Note 55: On performance anxiety

All of life’s a stage and all that

What’s up?

So first off: I got the results for the first of my 3-part MRCPsych exams—and I passed! That said, I was already prepping for the second part, and had to pause so I could actually celebrate it with the group of psychiatrists I’ve been prepping with. I’m too easily prone to moving on to the next thing and this was a chance to remind myself how important it is that I celebrate.

What have you done recently that you worked for, and did you celebrate it? If you’re like me and easily prone to focusing on how far you have to go instead of how far you’ve come, what will you do to get better at celebrating? One thing that’s helped me is recognising that celebrating doesn’t have to be big, it just needs to be meaningful to you. And it also doesn’t matter if you aren’t feeling particularly celebratory: just the act of celebrating is a way to tell your brain, this matters.

Speaking of things you tell your brain, I’m trying to get again into a daily photography groove: a photo every day, to train my eyes to see differently. Here’s one from this week that I liked:

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Performer for life (essay)

This week, I wrote about performing. One of the things I love about writing is that it’s a great way to put stuff out at my own pace, unlike speaking which is more live, and you would typically have an audience evaluating you right in the moment. I’m much better at it now, but it’s taken my lifetime to get to feel any confidence about it, and even now I struggle still. This week’s essay is a bit about that journey. Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve never been a natural performer.

And I mean that in the most general sense. As a child I wouldn’t even raise my hand in class even if no one else knew the answers and I did. And it wasn’t even so much out of any fear of being considered a nerd. It was that it felt like it would be a performance: I’d have to stand up to the glare of everyone’s eyes while I gave words to whatever I thought the answer was. 

Far easier to just say nothing.

I did it in Sunday school, too. One teacher caught on to me and started calling on me specifically when questions went unanswered. I still recall one time he asked about St Luke’s profession and I happened to be the only one who knew he was a physician. I recall it because of how tense I felt in the moment. But he was nice about it, and would later tell my mum (also a Sunday school teacher) he thought I had more to offer if I could get over my shyness.

I didn’t until my final year in uni.

You can read the rest of the essay here: Giving the performance of my life

Medical marketing (quote)

I really resonate with this for the obvious reasons. It’s not something you really learn about in school, though. What aspect of what you do at work did you learn only in the job?

Rich and poor (proverb)

One rich person plus six poor people equals seven poor people.

A friend used to say this often when I was in uni. It’s more than about money: on the surface it’s about the impact of who you surround yourself with, and the effect they have on you. But on a deeper level it’s also about the fact that you are really only as well off as those around you. The true wealth is in our relationships.

Talk soon,

Doc Ayomide

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