Trainers are only human – I know … can you believe it? So they suffer from the same adrenalin rushes, brain-freeze and performance anxiety as anyone else, especially if they are relatively new to the role. The more seasoned performers have simply managed to channel their nervous energy in a different direction.
Why the nerves? Your hypothalamus is the gland in the brain (around the size of a pea) which receives danger information from the brain. But unfortunately, it is unable to distinguish between real danger and perceived danger. This means your body is triggered to act in ‘fight or flight’ mode regardless. So what can you do to cope?
Expect the nerves: You don’t want them to go away – nobody won an Olympic gold without nervous adrenalin. For sudden sweats, wear clothes that are cotton-based, next to your skin, have a glass of water to hand, ensure the room temperature is on the cool side and use a good deodorant and mouthwash.
Anchoring: an anchor holds a ship steady and fast and prevents it drifting into dangerous waters. Psychological anchoring performs the same function for humans.
Psychological anchoring: close your eyes and think of a time when you felt great … confident and in charge of your life. Imagine that time again and recreate the way you behaved, paying attention to the small details. What did you look like, sound like, move like and think like? While you are doing this, curl your thumb into your palm, or choose another unobtrusive gesture that you can easily recreate ‘on stage’. When you realise that you are having pea-brain danger reactions, use this gesture again and it should trigger the good feelings of confidence once more.
Physical anchoring: includes wearing ‘stage clothes’ that signify that you are about to give a presentation/training session. Clothes that help you feel on top of your game when you are wearing them. Some people wear the same watch or bracelet, the act of donning these items triggering confidence in the same way your thumb-curl does.
Action Point: If you would like to control your own nerves more effectively or teach your training team how to do so, contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team.