As I move toward working with more women in business, and am thinking about all the ways in which the Alexander Technique can support them in their work, I’ve been chatting with my friend Amira Alvarez, who used to be an Alexander Technique teacher and is now a business coach and mentor. We’ve been discussing the ways Alexander Technique now helps and supports her in the running of her business, and I’m planning on posting an interview with her about this next month.
In our discussions I remembered a blog post she wrote while she was still teaching Alexander Technique, which has a great message for all of us, and maybe especially for women in business as it’s so easy to go into overwhelm at everything that is thrown at us! She told me her students really liked back in the day, and she has generously shared the post with me for you all to enjoy!
There Is No Tiger
We all have fears – some small, some large. They could be fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, of public speaking, of networking or of talking to strangers. Fear of being late or changing lanes in traffic. Fear of talking to our boss or our partners. The fear of disappointing someone.
These are all fears that I’ve worked on myself or worked on with my students.
They all have something in common – how we respond to them. In fact, our response to them is how we know they are a fear.
Take changing lanes is traffic – one person may do it easily without tensing or feeling fear. Whereas another person clenches up, palms start sweating, breath gets short, neck tenses, and he generally gets anxious, stressed, and afraid. Same situation. Two totally different responses.
We know we’re afraid by the signals our bodies give us.
Common to all fear responses is tension in the neck. It’s part of the startle pattern, better known as “fight or flight.” You can learn to consciously release your neck in response to situations that you find scary. This frees you up and gives you a choice in how to respond. And this is one of the basic skills I teach – how to find choice.
One “mantra” I gave a student was: “There is no tiger.”
We chose this to symbolize that she didn’t need to overact and go into a full blown fight or flight response in reaction to her all daily activities.
So the mantra goes …
“There is no tiger… it’s only traffic.”
“There is no tiger… I’m only 10 minutes late.”
“There is no tiger… I’m only meeting a new person.”
“There is no tiger… I’m only changing lanes.”
“There is no tiger… it’s only a funny tone of voice.”
“There is no tiger… it’s only a deadline.”
“There is no tiger… it’s only the audience.”
“There is no tiger… it’s only confusion.”
“There is no tiger… it’s only ______.” You fill-in the blank.
Tip: implied in “There is no tiger” is the message “and I can let my neck be free, I don’t have to react like this.”
Now if there actually is a tiger, I can’t really help you. You might try making yourself look really BIG.
Let me know how this goes for you. How do you fill-in that blank? What’s your “tiger”?
If you have any comments for me or Amira, please leave them in the space below. As always, I’d love to hear from you.
And check out my Facebook page, if you’d like to find out what my “tiger” is!