A guest blog written by Laura Colenso
Who doesn’t love a Superhero – The cape, the muscles, the mystery. That wonderful feeling they give us when they come flying in to save the day. Their unwavering energy to do the right thing no matter what. Their ability to stop evil in it’s tracks and let goodness prevail… What if we could all be Superheroes? That’s the question I asked the team at In Flow when we decided that we wanted to work with local school children. We are a communication skills training company that works with corporate organisations to help their people become more impactful and influential in front of an audience. The skills we teach, I believe, are truly invaluable and they are skills we wanted to give to the younger generation as soon as possible. We called our school’s workshop Superheroes! because as we started to create the session through the eyes of eleven year olds, we realised the skills we share with our clients have the ability to become our super powers.
This stuff isn’t just for kids. In this blog I want to share with you how even a grown up with responsibilities, deadlines and to do lists can find their inner superhero, a superhero who has the power to cope with whatever challenge they encounter.
Here are the four ingredients you’ll need:
The way we use and move our bodies can change the way we feel. We read people’s body language all day long. A person can walk into a room and you automatically judge their mood on their entrance. “He looks grumpy today”, “She looks really nervous up there”. What are the giveaway signs? There are three key things to look out for. Your focus, your shoulders and your stance. So the next time you’re feeling nervous and anxious think about what your eyes are up to. Where are you focusing? Are you connecting with others? Think of your shoulders. Are are they back, open and free? Then lastly, how are you standing? Are you grounded, solid and owning your space? Combine these elements when you walk through the door and not only will you feel more confident but your audience will perceive you as being more confident too.
Do you have voices in your head? A voice that talks you out of doing something challenging or a voice telling you that you’re not good enough? At times we all do, so it’s really important to have the power to quieten it when it’s being particularly unhelpful and we can do this through positive self talk. Firstly, say thank you to the fearful and disruptive voice in your head and explain there is no need for it to worry, you have it covered from here. Then start to replace it with something more constructive. What message would it be good for you to hear so that you perform at your best? Saying this a few times to yourself before walking into that dreaded meeting will definitely give “your voice” the message that you are in control.
True power lies in your actions. All superheroes are doers! They always take action. We all have strengths that make us feel great and could be used for good. In our Superheroes! workshops we encourage the children to see the value in their natural super powers like empathy, kindness and to recognise their natural skills and talents. We are in control of our environment a lot more than we think and we don’t have to be able to fly or lift a car above our head to be someone’s superhero. So if you had to name three of your super powers what would they be? Be creative as possible with the language you use. I must admit when I tried to answer this question for myself I struggled. It’s sometimes hard to articulate our strengths and values. One of my answers was “I am passionate about recycling” which I spiced up to become: “Laura, Defender of Planet Earth and all that inhabits her!”. Believe me this has made me a much better recycler! Knowing your three super powers is a great tool for holding yourself accountable for your actions at home and in the office.
Research on body language has revealed that “Power Posing” which is standing with an open, expansive posture can elevate feelings of confidence. If you have never done this before you have to give it a try. Stand like Wonder Woman or Superman for a whole two minutes. Ah….. it feels great! Especially when you do it with the Avengers theme tune playing full blast……..if only I had a wind machine. Once you’ve found your Pose you can recreate it whenever you need a boost of confidence. If it’s good enough for Usain Bolt it’s good enough for me :-) . Just make sure you do it in private rather than in the middle of a meeting!!
So the next time you are facing a nerve wracking situation – like your twelve year old self did walking through those secondary school gates for the first time – pay attention to your walk, your talk, your power and your pose and go make the world a better place.
Superheroes! is now up and running with several schools in Yorkshire receiving a free workshop and we’re looking for more schools to work with. Our approach is simple. For every Communication Accelerator Programme a client buys from us we will donate a free Superheroes! workshop to a school who needs it. We know what we teach can change lives and we want to give back to the community and support UN Global Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Quality Education”. So, if you know of any schools that would like to see their children find their inner superhero please send them our way.
Laura Colenso is Director of Buy One, Give One at In Flow Training. A former professional dancer, singer and actress, Laura spent the first part of her career performing on the West End Stage. She now share’s her passion for performance and personal development to help In Flow make a difference in the communities we work in.