‘Why Do I Feel Anxiety Before Seeing Clients?’
I had an awesome question from the gorgeous Lorna who runs Norla Permanent Makeup And Beauty, this week and her question is a very common problem I see in many areas of business…and life (as always!) So I wanted to break it down for you here so it can help you too.
So here’s the question:“I’d be interested to know what’s going on in my head! Ok that’s a tad broad let me explain…. I am totally fine on the run up to client appointments, I look forward to my clients coming and doing their permanent makeup treatment. BUT as the appointment time draws closer (like a couple of hours before) I start to hear “I don’t want to do this” in my head and I feel like anything would be better than having to go through with the appointment. Bizarrely as soon as they arrive it all instantly disappears and I’m comfortable. I love doing the treatments, I find myself grinning behind my mask as I work. And when they leave, happy bunnies. I feel such a sense of achievement. Why the negative thoughts and feelings I wonder? Any tips for me to help get over this would be brill!” Now, it’s ALWAYS worth saying I’m NOT actually in your head so without asking you lots of lovely questions it’s difficult to know EXACTLY what’s going on for you so I’ll give you some questions to ask yourself, potential influences on those thoughts and feelings, along with some tips to get through them in the moment. HOWEVER, this sort of thing is a common problem that I see and there are a few SUPER useful things to know about our pesky gremlins and how they work so you can identify it and overcome it in the moment.
So, firstly, the good news is you’re not bonkers!I see this problem all the time when it comes to posting content on social media, doing live video, speaking gigs, taking on new clients, all sorts of ‘new’ things when we feel like we’re still learning as we go. Here it’s really helpful to understand the 4 stages of learning that we will always go through when learning or doing something new. Some people may advance through certain stages more quickly than others but they will always still happen. I’ve talked about this in an episode before so it’ll be helpful to go through it again as a reminder and to embed the learning.
So, stage 1 is ‘unconscious incompetence’…blissful ignorance if you will. Here, you don’t know what you don’t know. So it feels totally fine. You might even be EXCITED to start the new thing. Full of wide eyed optimism. Then you very quickly move into stage two, the most difficult of all the stages and the one where most people quit.
Good old ‘Conscious incompetence’.Here you are VERY painfully aware of what you don’t know, feeling overwhelmed, fearful, nervous, anxious, procrastinating, all the fun stuff that feels super uncomfortable and makes you frustrated with yourself. Here you’ll feel ALL the lovely resistance bubbling up and all the thoughts and feelings telling you you’re an impostor, who are you to be doing this, you’re rubbish anyway so why bother. Also going on in this stage is your lovely brain simply trying to keep you safe by not making it easy for you to be going outside your comfort zone. It will very likely drive you to do things you KNOW aren’t good for you like comparing yourself to other people, overwhelm yourself with ‘busy’ tasks and generally self sabotage to an epic degree. It’s fun here ha! BUT when you know that just on the other side everything gets easier it can give you that motivation to keep pushing through, which is why it’s so important to understand these thoughts and feelings aren’t US, on an identity level, they’re part of the process.
Which moves us nicely onto stage 3, ‘conscious competence.’Here, you know what you’re doing but it’s not second nature yet, you still need to think about the steps you need to take and you can still feel a little nervous at times. This is where I think the lovely Lorna could be at the moment. That stage where you have to remind yourself that you know your stuff, that you ARE good enough and you are definitely not an impostor. It’s acknowledging you’re still fairly new, but you DO know what you’re doing and reminding yourself it’s only upwards from here. You can only get better and better. It’s a GOOD place to be but could explain all the ‘feels’ before the client arrives, before you get back into your zone and remember you’re great at what you do and you love it. Bear in mind Lorna has INCREDIBLE testimonials from her clients!
The best part is that eventually this leads onto stage 4, ‘unconscious competence.’You don’t even need to think about it now in this stage, it’s second nature and habitual. It’s a breeze. This is of course a fun place to be! AND when you stick with it, where we all eventually end up. So those are the 4 stages that we all go through with anything new so hopefully it’s helpful to understand and can identify where you might be.
Same, same but differentAnother tip is it’s worth noting that physiologically speaking feelings of anxiety are the same as excitement so take note of what you’re saying to yourself before the client arrives and flip it around to all the positives. So instead of “I don’t want to do this” it becomes “I’m excited to do this”. All the things you’re looking forward to.
Remind yourself of the awesome testimonials from other clients.I often talk about my ‘proof of love’ folder that I keep on my phone. I encourage everyone to do this. I screenshot lovely things that people say about how i’ve helped them, what value they get from the podcast, when i’ve fundamentally helped change someone’s life through them working with me and they give me a testimonial, all those sorts of things. Then when the gremlins show up telling you you’re not good enough or you don’t want to do things, it’s an awesome reminder that you are and you do! And a great reminder of why you do it.
