Have you ever stood bathed in the floodlight of the fridge, unable to find anything in the slightly chaotic mess within, however long you stand and stare? You eventually close the fridge, with an exaggerated sigh of disappointment, because this time you really, really hoped that the fridge had the answer.
Nothing within has tempted you, because the truth is that you might feel a hunger within, but it is not a hunger for food.
Fridges keeps food cold. End of. Yet despite having a PhD in science coupled with decades of evidence to the contrary, I still search within that haloed light when I want to find the answer to anything that is out of kilter in my life.
My fridge has never claimed to have these powers. The instruction booklet did not say “open the fridge whenever you feel life isn’t going the way you want it to go” – well it might’ve done, but whoever reads the instructions for a fridge? Plug it in, put food in, put these somewhere safe and read them only if your fridge starts acting strangely (like having the answer to life’s deeper mysteries such as ‘Why the heck am I feeling like this?’)
I need is a neon light in my fridge that says “I don’t know why you’re feeling weird, but step away from the cheese”.
Feeling Weird Is So Well….
I find emotions hard to explain (my default term is “icky” which gives my husband zero clues on what he might be able to suggest to make me not-icky) but sometimes I find that feeling them is difficult too.
So instead of leaning into them, saying hello and listening to what pearls of wisdom they might have to add to my life, I have developed an unhelpful trait (and I believe I am not alone in this) of distracting myself with wine, ebay, shoes, craft, reading and more. All this despite decades of evidence proving that none of these things have ever, ever, made me feel anything more than lardy, hungover and broke.
The fridge cannot help, because I wasn’t searching for a sandwich. I was hungry for meaning, for joy, for purpose in my life. My mojo had left and being hungover wasn’t going to lure it back to join the pity party.
My Mojo Has Been Ignored
I have spent a great part of my life ignoring the more uncomfortable emotions, whilst constantly searching for those transient highs. They talked to me whilst I clasped my hands firmly over my ears and shouted “blah blah blah” at the top of my voice to drown them out. No wonder my mojo is in a bit of a frump. It’s not that I don’t feel them, in fact my emotional dial is tuned to “highly sensitive”, which may explain the apocalyptic hoarding of Frazzles around my house.
After decades of running from my emotions, I fear that I lack the expertise required to understand, interpret and accurately respond to them. How on earth will I learn this (surely complex) stuff when I am so far behind already?
Part of me is now considering researching psychology courses to help me understand myself better. Now that is what I call true commitment to distraction – three years of exams simply to avoid tuning into my emotions without reaching for a bottle of wine at the same time.
Put the Corkscrew Down
It’s time Emma. It’s time to find ways to make space and time for my emotions rather than shutting them out. To embrace the ones that make me feel icky. To find more words than icky to describe how I am feeling. To walk past the fridge without searching for the answers inside.
It’s time to discover what I am really hungry for.
The next time you find yourself staring into the fridge for the answers, why not try shutting the door, finding a place by yourself and simply breathing. You never know what you might discover.
Think about an event that is truly memorable from your past – something more than five years ago that you can remember as if it were yesterday…Got it?
Chances are that the experience was very emotional – births, deaths, marriages, winning a Gold medal at the Olympics or Paralympics….
If you want your audience to remember your presentation in ten years’ time, as if it were yesterday, then you need to create a powerful experience that is rich in emotions.
Think Disney Theme Parks.
Rides can entail long queues that could easily ruin their guest’s experience – boredom can turn into annoyance, quarrelling and worse. If that happens, what is the chance you will recommend it or want to return? None!
Disney wants you to enjoy your visit, including the queues, so they design music, audio, sound effects, lighting, video etc to keep the tension building, so you remain excited and curious about what is about to happen. They don’t leave anything to chance.
Disney have thought about and designed things to create a fun experience wherever you are in their theme park. And you should do that too, when you’re presenting.
Think about creating curiosity at the start of your presentation – drawing them in with a question, teasing them with the start of a story, or showing them how their life could be better…
“What’s the best way to make your audience curious? I’ll tell you later…”
If you want to create change, you may need to tap into a powerful motivational force – their frustration, their pain, the things that really annoy your audience. You might also encourage them to reflect on how they might feel if that pain was no longer in their life.
Near the end of your presentation, you will want your audience to feel confident and empowered, so that they are more likely to leave thinking “Yes, I am going to do that”.
Plan their Emotional Journey
Long after your words have faded, long after your audience have forgotten what you wore, the slides you used, or even where they heard you, you want them to remember how you made them feel.
So before you open your laptop or software, map out how you want them to feel throughout your presentation – from start to finish, and the bits in-between.