“Success comes from hard work” is a true enough saying, but hard work alone won’t do the trick. And too much hard work could lead to burnout, which can take its toll on your shop’s bottom line and become hard on you personally.
Emmie Brown is a senior partner with Nashville-based Southwestern Consulting, a sales coaching, speaking and consulting firm that operates throughout the U.S. and Canada and in Eastern Europe. She also blogs for her company and has penned a series of posts on “neuro-associative programming” and the benefits it can bring to you and your business. Sound complicated? Not at all she says—just read this and, while you do, relax and breathe.
“I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on neuro-associative programming so that we can increase our sales. Last week we learned more about anchors and how we can use neuro-associative programming to bring our minds back to a positive emotional state so that we can stay positive through difficult selling days. As we continue to become masters of neuro-associative programming, for this final post in the series I’ll explain how we can use breathing to increase our emotional intelligence abilities.
Breathing Is More Than Just Taking in Oxygen
One of my favorite neuro-associative programming techniques is a really simple one. It’s breathing¾we’re always breathing, we’re taking in oxygen all the time. But we can intentionally use our breath to control our mental and emotional state. And these are techniques that are taught to high performers across many industries and vocations: athletes, special forces in the military, politicians, high stakes jobs, and more. Breath techniques are taught to people that are in very stressful jobs where they actually have to get out of a place of fear or they have to be in a place of tranquility, in a place of peace.
A Lesson Learned on the Playground
My son, Dawson, is five years old and a couple of months ago he was at the playground and he fell off the top of the slide because he’s a really active boy and he jumps around and he gets a little bit wild. He fell off the top of the slide right onto his face. There was another kid that he was playing with that started laughing at him and making fun of him for falling. The kid was really getting on Dawson’s nerves, making him feel insecure and embarrassed. So, what does Dawson do? He hauls off and punches the kid in the face! Not good.
Dawson and I had to have a little talk. I asked him what happened and he answered, “Well, I was just really mad. I was mad when that kid was laughing at me.” I asked, “Well, was there another way that you could handle that besides hitting him? Was there anything else that you can do?” And he said, “No.”
Dawson and I talked a bit more on what to do instead of hitting someone when we’re mad. I reminded him of a song from the cartoon, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger actually teaches the same amazing principles of Mr. Rogers. The classic Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was around for years to teach kids life principles and how to deal with all the stress and the emotions of life, all through song. Today’s version of Mr. Rogers is a cartoon character named Daniel Tiger. I sang part of the song to Dawson, “When you feel so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath and you count to four.” After we sang the song together, I said, “Dawson, couldn’t you just take a deep breath whenever you feel really mad? When you take a deep breath it calms you down.” He said, “Yeah, I guess I could do that.”
Breathe In, Hold, Breathe Out
And really, taking a deep breath is like hitting reset to your emotions. Taking a second to take a deep breath calms you down. That’s why I do a lot of yoga. For the first 10 minutes in yoga, you only focus on your breathing. It’s just controlling your breath to change the sensation in your body, in your mind, and in your emotions. Throughout the practice of yoga, they’re using breathing work to help you change your emotional state.
Here’s the technique:
1. First, breathe in for a count of four.
2. Hold it in for a count of four.
3. And release, breathing out for a count of four.
Breath in 1-2-3-4, hold it 1-2-3-4, breathe out 1-2-3-4.
This three-part breathing technique, each for 4 seconds, will effectively help you hit reset to your mind and your emotions. You’ll be using your breath to control your state.
This neuro-associative technique is a classic favorite that everyone can use. Use it the next time you start to feel overwhelmed, before you walk into a meeting, or after hearing some news that upsets you. Anytime you feel your heart rate increasing, use breathing to settle your rhythm and not lose your focus. And, please, don’t resort to punching! Just breathe!”
—Emmie Brown is a senior partner of Southwestern Consulting, a sales coaching, speaking and consulting firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. You can find more of blog entries on neuro-associative programming by visiting the company’s website.