade science class. And it did not go well. I'm still plagued by how I felt. So much so, that when I imagine speaking at this conference, I am flooded with those same feelings of anxiety and nervousness from way back then. I imagine my heart racing, my mouth being dry and my voice not really coming out, my brain scrambling all my thoughts, running out of time before I've said what's most important.
I tell myself that this is now and that was then…how I can compare 15 year old Katie to 35 year old Katie? I've grown so much it's like two totally different people. So it's silly to assume that I would feel the same way now that I felt then. I ask myself, why am I spending time imagining a future that I don't prefer? That's not a good use of my energy…so I start to envision how I want to feel - connected, sure, open, vulnerable, honest, projecting…My talk doesn't have to be perfect, but I want it to feel real, from my heart. And I want to be able to actually get it out of my mouth.
This led me to my new favorite game, which I call Trade In a Feeling. It's as simple as it sounds. When you catch yourself feeling a feeling you don't prefer, or imaging a feeling in the future that isn't your preference, acknowledge, accept, own it…because you can't change what you don't own…and then trade it in for a feeling you do prefer. It can be fun to make this game more visual - if you imagine your feelings in different mascot outfits. Or like wearing different colors/outfits (joy could be a hot pink unitard, content could be your favorite blanket, bliss could have wings with peacock feathers).
Were you ever that kid in school who's mom sent them with a banana to go with lunch while your friends had cookies or chips? And you'd try to convince them to trade with you? Well, my game is kind of like that, except they always say yes!
Try it out and let me know what you think. The more playful you are with it, the better it works. Remember its a game. Being serious or trying hard kind of takes away the magic, just like it does in most games. Play this like you're a little kid, heck, play this with kids. I like to pick a day of the week that is Trade In a Feeling Day - not to limit when I use it, but to remember that say Thursday is all about swapping it up for something you like better :)
ps I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections on what I’ve shared…please let your voice be heard and write me a comment or send me a message. If you enjoyed or gained some fresh perspective from reading this, I’d be eternally grateful if you felt like sharing it with the people you love.
pps I’ve also learned that bananas are way better than cookies and chips. Okay, maybe not my mom’s homemade cookies. Or really crunchy kettle chips...who am I kidding, I’d still trade in the banana.