Chapter 3. Understanding Your Five Mind States

Imagine that you are sitting at a conference table with three colleagues and three outside business contacts. You were asked to present a five-minute description of your role in the company. Each of your colleagues will take a turn doing so. You are scheduled to go third. Your turn comes. What are you telling yourself?

  1. "People want to hear what you have to say."

    • "If you seem nervous, they won't mind. They may not even notice!"

    • "Just do the best you can. Your contribution is valuable."

    • "There's opportunity here."

  2. "You have to be perfect."

    • "You don't know what you're talking about."

    • "You are a failure."

  3. "My hands are cool. My heart rate is increasing."

    • "It's my turn to describe my role."

    • "I am doing what I was assigned to do."

  4. "If people can see I'm nervous, it's the end of the world."

    • "I'd better stick to my notes. If I say something spontaneously, I could mess up."

    • "If I fail, I am probably worthless."

  5. "It's fun to share knowledge."

    • "I like talking and listening."

    • "I am in the zone."

As you imagine yourself sitting there at that conference table, just seconds before you start to speak, which of these internal scripts sounds most familiar to you? Which ones are least familiar? What do you tell yourself when this type of situation comes up?

Glance over the internal scripts again. You probably hear Script 2 and Script 4 more strongly than the rest. In people with workplace anxiety, those two internal scripts dominate. One is telling you that you will mess ...

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