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You can ease your nerves for a job interview or performance
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In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares some tips for calming down and gaining confidence before a big interview, performance or game. - photo by Kim Giles
Question:

Next week I have a job interview for my dream job and a big raise. This job would mean the world to me and my family. But Im so scared I wont get it and Im sure my fear and insecurity is going to come through in the interview. I get really nervous and intimidated, which doesn't impress. Is there any advice you could give me on calming down so I can appear confident?

Answer:

You are right, fear and nervousness could sabotage your interview. When you show up scared, nervous or intimidated, the other person can feel it and it's not attractive. Fear says you dont believe in yourself and it makes other people doubt your abilities.

Here are a few tips for overcoming fear on the spot:

(These tips would also work before a big test, recital, game or performance.)

  1. Do some diaphragmatic breathing. While waiting for your interview lean back in your chair, put your arms up behind your head and take big breaths, feeling your chest and stomach expand big and compress again. Do this for a few minutes to calm down your parasympathetic nervous system and get yourself out of fight or flight mode. When your parasympathetic nervous system is driving, you cant think clearly enough for the rest of these steps to work.

  2. Remind yourself your value as a person is not on the line. Remember that your intrinsic value doesnt change at all, ever, so no matter the outcome of this, you will have the same value you had going into it. You have the same value as every other person on the planet too. There is nothing at risk because you are the same whether you get the job or not.

  3. Remind yourself there is order in the universe. Life is a classroom and the universe a wise teacher that always provides you with your perfect classroom journey. If getting this job, winning this game or nailing this performance would serve you best, it will happen. If losing at this moment would serve your education and growth more, that will happen. Either way you are safe and have nothing to fear.

    Oprah Winfrey said, I trust in the ebb and flow of the universe. I trust that lifes bigger than what I can see. I trust there is a divine order beyond my control and I trust no matter what happens, I will be all right. Choose to trust the universe that it knows what its doing and you will have peace and calm everywhere. No matter what happens, choose to trust this outcome is the universe conspiring to serve you in some way.

  4. Make sure you see the interviewer (or other people involved in this moment) as the same as you. We have a tendency, as human beings, to see other people as either better than us or worse than us. In a job interview situation we tend to feel less than the person interviewing us. We are also intimidated because this person has power over our future. It is very important to remember all human beings have the same intrinsic value. You are equal adults, straight across, and you have nothing to fear from this person, because ultimately the universe is in charge of our fate. You have nothing to fear.

  5. Focus on giving instead of getting. Most people obviously approach job interviews focused on getting (the job). This is a problem because getting energy is needy, selfish and unattractive. The same thing happens in a performance when you are focused on getting the audience or other peoples approval. Performing in fear energy you will never perform at your best here. Instead, focus on other people and giving to them. In an interview you can focus on serving or giving to the company. Ask questions about their needs and how you could best be of service. Be there to give, not get. In a performance or game, you might focus on your love for the music or your love for the sport and just have fun playing it. When you are love-motivated, you always perform better and people are drawn to you. This works because love is even more attractive than confidence.

  6. Handle yourself like a pro. Dress professionally and own the room when you walk in. Extend your hand for a handshake and be the first to say Hello or How are you? Once seated, let the interviewer take control of the conversation. During the interview make eye contact, sit up straight and smile. Dont fidget with your clothes or hair. These are a distraction and a sign of self-consciousness. Then, just be the real you focused on giving and you will do great.

You have nothing to fear. No matter how this goes, you are a good person with the same exact value as everyone else. Dont be afraid of rejection or what anyone thinks of you. It doesnt mean anything and you will only lose if the loss experience would serve you. There is nothing on the line and no need to be nervous. You can walk in calm and confident.

You can do this.

(There are many more articles about overcoming fear at work on my blog.)
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