Rookie Run!

Do you rehearse things that are coming up in your life? What type of real-life events have you rehearsed before?
Something social or personal? Something professional?

I rehearse.

Some examples from myself and my work life across the years.
Interviews, dates, stage performances, challenging communication, weddings/celebrations, dinner parties, exams, new transport routes, wearing new outfits … and so many more.

Rookie Run

If I am going for an appointment or just to visit a place I have never been before, where possible, I do a ‘Rookie Run’!
Well I say I do a ‘Rookie Run’, I actually ask my partner Keith to drive me for this Rookie Run the day or evening before, so I have totally rehearsed where I’m going, what route I might take, where I might park, and have a visual representation for where I am going the next day.

I have to say that Map Apps on my phone have greatly reduced the need for so many Rookie Runs. I am becoming more trusting of the timings and if I get a nice picture of my destination is seems to soothe my mind similarly to my physical Rookie Runs. I still prefer a physical one, but this way is often more practical and of course Keith gets off the hook for driving me somewhere beforehand.
I have a pretty good sense of direction and good recall for places and landmarks and can very often be found to ‘go rogue’ when my sat-nav tells me to go a certain way and I just take off on another, so in many ways I can be pretty brave about going to places. It just seems that this planned unknown creates a space that anxious thoughts can fill and my emotions are heightened.

I am very self-aware of my habit of being prone to anxious thoughts around the unknown and rehearsal is one of my pro-active tools for working with this. With this rehearsal I can shut some of those unhelpful thoughts down as I now have facts and logic to work with and can challenge positively, as I now have some visuals in my mind to work with.

Mental Rehearsal

Many top business and sports people openly talk and model their preparation methods. Mental rehearse being a huge part of this. Creating their very own visualisations of amazing successes and achievement in their chosen field and similarly to myself many visit the football pitch, tennis court, changing rooms, stages and locations, and board rooms!
Their very own Rookie Run process.

Why Rehearsal Helps?

The similarities that we all have as humans is this part of our brain responsible for Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn response. We all have an amygdala within our brain that has a job to protect us from real danger, which is awesome. However this amygdala also protects us from what it perceives as danger too, and all too often it loves to work closely with our natural negativity bias and create fear, anxiety, stress, avoidance, and gather up scenarios to talk us out of things that are new or uncomfortable. The amygdala is just doing its job, so no criticism there, but we do need to find ways to work WITH our amygdala as opposed to giving it free reign and causing havoc!

When I teach children and young people I love for them to characterise their Amygdala so that they can ‘look after it’, both proactively and reactively. Get to know their own Amygdala and walk him or her through some of these natural responses, and scaffold him/her to feel safe. If the amygdala feels safe then we can move forward with pretty big, scary, intense emotions and events.
There are lots of ways to do this and rehearsal is a big factor.

The way our minds work, with all those thoughts and memories swirling around, it can’t tell the difference between real and imaginary, so the imaginary pictures of achievement and success that you place in there as you physically and mentally rehearse can really get your mental and physical self ready for action in a positive way. Just the right amount of nerves and adrenaline supporting you to your real life event.

What about you?

Do you mentally rehearse? Do you do regular Rookie Runs?
Could rehearsal support you with any unhelpful thoughts? Would this help you socially, in business or work, in sports, with your future goals and dreams?
How could you look after your Amygdala, proactively and reactively, to make sure the he or she is ready for positive action?