Since I went to school my learning technique has been to memorize everything and cram for my exams. I was so stressed and nervous when I had an exam or any kind of recitation. Mx best feeling was afterwards: “It’s done, I made it, I got through!”. For me the peak of the process was the relief after the process.
Life is full of challenges, I don’t have to be a superhero. So I was anxious a lot. For me every place where I had to be good in something and others graded me (schools, University) were places to collect a mountain of discomfort.
Cram and be happy when I survived the exam - behind this inner mechanism there is lot of fear. I was afraid I wouldn't perform well. I was afraid what others will think of me. I was afraid I won’t be enough. But good things came out of my fear, anxiety and self-doubt! I had good grades. I became a good student and I became a good worker. I could work as hard as a camel: I could go day and night without fuel. I loved this in myself, I didn’t think this kind of working mechanism was something I wanted to change. Until four weeks ago.
In the last two months my publisher and I have been preparing to publish my book Inspired Parenting in the UK. My PR person started to organize interviews and the more she could schedule the more I started to worry. I was so afraid of speaking English, I couldn't even imagine how will I answer one question not to mention do a 48-minute podcast! At the end of January I got a letter that said that the BBC radio is open to do an interview with me. And there and then I knew I have to change my preparation style.
I can't prepare for a BBC interview like I've prepared for something big before! Memorize and cram what? The hall book? Or all tenses of all verbs?! I fall to pieces. What now?!? After a few hours I pull myself together and I decide: I will do my best and I will do it my way. My way is self-knowledge. How could I be someone else than who I am? How could I deal with challenges differently than I have in my entire life?! I wanted to enjoy my book launch and the interviews while I'm doing them. I didn't want to cripple myself with stress anymore. I wanted to feel in my gut that I can trust myself. I wanted to know in my heart that whatever happens it's enough if I reveal myself.
So I started to do guided meditations, movement meditations, yoga, and other things that make me move my body because motion and emotion are related. I started to seek questions and answers everywhere on how I can change my preparation style. I watched TED talks, MasterClasses, I read articles and I talked to a lot of people about this. The most important thing was that I was really open and motivated. I wanted to change so badly.
I found my barriers. For example I judged “easy” things. If something was easy I felt it isn't worth that much. Or another barrier: I could work hard in my entire life but resting was not easy for me. Or: I'm so familiar with stressing and worrying that enjoying something sometimes can be strange.
So I started to rewire myself. I worked on myself every morning for about an hour. I was like a warrior and I had to fight with myself. I had to deal with shame, anxiety, fear and other kinds of nasty stuff. I cried and sweat a lot.
Changing something in myself is harder than giving birth to twins.
“Was everything a success?” - people ask me now, after the launch and the interviews. It was! And not because of not making mistakes or surviving the BBC interview. For me the biggest success was that I could enjoy myself in the process and make changes in myself! It's a process so I'm not done. And meanwhile, I'm still who I was so I still can work really hard – thank God, because I came home and I still have 5 children...