Why You Should Be Giving Yourself a Pep Talk Before + After the Event
BY ERICA MULLER
We all know the drill – a big presentation, a job interview, a first date + we are psyching ourselves up for it:
I’m perfect for this.
I’ve worked so hard on this.
They’re going to love me.
This speech is so funny everyone is going to be rolling on the floor.
I. Can. Do. This.
We give ourselves a pep talk. Then we get through the presentation, interview, first date, etc. and immediately move on with our lives, OR we start overthinking, and our thoughts quickly go from:
OMG I’m so proud of myself!
I got a standing ovation!
The boss said they would call me tomorrow!
I think we really hit it off!
I think I paused too long after that question.
Why would they hire me? There were six other girls in the waiting room perfect for the job.
I can’t believe I forgot that one line.
I was too awkward, and she could feel that.
And on and on it goes. We spiral. We let our thoughts take over and ruin what was actually a great thing because we’re missing an essential step. Remember the pep talk we gave ourselves before the event? We need one after too. And here’s why:
When you prepare for anything you deem as a big event, two things usually happen. The first is you pump yourself up; you are reminding yourself why you are perfect for whatever it is you’re about to do. The second is getting nervous. As the nerves creep in, your heart rate and cortisol levels rise. Now don’t get me wrong, nerves are a GOOD thing. Nerves signal to you that you’re about to do something that you care about and is important to you.
You go out and give the speech, presentation or have the date, and as soon as you’re done, your cortisol levels start to plummet. This causes an intense crash-like feeling which is why you start questioning everything that just happened.
To prevent this from happening, you need to give yourself another pep talk. For this pep talk, here’s what needs to happen:
1. Name 3 good things
Give yourself factual evidence of 3 good things you did during the event. Example: I had a really great answer to the question they asked me about xyz because ________. I felt so good when everyone laughed at this joke because ________. I was confident in speaking about my experience and why I would be a perfect fit for this job because _________. Specifics matter! Don’t gloss over them!
2. Explain to yourself why you are proud
Talk through why you are proud that you gave the presentation, had the job interview, went out on the blind date, etc. Maybe you’re shy and it’s a big deal to go on a blind date. Celebrate that!
3. Find one improvement
Find one thing you can improve upon for next time you’re in a similar situation. Maybe you spoke really quickly, and next time you could take a breath, center yourself, and speak slowly with confidence. Maybe you couldn’t think of the perfect answer to a question, and next time have some stories ready in your back pocket that could be told in different situations. You can’t prepare for everything, but giving yourself a leg up will always help.
4. Let it go
Let it go. It’s over! Great! Now that you’ve taken 5 mins to reflect. Leave it be and move on the next exciting part of your day. Getting coffee at your favorite spot after the job interview, taking off your make-up, and crawling into bed after the date. Whatever it is, do something you enjoy and see it as your reward.
Following these steps keeps your cortisol levels from plummeting because you are walking yourself through your emotions and thoughts in order. Your cortisol will slowly lower, and you won’t feel a crash. This prevents the spiraling of fears and keeps you feeling empowered and proud of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.