How To Stop Anxious Anticipation From Ruining Your Plans

This simple swap is all it takes.

Martina D.
2 min readSep 26, 2022


Easily said. Harder to do. But true. /Photo: author

I’ve chickened out of interviews. I’ve cancelled dates, dinners, and days out. I mostly regretted it after, every time.

I’m not talking about cancelling a night out because you’re so exhausted from the week that you’re dozing off and falling into a pile of clouds while walking home. No. That’s self care.

It’s the times when just thinking about what’s upcoming has you feeling twitchy and tense, like a damsel trapped in a maze while hyper on one too many caffeine pills.

My boyfriend has a friend who often plays piano on stage to crowds of thousands. He once told me he used to get days-long stage fright in anticipation of a performance. See, when he first started, he was in it for his talent, not for the eyeballs.

He said he used to make up scenarios about what could go wrong. You know, like falling off his chair, shoelace getting caught on the pedals, a blackout deleting the entire piece from his memory. It used to kill him to the point he would step on the stage covered in sweat and shivering.

Yet if you were sat in the audience you wouldn’t know, because in the end he was always excellent.

This swap saves you from missing out

So, he finally thought, it’s time I cut myself some slack.

He found a trick to stop being miserable and start being cheerful. Since his sharing it’s been doing wonders for me too. It stops me from saying no to things just because I might be feeling like a bag of nerves.

It’s simple yet powerful:

Swap the horror scenarios for best-case scenarios.

Whenever you feel a gravely anticipation coming up, force yourself to change it to rainbows.

I don’t see it as fake positivity or something, but more as actually giving yourself enough credit to presume that you might as well do well.

Picture yourself a success, and it gives you confidence. Be realistic. Focus on all the things making the win more likely for you. Your talent, your skills, your charm, your sense of humor. What else do you have others don’t?

Be messy, and complicated, and afraid, but show up anyway.

And if you do screw up…

If you open a door and then it closes, it just wasn’t the door for you.

But you’ve learned from trying to open it. And you’ll use what you’ve learned when you’re facing the next threshold. Until you find the opportunity that’s fit for what you need. Guaranteed.

If you don’t do, you don’t find.

Don’t let horror scenarios stop you. They’re fiction. It’s fifty fifty.

Give yourself the benefit of the fifty.

Story 6 of 45

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Martina D.

Building my small one-person business UP. Publishing & writing books for both print and audio. 📍London