Create a new ‘ritual’A ritual that you do to counteract the ‘I don’t want to do this’. It could include breathing techniques, reading awesome reviews, connecting to the good ‘feels’ that come during and after working with the client. Whatever you think would be fun, could be as simple as making a cuppa, just have a think about what would distract you from and shift those thoughts. Some more tips and tools for you to use in the moment of ‘I don’t want to do this’:
My favourite breathing technique, the 4-7-8-3.I use this for a TONNE of different scenarios, getting to sleep, pain, if i’m feeling anxious, before speaking events. It works on so many levels. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system to calm down that ‘fight or flight response. The mindful counting distracts you from your thoughts. You can then choose a different thought and use some of the things i’ve already mentioned. So easy! You simply breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, breathe out for a count of 8 and repeat 3 times.
Visualise the end goal.Like I mentioned before, if you shift your focus to your BEST ever client session. Really visualise it and feel those feelings. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. So it doesn’t know what’s happening right now vs a memory (both in the past OR the future oooooh!) You can use this knowledge to your advantage. When you visualise it, all those emotions will come back, the reward centre of your brain will give you some of those lovely feel good hormones and it’s as if you’re right there again. Remind your brain that you’re fine thank you very much and you LOVE doing your clients treatments. What specifically do you love about it? What’s your favourite part? Look forward to it! When you feel the ‘I don’t want to do this’ question yourself around what’s behind that. Why do YOU think it is? Is there a fear? Work out what specific thoughts are coming up for you, and then challenge them.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)Otherwise known as ‘tapping,’ it’s a GREAT way to decrease the emotional intensity around anything. It works by tapping on certain meridian points to move energy so it works by using acupressure. It’s a big topic in itself that I encourage you to look into for yourselves (I use it myself but i’m not an expert) but essentially it’s reciting a phrase, usually ‘Even though I feel X I deeply and completely love and accept myself’ while tapping on each meridian point. First, assess the emotional intensity out of 10, then recite this while tapping on each point. (there are TONNES of videos on Youtube that you can follow along with so this is nice and easy) Start with the karate chop point on the side of your hand, then above your eyebrows, then the side of your eyes, then under your eyes, under your nose, on your chin, your collar bones, under your arms and the top of your head. Repeat the process a couple of times and reassess the emotional intensity.
NLP toolsNLP has a tonne of tools that can help break the emotional intensity too. You can create what;s known as an ‘anchor’ to anchor in the way you WANT to feel instead that you’re then able to access whenever you need it. For example, calm or confidence. It’s usually something you can create with an NLP practitioner, like moi. Examples can also be things like smells or songs that remind you of a time you felt something in particular so you can even listen to a song that you know makes you feel good beforehand. With NLP you can also change something, as in the way you FEEL about it, or the meaning you give it by working with submodalities. Submodalities are basically the building blocks to our experiences. What we see, hear, smell, taste among other finer distinctions that we don’t even know are there. You can work with these to completely change the way you look at or feel about an experience. It can change our state in an instant. For example, you will have visual submodalities linked to the way you feel, you’ll get an image, it’ll be near or far, you’ll be associated or disassociated (through your eyes, or watching yourself)bright or dim. You’ll have auditory submodalities linked to it, so what you hear or don’t hear, pitch, tempo. You’ll get a feeling, Is there pressure? Heat? Vibration? When you can elicit all of these you can change them by mapping them across onto a more preferable feeling and take away that emotional hold! It’s like magic! This is actually one of my favourite NLP techniques. The first time you try it it feels really strange because all of a sudden you realise this feeling that has such a hold over you can be a big red blob that you hold in your belly that swirls around and all sorts of weird and wonderful things come up. So, hopefully you can see there are a few potentially simple explanations for the thoughts and feelings you get, evidence that they will change over time and a tonne of things to think about or tools to use so you can start to shift all of it around. Thank you for reaching out and huge well done for deciding to do something about it. You’re amazeballs. And if anyone is listening/reading and you’re in the West Yorkshire area and looking for some new brows then make sure you check out the lovely Lorna! If you got value from this and you know in your gut that now is the time to step up and start rewiring your thinking and changing things for yourself then book in a free discovery call so we can work out what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the action taking success you know you can be!! If you want my eyes and ears on YOUR problems I work with people 1:1, through the Proactive Pants Programme and 1:1 full day intensives, stop waiting for if and when and decide to change things now! Fx Fran Excell, Subconscious Success Mentor – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com RESOURCES: Check out The Positive Pants Podcast here Download your FREE Stressed To Success Meditation here Shop Printables & Meditations here Grab your 365 day ‘Attitude Of Gratitude’ Journal here Grab Your ‘Positive Pants Firmly On’ Notebook here Book In a Free 20 Minute Discovery Call here