It’s okay to be nervous

Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager.  You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.  ~Steve Bull

I first heard this quote from my father when I was fourteen. It was the morning of my first practical exam for piano. I was very nervous. I was convinced that I was a phony, and that I would fall apart in the exam and my piano teacher would tell me that she could no longer teach me as I was talentless. I was shaking by the time I got into the car to go to school. My dad noticed and that’s when he told me that butterflies are okay as long as they are flying in formation. He had heard the quote from Jonty Rhodes, so I went into that exam still a little nervous but with visions of me doing extraordinary things the way Jonty Rhodes had become superman when he ran out Inzamam-ul-Haq in a World Cup match  in 1992. I passed that exam with distinction.

I feel nervous today. Tomorrow is my first day as a Senior SI Leader and I have to give a presentation. Once again, I’m feeling like a phony, like I am going to get up there and flounder through my presentation until my supervisor comes up and says there’s been a mistake – it wasn’t me they wanted to hire. I’m okay with feeling nervous. It means I care. It also means that I’m doing something I’ve never done before and that can only be room for growth. So when I get up to give up my presentation tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of Jonty Rhodes and getting my butterflies in fighting formation. I am going to give a great presentation because I know the material and I have practiced. But I’ll also be thinking about my dad. The older I get, the more I realise just how lucky I am to have him as a father. He’s always been there to remind me of my ability when I’ve doubted it. Anyway, doubts are traitors.

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