I saw a friend the other day who told me he had just been to see a headhunter. The headhunter in question is ‘the number one choice’ in Copenhagen if you are to find a strong senior management candidate, or you yourself are looking for the next executive role. Hence the meeting was important. My friend wanted to find a candidate for his own company and said he was very relaxed at the meeting, but also sharp and to the point in terms of the profile of the candidate, as well as the service he was looking to get and pay for. It was an equal conversation over a transaction which would benefit both parties.
He said he felt very much ‘himself’ in the conversation, and only a little bit of energy was spent on ensuring he got what he wanted from the meeting.
Had it been him looking for a job, the dynamics would probably have been very different. He would have spent a lot of energy thinking about seeming relaxed and sharp, while at the same time ensuring he got the right message across about himself. What if he had been out work for 8 months? Even further energy would have to be spent on getting to the right state of mind.
When we are in a flow, all is good and the world is smiling at us, then it is easy to find the right state of mind. Maybe you ooze of competence and accomplishment. That’s what people see in you and the flow continues. The domino effect is in your favor.
But life rarely stays the same; maybe you are impacted by something uncontrollable, such as the pandemic we are in now. You no longer feel in control. Things start to slip, maybe the company you are working for needs to save and you are fired. In the beginning you keep your cool, reaching out to your network the usual way. But it takes time, so many people are affected, the future is unclear, decisions are delayed, markets are at stand still.
Opening up for the right state of mind
How should you keep your cool and confidence during this period, what can you do to get to the right state of mind when it counts? Body language, tone of voice, eye contact, the firmness of your handshake… there are so many signs we give away to others which reflect how we really feel inside. Of course, everyone knows that it is natural to feel down or even depressed when we don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. It will still impact the outcome of your interview.
So, what is the solution?
I normally tell my clients to do a simple exercise which will allow them to access that inner state much quicker. The exercise goes through the thoughts, emotions, and physical senses the person has experienced both in a limiting and a strengthening situation. Breaking down and looking at those thoughts, physical senses and emotions during those episodes, will make it is possible to grasp what triggered the right (or wrong) state of mind.
By recognizing what you need to do physically, mentally and emotionally to get into the right mind set, will make it much easier to find it when needed the most.
I use it ahead of important meetings, where I want to feel, as well as look confident. That way I can use my energy and focus on the conversation itself: being strategic where necessary, or just being a better coach or friend.
You are already an expert
According to Jesper Juul, family therapist, we were skilled at moving between different states of minds already as children. It was necessary in order to cooperate with those around us. It could be our parents, grandparents or the grownups in kindergarten.
But at different points during our childhood we opt out from using one or many of them. Maybe it didn’t give the wanted result, or maybe we felt hurt as a result. In that age we are not experienced or rational enough to understand exactly what happened. So instead, we make a decision to block it out; a decision which will impact us in our daily lives as grownups.
Thankfully, they are not forever lost. By breaking our old, limiting patterns, we can unleash them again.
Meditation is your strongest supporter
Meditating takes you closer to your inner strength, to your core. It will enable you to feel what is right and wrong- and act accordingly. Finding that right state of mind just gets that much easier when we are more connected to ourselves. I personally visualize my positive “triggers” as part of meditating in order to reach that wanted state.
Do you ever find yourself in work related situations, where you feel you can’t “pull yourself” together? maybe a situation took you by surprise, leaving you no time to mentally prepare, with the result being less than optimal. Maybe the constant pressure and stress has taken its toll.