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You’re getting ready for a job interview. You have a major presentation that could mean a promotion. The prospective client you’re meeting could be the biggest deal of your career. And you’re nervous. Sweaty palms, dry mouth, and loss of the ability to speak seem to be conspiring to make you fail. What do you do?
The Benefit of Rituals
Baseball fans know the unusual things players do when they come up to bat. As silly as some of them look, research shows they may be on to something. No less an authority than Scientific American indicates that rituals can affect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Not only can they help you reduce anxiety and increase confidence, they also help with grieving, whether the loss of a loved one or losing the lottery.
More interesting, rituals can benefit you even if you say you don’t believe in them. There’s no scientific evidence that a particular ritual will lead to a specific result. However, my work helping service members deal with losses such as death of a colleague, divorce, and separation from the military has shown that all handled their grief better when they followed the ritual designed to cope with loss and change.
Calm Your Nerves
You can create your own ritual for decreasing anxiety before a job interview or important meeting. The essential elements are:
- Make it simple.
- Make it physical, mental, and spiritual.
- Create a message to say out loud.
- Connect these elements to your desired outcome.
- Practice it until you’re comfortable performing it.
- Schedule time specifically for performing the ritual.
I go through a simple five-step ritual that takes about 15 minutes before every important business meeting. Despite having practiced and performed it ad nauseam, the first step is bringing up the list of steps so I perform them in order.
Put the powerful tool of ritual to work for you. Examples of things you can do abound. If you need some help let me know.
How do you prepare for important meetings? Please comment below.
© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
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