Relax into Success
Have you ever had a looming deadline that was approaching fast? One you’ve had plenty of time to address but for some reason you just couldn’t get focused to make the progress you desired? It’s a common situation – work, home or school – they all place expectations on us to deliver, typically by a specific date and time.
I’m not a procrastinator! In school I was the one that started on the project when it was assigned and while working at Procter & Gamble I met new challenges head on. I found myself in a rare situation last week while on vacation with Anita in Pagosa Springs, Colorado – I had entered the Toastmasters International Speech competition and did not have a speech written NOR rehearsed 3 days before the competition.
Anita and I spent 5 days in beautiful Pagosa Springs, situated at an altitude of about 8600 ft in the San Juan Mountains. Pagosa is the home to the largest natural hot springs in the country. After dinner we watched movies and headed to the springs right before they close in the evenings to relax in the pools of warm water (we like the ones that are between 102 – 107F) while enjoying the beautiful winter evenings together.
On our last evening we watched the movie Air Force One before heading to the springs. The final scene in which Harrison Ford is pulled aboard the rescue plane has always been one of my favorites. While relaxing in the Tranquility pool while waiting for Anita I reflected on the message and the speech I’d yet to write. I had a potential title for my speech and wondered if I could fit the learning from the movie into a speech topic.
Anita arrived and my focus changed to enjoying our time together. It had been unseasonably warm during our stay but a big storm was predicted for the following morning – exactly as we’re scheduled to be driving over Wolf Creek pass at 10,876 ft! On our way back to the condo, Anita suggested that we shower and pack the car to get a jump on the drive. We were both anxious to return home so that sounded like a great idea. We left Pagosa at 1:15 AM with the intention of stopping in Alamosa 2 hours away. After reaching Alamosa I was fully awake and proposed that we make a run for Colorado Springs about 3 hours away. Anita agreed and off we drove.
The next section of the drive is flat, with very few cars so the driving was very easy. We were listening to Classic Vinyl on XM radio and my mind returned to Air Force One and my speech. Suddenly the speech became clearer in my head and I started rehearsing it to myself in the car. I went through it once, provided myself some constructive feedback and went through it again. Sure I stored it a few times to chat with Anita or sing a great song, but the combination of a relaxing soak in the hot springs, the relief of getting over the pass before the storm, listening to music I enjoy and pleasant conversations with Anita allowed me to relax myself into a great speech.
I delivered the speech I created in the car at my TV Toastmasters meeting 2 days later and won the competition! I’ll be trying this technique again, relieving my mind of the stress to deliver and relaxing into success. Do you think it’ll work for you as well?