When I graduated, I ended up working in a small office as the marketing person. It was my first real job and I didn’t want to screw up.
THE FOUR SCARIEST WORDS
I got to work one morning and I was unexpectedly pushed into a meeting room whilst my manager said: “We need to talk.” What’s the obvious thing to do other than to panic upon hearing such a daunting phrase?!
My heart started pounding faster and faster, second by second. I was feeling hot and I started sweating. I had no idea what was about to happen or what this meeting was about. I did not even know there was a meeting! I was walking into the room thinking to myself: “Oh dear me… What have I done now?!”
Not that I would do anything to get myself in trouble, but I automatically assumed I did something wrong. I immediately tried to calm myself down: “It’s probably nothing. Just. Stop. Worrying.”
And as I was sat there, sweating lakes and oceans trying to focus on the conversation, I couldn’t help but panic even more as my manager, with a rather serious voice, all of a sudden said: “Please don’t worry too much, we just want to…” and I stopped listening right there.
LISTEN BEFORE REACTING
Just for a brief second a thousand terrifying thoughts came to my mind: “What if I get fired?! What if I’ve done something horrible?” Even when I know I hadn’t yet panic mode was now on at a different level: my breathing was heavier, my heart was beating so fast it was about to pop out of my chest, my whole face was numb and I was shaking like a leaf in the wind.
It felt like I was having a mini heart attack. So I took a slow, deep breath to quiet my mind and calm my body. That’s when I snapped out of the panic state and I heard: “We want to thank you for your hard work and give you a pay rise.”
What? Where did that come from? I was completely speechless. That was so unexpected! I couldn’t believe it! I had just pictured the worst when I was simply being acknowledged for my work!
I went from a mini heart attack to a feeling of happiness in a split second. Turns out, it was just me and not my job. I was overthinking everything and panicking over the unknown.
WHAT I LEARNT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE:
It’s important not to let your thoughts eat your brain. If we lived in a world of ‘what ifs’, we would all be crazy.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. I was always thinking I’ve done something wrong when I hadn’t.
When the unexpected happens, wait for it to be over and then see if you actually need to panic – I panicked for absolutely nothing and I probably looked as scared as a rat in a house fire, not knowing the fire wasn’t even there to begin with!
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