Judith Hornok

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The Paralyzing Fear

Case Study of Paralyzing Fear: The Crucial Meeting

I know Tom, a Canadian businessman. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. Actually, he’s a very confident guy, a seasoned professional. But what he told me when we last met up, is maybe something, you too, have already experienced:

Decode the Moment

“I’m standing at the conference door. My throat is dry; my hands are sweating. The tie is much too tight and chocking me – I try to loosen it. I reach for the door handle, but I can’t grasp it. Something is preventing me from pressing down on it. My hand feels heavy, as if it were frozen. I can’t move it. Doubts surface. What I am about to do in the next hour will have an impact on my life. My bosses message was clear: If I don’t manage to convince the clients to sign this contract today, I can kiss my job good-bye. And again, I have this sensation in my throat. It’s like someone is strangling me, I’m gasping for air…“

Identify the Emotional Hinderer

© „Paralyzing Fear“ Judith Hornok

Attention: “Paralyzing Fear” has crept up on Tom and begins, even before he enters the conference room, to manipulate him. It bothers him with questions like “Am I really prepared for this meeting?” and “What’s going to happen?”. Then the doubt sent in: “It won’t be the first time I’ve failed. What if I do it again?” There’s no end to the thoughts spinning in his head: “It’s not looking good. It could get tricky…I’m sure we won’t sign a contract today!!!”

Sharpen your awareness – let the situation work for you

Before you even turn that doorknob and walk into the conference room, take advantage of the tips experts have to offer, so you can manage paralyzing fear before it gets the upper hand.

BADER’S TOOL BOX FOR FEAR MANAGMENT

The former ski jumper and expert in sport science Ferdinand Bader knows all types of fear from his active days as a competitive athlete. For example, the moment when the jumper is crouching on the ramp and looking down. Bader, who himself flew over 210 meters, faced the challenge head on, and put together – what he todays calls “a tool box for fear managment.” In 2014, he lent some of the methods from this tool box to Carina Vogt at the Olympic games in Sochi. That same year, Vogt became an Olympian medalist, the first in the history of women’s ski jumping.

A Tool from the Box: Practice Deep Breathing Techniques

Ferdinand Bader: “Even though most people know this, only a few actually do it: Breathing deeply helps relax you. Especially in stressful situations, we often forget this and our breaths tend to be very flat. That’s why it’s all the more important that the first thing you do is calm down, in order to concentrate 100% on the task at hand – be it a take-off down the hill, a difficult negotiation or a meeting.”

Ferdinand Bader suggests:

  • Sit down at a quiet place, where no one can disturb you.
  • Begin to breathe deeply and firmly from the bottom of your ribcage. The chest rises and falls: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, and exhale 4 seconds, hold the breath 4 seconds.
  • Concentrate on the breathing and apply the breathing exercises until you have calmed down and feel more relaxed.

Read about my experience with the fitness program for The Paralyzing Fear here.

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