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Star Jumps & Dog Shakes

When I worked in the third sector as an employability coach, one of the bits of advice I would give to clients who were preparing for an important interview or meeting, was to ensure that – when the nerves kick in- they find some space and have themselves some star jumps or wiggles. This would usually be followed with a bit of a confused face and then question “do you do that?”. The response, by me,, was always Yes! (And I still do)…. Often following this affirmation with a demonstration of me re-enacting the star jumps, much to their surprise.

Indeed, a bit of movement was all I needed to shift the attention of an unhelpful emotion, into a space where I had the freedom to access something that would be more useful. In this moment, I gained more choice!

Funnily enough, I have recently heard a few of my coaching friends use the same example as each other relating to a similar analogy …. That being of a dog’s ability to sort itself out and let go of unwanted feelings- shaking itself off after over-excitement, or a reaction to fear…. to reset itself. Its so true, the only reason I know that my own dog has “calmed” down after demonstrating his best pogo impression at the sight of another dog…. is when he stops and gives a good shake to reset his attention and manage his state back to calm so we can continue our walk.

Before I really learned about emotional state and energy I hadn’t realised that my advice, to do star jumps, was simply a technique I had developed to manage my own state and reset myself back into something more resourceful, functional…in the situation of an exciting/terrifying interview environment.

Redirecting and dispersing the giddy/nervousness resulted in clarity and calm; enabling me to access a more useful, measured dose of adrenaline. In turn, considering and responding effectively in an interview environment.

Now I appreciate that doing a star jump in the toilet or busting out a shimmy as you walk toward the door of the interview room could, for some people, be wayyyyyy out of the comfort zone….I get that and I have good news. There are loads of subtle and effective ways to learn to manage your energy/emotions! Get the best for you at the right time, when you need it. And that’s where coaching is brilliant….. The best thing being, learn it in a session and you have a variety of techniques to take and use in the wider world. Whether it’s an interview for the job you long to get or the meeting you want to put your point across in, without bumbling over your words. .. Learning about this stuff is easy and fun and often life changing.

For many clients, learning the ways to identify, shift and utilise the range of emotions we have can be the pinnacle of achieving goals, exploring opportunities and just generally having a better experience of the things we want to do more of.

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