E is for Feeling At Ease By Reframing Nervousness As Excitement

How can you deal with situations in which you may get nervous? Simon Sinek describes one approach in the interview above which he gave to the organisation called Capture Your Flag.

You can discover more about that organisation via the following link. This is followed by a link to Simon’s website.



Simon explains how athletes sometimes reframe nervousness as excitement. They look forward to the possibility of performing and doing their best. Let’s consider how to make this happen.

Looking ahead, can you think of a situation where you would like to feel at ease and excited rather than nervous? This could be in your personal or professional life.

You may want to do this when tackling a challenge, leading a project, giving a keynote speech, talking on television, playing a sport or whatever.

Looking ahead, can you think of what it is possible to get excited about in the situation? One politician, for example, took this approach before taking part in a debate.

Below is a paraphrase of what they said. The words are mine, rather than theirs, but these express the spirit of what they said.

I reframed the debate as an opportunity to explain my positive policies for the country. I wanted to highlight when people had worked well together and how we could do that in the future.  

The people opposing me in the debate wanted to drag the discussion into the gutter. They planned on attacking me and the other participants in the debate.  

Many politicians use the phrase: ‘We go high when others go low.’ I actually aimed to take this step.  

Whilst prepared to give answers to any attacks, I preferred to then quickly switch to outlining practical ways forward. I aimed to bring these to life with examples that would resonate with the audience.  

Looking ahead, I felt excited about the chance to outline the future possibilities for people in our country.  

Different people reframe things in different ways to focus on excitement rather than nervousness. You will have your own approach.

Looking at my own life, for example, I have frequently been in situations that have involved pitching for business. Because of my background – being an educator rather than sales person – the approach has been:

To see the meeting as the chance to share ideas that could help the potential client to achieve success rather than it being a competitive situation.

To get excited about sharing these ideas with the client and encouraging them to achieve success.

To focus on what I can control in the situation – such as preparing properly – and then doing my best to share ideas that will help the client to achieve success. 

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things. 

Describe a specific situation where you would like to feel more at ease by reframing nervousness as excitement.  

Describe the specific things it is possible to get excited about in the situation.



Ease and Excellence

People often do good work when they perform the specific activities in which they feel at ease and yet are able to excel. They may do this when encouraging people, teaching a seminar, renovating a house, fixing a certain kind of problem, leading a particular project or whatever.

Great workers also combine what – at first sight – appear to be paradoxical qualities. They feel at ease and yet are fully alert. They are relaxed and yet disciplined. They see the big picture and yet also see the details.

Sports psychologists, for example, help athletes to feel relaxed and channel their energy in a positive way. The athlete must prepare by putting in all the hard work. On the day of the competition, however, they need to relax and embrace the pleasure – rather than worry about pressure – in order to perform.

Gregg Steinberg has written about how to balance relaxation and intensity. Below are extracts from a piece he wrote for the Professional Golf Association Tour website. You can discover more via the links below the piece.

In an interesting experiment with Olympic runners, they were asked to run the first race at 100 percent intensity level (or in other words, they were asked to try as hard as they can).

In the second race, the runners were asked to give 90 percent (or in other words, they were asked to try easier).

Amazingly, they ran faster at the 90 percent intensity level.

Gregg suggests that golfers take the following steps to perform at their best.

Develop a personalized scale of intensity level ranging between zero-100 (based upon a 10-point scale).

Make zero being completely flat with very low intensity and 100 being totally amped up and a very high level of intensity.

Recall two or three events you played really well on the golf course and rank your intensity level.

Some golfers may play their best at 60 while others may play their best at 80. Everyone is unique and you must find your best intensity level.

Discover ways to get into your best intensity level.

If you play your best golf at lower levels of intensity, then use techniques such as imagery and breathing to get calmer.

If you play your best when amped up, then use techniques to get more pumped up.

Perhaps an easy slap on the thigh during your pre-shot routine can create a pump in your intensity level.



Gregg underlines that each person is different. Below is a summary of some of themes that a person can follow to feel at ease and yet do their best. You will have your own approach to doing great work.



Let’s return to the situation in which you would like to reframe nervousness as excitement. You may wish to do this when going for an interview, making a transition, tackling a challenge, embarking on a project or whatever.

What are things you can get excited about in the situation? What can you do to feel at ease? What can you do to prepare properly? What can you do to then be fully present and do your best?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things. 

Describe a specific situation where you would like to feel more at ease by reframing nervousness as excitement.  

Describe the specific things you can do to feel more at ease and do your best in the situation. 

Describe the specific benefits of taking these steps and doing your best in the situation.




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