- About You: I GET IT
It is hard to admit feeling anxious and panic. It can be embarrassing, and even depressing when YOUR ANXIETY messes up work, your ability to score a goal OR your relationship(s).
You’re the breadwinner and your family, your firm DEPENDS on you.
The feeling in your throat before you speak in a meeting, the racy heart that you hear in your ears, and the cold hands or sweats SUCK. BUT EVEN WORSE, is when you have convinced yourself that you will:
- fail the exam
- not play well when the coach puts you in
- lay awake all night WORRYING about the ‘What Ifs“
- Get into an argument with your boss, your partner, your spouse or co-worker BECAUSE of your anxiety
You can feel the FEAR in your gut: WHEN WILL the NEXT anxiety or panic attack strike.
Maybe it already has and you have HIT ROCK BOTTOM.
YOU want to see yourself successful. You want to BE successful. You want to be able to make that speech flawlessly, and FINALLY pass your exams at school or kick A$$ in the deposition you’re going to take or an ARGUMENT in court. You have seen others walk out of their exams, games, business meetings walking high on their heels, reeking of success and accomplishment.
You want an immediate fix BUT there is none. EVEN though you do YOGA, Meditate, Eat Well, Go to Therapy, you need more.
My outline approach is below.
2. About me:
Thirty years ago, when I was a Senior in College I had my first panic attack. I thought I was going crazy or having a bad drug or food reaction.
The panic attacks came back in law school.
Here is how I CRACKED THE CODE and why I started the Panic Project.
In sum, it does not have to be this way. Anxiety and fear are two of the BIGGEST wastes of time.
It’s just that no one ever told me. I had to find out on my own.
My Bad Dream Spring Semester Senior Year
It was in Spring semester, Senior year of College in Saratoga Springs. Snow was still piled outside my 12-story concrete dorm building. I was 21.
The world was my oyster. I was kicking ass grades-wise. I was on a Board of Trustee committee to select the new College President, had a couple of really good friends and was getting ready to head to Japan in the Fall. I was looking forward to spending Spring break skiing – actually floating- on deep powder in Aspen with my family. After I got back from Spring break, because I had a light course load and only thesis papers to write to graduate, it was “an easy put” (ie golf metaphor) to graduation. Here I am floating.
And yet, at 3 A.M. one night, out of nowhere, I woke up suddenly. My heart was pounding in my ears. I felt like it was going to pound right through my chest. I was hot, very hot. I felt my eyes flicking side to side –really fast – so fast it was painful. My neck and throat were so tight I couldn’t breathe. My body was in panic mode and I could not calm myself. I was breathing very fast, like I was running … only I wasn’t. I was frightened, but of what? I was alone and I had no fucking idea what was going on. Where was the other guy, the guy who could float on to top of deep powder who could speak confidently to a room full College Trustees? That guy was somewhere else. This part of me was freaking out.
For a split second, I had some clear thoughts. I wondered if (a) I was going crazy, or (b) I was having a drug flashback, or (c) a reaction to a drug or food. But I had not taken any drugs. I went to wash my face and saw that my neck, face and ears were flushed bright red. I was scared. I went back into my room and lay down. I had no idea how to get out of my head, to calm down and to regain control. If I was skiing, I was sliding over the ice and crashing hard into the mogul below or maybe even falling into the trees. I was completely out of control. My whole body shivered like I was in a freezer. I distinctly remember that my teeth were actually chattering. I was in a deep panic and I was afraid.
What I did not know until recently is that Elmo – yup – that Elmo – would have something to teach me and can teach you how to deal with my situation. But I will get to him later.
The Panic Project Addresses the Following:
As a business lawyer that fixes companies, I am often asked by business owner clients if over the past twenty years I have been able to detect the reason some are successful and some fail? Putting the operational challenges for a particular business idea aside, much of the key differences between “successful”, “thriving”, “master of the live action life”, “firing on all cylinders” folks and those that are stuck in cycles of failure exhibit four significant “practices” in their lives.
I have boiled these “practices” or skills sets down to (1) self-awareness; (2) I wish goal setting; (3) resilience; and (4) forgiveness. I had no idea that I completely lacked these practices when I began.
The Panic Project focuses on skill sets in each of these FOUR areas.