Back in January I was asked at short notice by a friend if I could cover the yoga session at her New Year Retreat. She was feeling under the weather. I was honoured to be asked.
On checking my diary, I could see I was free and without much hesitation I said yes. The hesitation, procrastination, rumination, monkey mind chatter………. all of that came next.
Panic set in - this was her event, that she’d planned, people would be expecting her to be running the session. How was I going to live up to that expectation!
To top it off I would be guiding over 50 people, the maximum number I had taught was 20.
My friend kindly said that she would sort out the playlist, which I thought was great as it would be one less thing for me to think about. But I’d never put a yoga sequence together with a playlist – my music in class had always been ‘gentle background noise’ rather than a theme for a class 😊
I spent the next few days working out my plan, took myself out of my comfort zone to style things a bit differently – trying to ‘emulate’ a bit of the style of my friend – what I believed in my mind would be expected by the guests.
I received the playlist and tried to fit my plan to it – but it didn’t all sit with my style. Terrified to change it, but realising that while I wanted to give the guests what I thought they would be expecting, to able to deliver an authentic session it had to resonate with me. So much against the voice in my head going “are you sure”, I chose to swap in some of my own music choices and then nervously sent my playlist back.
The evening before the event we had a catch-up call and it was only then that I found out not only would I be up in front of 50+ people I would be wearing a mic. Now it was ok for me to be in my bedroom or kitchen singing into a hairbrush but talking and guiding 50+ - yes 50+ people through a yoga session all miked up was a totally different thing………. Or so I thought.
The big day arrived, that feeling of ‘creeping death’ was hanging over me as the hours passed by before it was my turn to step up. All miked up feeling like Madonna about to do her first live performance of ‘Like a Virgin’ ! The music started and away we went – adrenaline pumping we started shaking hands and arms, legs and feet to get the energy flowing – surprisingly the nerves started to settle – I allowed things to just flow.
Were there bits I forgot? Yes
Were there pieces of music that went on much longer than my so called ‘choreographed’ moves? Oh yes.
Did that stop me? Surprisingly No. Something just took over and I went with it.
Did anyone notice if anything had gone wrong? No
I had a ball and loved every minute of it.
I am so very grateful for the opportunity.
I am grateful for the fear, because without it I wouldn’t have stepped outside my comfort zone.
More importantly I am grateful for the learned lesson of ‘just be yourself’.
In this age where our anxieties and fears can be exacerbated by external pressures from peers to social media and frequently stop us from doing something that we may enjoy and be good at, my advice is that some fear is good – it heightens our awareness in a good way – it allows us to push our boundaries and edges and enables us to grow and find that new edge – which then opens us up to more opportunities.
So my advice - feel the fear, do it anyway and be yourself.