I’ve needed it recently: that little mechanism called the ‘Tigger Switch’.
It’s a term coined by a friend of mine and it’s named after the bouncy and enthusiastic character in Winnie-the-Pooh. The friend, who has a high pressure job in leadership training, says she turns on her Tigger Switch when she has to give empowering speeches. This little ploy apparently works even when she’s feeling tired and depleted.
Following her example, I have now located my own Tigger Switch. And what a powerful tool it’s turned out to be! As somebody who always struggles with performance nerves, I’ve been fostering a feel-the-fear-but-do-it-anyway attitude for many years. Before playing harp in public I have a battle with Wimpy Me every single time, and it’s only by not giving myself any choice in the matter that I manage to perform at all. But recently there’s been an added challenge: health issues. My diagnosis has finally come through (not gout after all!) and I now have a new set of medications to take, but they haven’t started working yet. And I’ve been feeling pretty grotty (understatement). However, there have been a plethora of solo gigs that simply couldn’t be cancelled e.g. a recital for the birthday celebration of a 100-year-old woman, a fund-raising concert for Amnesty International and a talk about my novel - complete with harp-playing - at Appledore Book Festival. Each of these gigs was important in a different way. Because 100 is impressive, eh? Because Amnesty International does such vital work. Because it's a huge privilege to do an event at Appledore. So I desperately wanted to give my best. Before each of these events I felt exhausted, ill and wobbly…
I flipped on my Tigger Switch. I got rid of Wimpy, Wobbly Me and temporarily became Bouncy Me. And something amazing happened. Once I’d started, the adrenalin worked wonders. The support I felt from the audience worked wonders, too. By the end of the performance I was not only stunned at what I’d managed to do, I was feeling physically better as well!
Signing books at Appledore after the event
Of course, the Tigger Switch can't be used all the time, and I was in a state of collapse when I got home. But that doesn't matter. I now know that - whatever the circumstances - when necessary, I can ROAR!!!