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5 Highly Effective Ways to Manage Nerves

5 Highly Effective Ways to Manage Nerves

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Julian Parker

On two occasions only have I ever been self aware enough to understand that I was nervous before interviewing for a job; the day I swore my oath as I joined the Royal Marines and the day I decided to move to London to start a new role and in essence, a new life away from the comfort of 'home'.

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Granted joining the Marines wasn't exactly a 'job interview', but I will never forget the impact of the words, delivered with a piercing precision, our Commanding Officer said to us that day...

"I can feel them. Your nerves. If you are nervous then good! It means you are making the right decision, you want this more than anything else."

It is probably one of the first questions I ask my candidates before they go in to interview and when they say yes, I smile and nod enthusiastically, adopting the persona of my old CO as I deliver the stately line... Good!

Of course the idea is to control and manage the balance of a 'butterfly' nervousness to that of a 'stressful' nervousness and the following 5 tips will not only help you manage the nerves, but hide them too...

1. Speak slowly...

Nothing screams nerves more than an accelerated pitch. Be mindful and pay attention to the tempo of your talk, stop yourself jabbering on like a chipmunk on fast forward before it becomes a problem. Leaving with a clearly delivered message is obviously the result you want and you have a far better chance of doing just that if you're consciously managing the momentum.

2. Flip it...

Have you read Flip It yet? Well you need to get away from your natural default setting and start thinking the way a successful you would think. In other words, turn your nerves in to excitement, say you're excited, you'll focus your thoughts in to positive outcomes instead of all the things that could potentially go wrong. It's amazing, but I have not read this book for a while and actually realise that lately I have been drifting in to less positive thought process - a reminder for me to Flip It.

3. Breathe...

Frightfully obvious yet ignorantly forgetful - make sense? Think about it, the mitochondria in your red blood cells are like little factories that drive the productivity of your body, using oxygen as currency. Forget to breath and you'll naturally create a recession of sorts and panic the equilibrium of your economy. Yes, it's repetitively frustrating when someone patronisingly mutters 'aaand breathe'... Oh go away, I know how to breathe! Don't I?

4. Never show you're hurting...

One of the first lessons a sniper will learn is 'why things are seen'. Shape, shine, surface, shadow, silhouette, spacing and of course movement are all attention grabbing attributes. Admit or show your nerves and before you know it the cross hairs are on you and you spend the rest of your stay waiting for someone to pull the trigger. You want to be camouflaged, not concealed.

5. Sleep properly...

Here's a brief snippet from a past life in the health industry... Cortisol, your stress hormone, is designed to break the body down for energy and it is stimulated by light. It therefore starts to incline at around 6am and peaks at midday before slowly declining and dropping off for around 6-8pm so you naturally feel tired. For those of you who are more tired in the morning and wired in the evening, you have an inverted cortisol cycle and as such are naturally stressed (belly fat storage is a tell tale sign), so the more stressed you are the more nervous you will naturally feel. Solution? Get some quality sleep, oh and eliminate all light from your room.

Like anything in life, it takes practice in quest for perfection but then again you could argue it takes perfect practice to meet perfection. If all else fails though, just be like the duck on the water... Cool on the surface yet flapping underneath!