In the coaching certification that I’ve been studying for over the past year we’ve been talking about how to show up in a resourceful state. I’ll explain what I mean by this in a moment.
As part of this certification, I carried out many hours of coaching with clients. And I noticed that I was able to work better when I spent a little time before the session making sure I showed up in the right state.
This is now something I’m doing for all my commitments – whether it’s a meeting, or recording a podcast or facilitating a training – I take the time to make sure that I’m in my most resourceful state when I arrive.
This is something that we can all strive for in whatever people-facing commitments we may have – that we turn up in the right state and are calm, ready and clear to do our work in the best way we can.
Being in a resourceful state is that feeling you have when you know that you’re in the right frame of mind.
Let’s take a guided tour as an example, but this could apply for anything:
You feel calm and clear in your mind. You know what you’re doing and how you’re going to get there. You have an eye on the time but don’t feel rushed. You can formulate questions easily, you can improvise calmly when things go awry, you’re able to make connections with even the most reluctant of participants.
Maybe you recognise some of these feelings. All of this comes from being in a resourceful state as you start your tour.
In the dictionary, resourceful means literally to have the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.
Getting into a resourceful state will help you to get things done, think creatively, logically and rationally.
As with any state of mind, creating this resourceful state can be achieved if you set the right conditions for it.
So let’s dive into first what a resourceful state is and why it’s important.
WHAT IS A RESOURCEFUL STATE?
A resourceful state is where you feel calm, confident and collected.
You feel good, your mind is clear and primed, you are able to come up with ideas and make decisions. You feel that you are able to cope with whatever is thrown at you.
In Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP, a resourceful state refers to
‘any state where a person has positive, helpful emotions and strategies available to them, and is operating from them behaviourally’.
And similarly, Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilts in their work on Generative Coaching talk about getting into a COACH state. The letters of the word coach stand for:
C: Centred (balanced and confident)
O: Open (open to others and what is going on around us: outward looking)
A: Attentive (alert, aware, awake, paying attention to others and their ideas and the situation around us)
C: Connected (a feeling of being linked to others and having an affinity with them)
H: Holding (the space to choose our response: being aware of how we are feeling and how we feel about feeling that way)
WHAT IS A NON-RESOURCEFUL STATE?
Let’s look at the opposite – what we might call a non-resourceful state.
This is when you feel tired, tense, or anxious. You might be unwell, jet-lagged or even hungry. YoU might be foggy or worried.
In this state we feel less able to cope with things, we might be less productive or creative in our work or even feel lacking in confidence. Any mistakes you do make might feel like a big deal too.
In Gilligan and Dilts work, they call this the CRASH state – when we are contracted, reactive, we have analysis paralysis, and feel separated from others. We may have strong feelings such as hate or hurt of ourselves or others.
You may recognise some of these feelings in yourself from when you’re not in the right frame of mind or mood.
WHY IS THE STATE WE SHOW UP IN IMPORTANT?
When we show up to facilitate discussions around art and objects with people, we want to be in a resourceful state – in an optimum frame of mind, alert and ready to formulate questions on the spur of the moment, able to improvise when things go awry and able to concentrate on what our participants are saying to us.
As facilitators we have to juggle a lot of different balls in the air, so we need to be on top of our game.
Likewise, according to the book Everyday NLP, what’s going on the inside shows on the outside too – it shows in our body langauge, in what we say and how we say it.
And how we present ourselves to others, is likely to have an effect on their state and to some extent on our relationship with them too.
If you’re giving off a sleepy or unconfident feeling, then your group may mirror your state and likewise if you’re a full of energy, at ease and on form, that is likely to be contagious and the group will feel it too.
So, it’s important to show up in the right state and consistently too – not only for ourselves, so that we can do our best work but also for our participants too.
1. LOOK AT YOUR SCHEDULE
Look at your daily schedule. What do you have to do each day? When do you feel at your most resourceful? Is it in the morning or afternoon?
Likewise, when are you feeling un-resourceful – what times of the day does this happen?
Now think about your ideal working day.
