I can tell dating stories all day…
But there’s one particular date that I’ve played over and over again in my mind, wondering what in the world happened to me.
It was with the woman of my dreams, the spitting image of “my type”.
We agreed to meet up at True Food Kitchen, one of my favorite spots here in San Diego. I arrived a few minutes early to snag a couple of seats at the bar.
I felt good. Confident … but with the typical case of the nerves that happens before any first date.
Just be yourself, Sean.
Ten minutes later, I looked over my shoulder and there she was, walking through the double doors, headed in my direction.
Just be yourself, Sean.
I pulled out her chair, she sat down … and I FREAKED OUT.
Just be yourself, Sean! Just be yourself, Sean! Just be your…
“Sorry, inner voice person. But there will be no being-of-myself tonight. Why? Because IT is happening? The spitting image of the woman I cooked up in my brain is here … sitting right next to me … IN REAL LIFE!”
I could feel the sweat. The beads breaking through the skin on my forehead.
Wait, is my ear sweating? Oh, my ear is definitely sweating. Since when do ears sweat!
I excused myself and jetted to the bathroom, where there were zero paper towels. Just one of those blow dryer things that never really get your hands dry. So I hid in a stall, frantically fanning myself while dabbing my head, face, and pits with toilet paper.
Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!
I headed back to my seat, hoping that I didn’t have any toilet paper bits stuck to my head. We small-talked for a minute, but honestly I didn’t hear a single word she said. Then I asked her a question and realized that she had already answered it not more than 30 seconds before.
Let the tide roll in!
In a matter of milliseconds, I was covered in sweat. But I couldn’t go back to the bathroom. I was just there. There was NO going back. I was out of options, so I grabbed my cloth napkin and used it like a gym towel.
I was totally blowing it! The woman of my dreams is gonna refer to me as Mr. Sweaty for the rest of her life.
For ten long minutes I had completely forgotten how to be me. I had made the stakes so high that I had lost all concept of who I was. This beautiful woman was sitting next to me and my real self had left the building.
What. A. Nightmare.
I think everybody has a story like this. Maybe it was a job interview. An audition. The first time you met your significant other’s parents. A speech you had to give.
You knew you were being evaluated, and all of a sudden you forgot how to be you.
Then when it was over, you replayed it over and over again in your head. You knew what to say and do, but the moment — THE BIG MOMENT — locked it all away, only to give you back the key once the moment had passed. When it was too late.
This week’s guest on The Sessions has dedicated her research to these very moments. To uncover strategies for helping you show up for them as your very best self. To help you focus LESS on the impression you’re making on others and MORE on the impression you’re making on yourself.
Sheesh, where was she was I needed her!
This Week’s Top 5 Takeaways (Spoiler Alert!)
#1. Don’t Quit. Never Quit. If you feel like the chips are down and nothing seems possible, think of Amy. Despite a severe brain injury that dropped her IQ by 30 points, she PERSISTED by returning to undergrad (several times, in fact) and then moving on to grad school at Princeton and now teaching at Harvard Business School. No obstacle is too big. It is there for you to GROW. Step into your Superman or Wonder Woman pose and set out to tackle and overcome every obstacle that lands in your path.
#2. Your Psychology Follows Your Physiology. As I learned from Tony Robbins almost a decade ago, holding your body in an open, confident posture flips the switch on your positive feelings and brightens up your mood. If you’re feeling down, check in with your posture. Is your head down? Shoulder rolled forward? Well, chin up! Shoulders back! Turn your frown upside down! I promise, you’ll feel better.
#3. You’re Not Nervous, You’re Just Excited! When one of life’s BIG moments is upon you and the nerves kick in, remember that you’re not nervous at all. You’re just excited to show and share your best self.
#4. Pose Down in Private. Before that big moment, find a bathroom stall or an empty room. Lock the door and strike one of the poses in Amy’s book. It’s scientifically-proven to pump up your power and presence.
#5. Show Up. And fake it until you BECOME it. Challenge yourself to get better. If giving talks makes you want to run for the hills, go out of your way to give MORE talks. If dating turns you into a sweaty mess, go on more dates. If parties make your feel anxious, go to more parties. Skip the alcohol. Instead of heading for the bar to buy a drink to take the edge off, head to the bathroom. Find an empty stall and strike your power pose! Drinks are expensive. Posing is FREE. 🙂
Oh! Wondering How My Story Ended?
Somehow I managed to pull myself together. My date and I spent about two hours sitting at that bar getting to know each other. Weeks later, the woman of my dreams became my girlfriend.
It didn’t end up working out. But I’m glad it happened. And I can’t help but smile when I think of how it all began.
That’s it for me. See you next week with our old friend, Elliott Hulse. Find out what I call Elliott my grandfather!
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