Monday, I presented my “Stress: Tips and Tricks For Increasing Your Threshold” as one of the workshops at a conference. I created a “small” 43 slide PowerPoint presentation ready to blow the attendees’ minds. I tend to fear Mr. Murphy and one of the things I learned from Toastmasters was to have a back-up way to do your presentation should something go wrong. I was on plan D before we got my presentation working, and my stress response went through the roof…
The Presentation Fiasco
I knew there was going to be a TV or a projector for me to use. So I brought my laptop and a thumb drive with my presentation (redundancy. Check.). Important moment in the story… I said PowerPoint.
I arrive at the location with plenty of time to set-up and get my mindset focused. I find out what room and learn I will be using a TV…connected to an Apple computer…
I knew right away I was going to have challenges when the tech guy couldn’t log on to the computer with any of the 3 admin options. I say to him, don’t worry I have my laptop, but turns out they don’t have a VGA cord.
So back to getting logged on to the computer to use the thumb drive. The tech finally gets a hold of someone with the log on password. We go to load my presentation only to learn the computer (remember it’s an Apple) doesn’t have PowerPoint, it’s brand new and doesn’t have much installed.
We spend another five minutes downloading Open Office so I can display my presentation. Literally, my session is now supposed to start, fortunately it was right after lunch so people were trickling into the room. My stress response was in full gear.
File download complete…
The tech guy doesn’t have the password to install software. *Face Palm*
Plan B is now out the window. I grab my paper copy thinking we can get copies made to pass out (I thought I was ready for Mr. Murphy). I notice the stack of papers is a little thin to have 43 slides in it, even in outline format.
Yup, only half the presentation printed. The other half was sitting back at my office. The tech guy has completely abandoned trying to use the computer and disappeared. He mumbled something about finding a laptop that has the connections he needs.
So my presentation on stress had me stressed out of my mind. I was totally practicing one of the best stress reducing techniques to keep calm during this 20-30 minutes of IT torture…breathing. I was constantly going back to a simple breathing drill to lower my blood pressure and calm my mind.
Fifteen minutes after the presentation was supposed to start with 15-20 people sitting in a semi-circle waiting expectantly, Plan D presented itself. In addition to the computer, the TV had an Apple TV hooked up to it.
Yes, I am a PC guy at heart, but my wife is an Apple gal…and so obviously my home is outfitted with all Apple products.
Including myself with an iPhone (I will never admit it to her, but I do like the phone).
I email myself the presentation, open in it in the Safari browser on my iPhone, and mirror my phone to the Apple TV…BOOM! Presentation was in business. I had to scroll through it, not ideal, but Safari did a great job fitting it to the screen (You may be an avid Apple user and want to tell me that Keynote is on my phone and will play PowerPoint…my stress response was clouding my logical thinking 😉
What would your stress response be?
Imagine for a minute you are in my shoes. You have 75 minutes to entertain and educate a group of individuals who came from around the country with only half your slide deck in a PowerPoint outline. I was a sweaty, high blood pressure mess inside, but using my breathing I was able to focus my mind to calm my nerves.
Last week, I posted about stress and the body’s response to perceived stress. Here is a picture to help illustrate it, but basically remember that during high stress the front part of your brain shuts down. This is the area that controls your decision making, so as the stress increases, your judgment begins to fade.
Breathing provides a great way to interrupt the stress response. Using breath, you are able to lower your blood pressure and use your nervous system to turn off the flight or fight response.
It is something you can implement today to lower your stress or better respond to stressful situations.
Today, I want to teach you the Box Breathing (Tactical Breath) Technique.
Watch the following training Mark Devine, SealFit does for Barbell Shrugged (starts at 0:41 seconds). Better yet, take the next 10 minutes to follow along as Mark leads you through the breathing drills.
“Calm the body, calm the mind” ~ Mark Devine
I challenge you to try using the Box Breathing technique today. And especially the next time your stress response kicks into gear!
What is your favorite way to turn off the stress response?
Inhale, 1,2,3,4,hold, 1,2,3,4,exhale, 1,2,3,4,hold, and repeat!