I thought I’d do a follow up on last week’s “Suck It Up” post
. Another phrase that I often find myself repeating is that, “the show must go on.” I don’t find myself saying it as often as “suck it up,” but I do have a “show much go on” moment every couple of months.
I have those moments when things feel terribly overwhelming and my first reaction is to BAIL and to bail fast. I definitely fall into the flight category when it comes to fight or flight. When I’m under a ton of pressure for a big project, my first reaction is to leave my desk in the dust and find a cabin in the middle of nowhere. If I’m in a meeting and it’s uncomfortable or high-stress or I just don’t think it’s going well, there’s always a voice screaming in the back of my head telling me to run for the hills. When my workload feels unbearable or simply undoable, I just want to give up.
And I don’t think I’m the only one… however, the show must go on.
When I learned how to ski this past winter
, the hardest hurdle to overcome mentally was that first ledge where the mountain starts sloping down. It always looks like a cliff, until you go down and you realize it’s not so bad when you’re taking it an inch at a time. From behind, that ledge looks terrifying, but it never ends up being as bad as it looks. Plus, if it is steep, the worst case scenario is that you fall, pick yourself back up, and get back on your feet. The show must go on.
Similar to that ski ledge, sometimes you just have to push the the hard part to get a little clearance for the other side, where things aren’t that bad.
One of the biggest fight or flight moments I’ve experienced this year was back in March when I spoke at the Teen Vogue FashionU conference
. While I speak on panels frequently, this one had me extra nervous. I think it was the “Teen Vogue” name that had me on edge. Excited, but quite anxious. I couldn’t even open the email with questions to practice because it made me so nervous.
Well, the day of the conference comes around and thankfully (seriously) Garrett came with me. He doesn’t normally come, but I asked him to because I needed someone to help keep me calm. In the cab ride downtown to One World Trade Center, I felt sick to my stomach. Long story short, we were there an hour early and the knot in my stomach continued to grow and grow as we were waiting in the green room. Finally it was 15 minutes to show time. I truly wanted to leave as my anxiety had grown tremendously and I was starting to feel sick. Gulp.
The rest of the panelists, a few Teen Vogue staffers, Andrew Bevan
, a handful of conference goers, Garrett, and I loaded into the elevator. We had to go down sixty something floors, switch elevator banks, and then back up thirty something floors to where the panel was being held. Guys, there’s no pretty way to put this: I threw up while we were going up. I was literally clamping my mouth shut with my hand as vomit dripped down my arm waiting for the elevator to stop and for everyone to exit the elevator.
Once everyone was off, the elevator started going back down and I basically threw up the entire way down. You know how I wanted to leave? Well now I was ready to run out of the building. I was mortified, not feeling great, and didn’t want to go in front of 100 people to talk! But the show must go on.
I went to the bathroom, washed out my mouth, went through what felt like an entire container of soap… and walked into the room like nothing had happened. (Miraculously, only one Teen Vogue employee witnessed the ordeal, but everyone else had no idea!) Sure, I didn’t feel awesome throughout the panel, but I still made it happen. I could have easily let my uneasy stomach dictate whether or not I stayed and I could have easily let the elevator incident be the nail in the coffin for the conference as far as my participation was concerned. But the worst had happened and I still ended up having a great day.
The next eight weeks are really going to be pretty crazy for me and I’m already feeling like I want to just abandon everything and move to the middle of nowhere. I know I won’t actually do that, so the show must go on!