What does it look like? Do you need to set some boundaries in your working day so that you can show up in your best, most resourceful state?
What you are trying to find is your biological peak time.
This may mean scheduling more time between tours, or limiting yourself to working on a certain day or in the mornings.
You might want to think about a regular day off, the chance not to work weekends, an afternoon off – whatever works for you, work towards achieving this.
Plan your schedule and BLOCK OUT days or times you do not want to work so that you can perform at your best when you’re at work.
2. LOOK AT WHO YOU ARE WORKING FOR
Next, think about who you are working for. If you work for several organisations such as museums, think about your preferences – which one do you prefer working at? Can you give preference to that organisation?
If you’re working for yourself, how can you get more of your IDEAL clients? Can you carve yourself out a niche? Could you invest in a training and specialise, specialise, specialise? Become known for your expertise in working with families or for how you engage people in objects and artworks and attract the clients that you want to work with.
3. FIND YOUR CALM
This is about the 10-15 minutes before a programme or a tour starts.
Can you take some time for yourself?
You need to spend some time working out what will get you into the right frame of mind for your tour.
For some people, that might mean a quick blast of fresh air and a walk around the block (I’ve done this and it works – even if you only have 3 mins or so!).
Or it might mean listening to a piece of music.
Or doing some stretches. Or a few breathing exercises for a minute or so getting more oxygen into your body. or visualisations such as thinking of a time when you were at your best and paying attention to how that felt for you.
For me, I need to find at least 5-10 mins away from my computer and I might go for a walk, or do a bit of stretching or just listen to some music with my eyes closed.
I find I need to switch my brain off for a bit so that I can arrive fresh for my next meeting, training or art discussion.
Find what works for you. Arriving calmly will help you to be in the right state for the rest of the programme.
4. CREATE A RITUAL
Or you might want to help yourself and your brain to get into the right state by creating ritual. This is when you do the same thing every time before you start a programme or tour. this will act as a trigger or a mental cue for you to know that you’re getting yourself in the right state for your upcoming tour or programme.
This might be putting your phone on silent, eating a quick snack and listening to some music or doing some breathing as we just talked about.
Each time you do this ritual, you are sending your brain a signal that you are about to start a tour, programme, meeting or whatever your commitment is and this will help your brain to get in the right zone.
5. GO THROUGH ANYTHING YOU NEED TO
Think about the resources you will need for the upcoming programme or tour.
Do a quick run through of anything that might be worrying you about what is coming up.
Maybe it’s questioning – if so, spend a minute brainstorming some questions about an artwork or working with some question stems such as the ones in Creative Questions.
It’s the same a pianist doing scales before a performance or an athlete doing some warm up exercises.
What do you need to go through in your mind so that you are clear when you start?
Or maybe it’s timings, go through in your head how long you want to spend on each section and where you need to be by certain time milestones.
6. HAVE A CLEAR GOAL/OUTCOME
Having a goal or an outcome will help you to get into optimum concentration. What would you like to accomplish in the next hour with your group? What would you like them to take away with them? What is the goal for the session?
7. WORK ON YOUR POSTURE
Stand tall, smile, shoulders down, your physiology does affect your psychology.
Remember in Episode 69 on body language I talked about the Power Pose too? This is a great pose to do when you want to feel calm and in control.
These types of open body positions help you take up space and send signals to the brain that you’re feeling confident. They also signal to your group that you’re in control too.
8. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
So, first of all make sure you are hydrated.
So simple and yet so often overlooked. Your brain works better when you are not dehydrated.
Drinking water is so important for your ability to concentrate and focus on the job at hand. If you feel sluggish, foggy or low on energy, drink some water. It is harder to get into the right state when you are thirsty.
Secondly, make sure you eat at regular intervals. Don’t start a tour or programme when you’re hungry.
Keep a snack within easy reach to have before you start a tour. There is nothing worse than starting a tour when you know you’re going to get hungry halfway through – believe me I’ve been there!
So there you have 8 different ways that will help you to show up in your most resourceful state. Which ones are you going to try?