By Marian Connor

I was thinking about the importance of self management strategies to help calm and soothe when I am terrified and ways to converse with myself to encourage and motivate.

A few months back Google Campus London invited us to participate in a course for entrepreneurs. Karen and I were lucky to be chosen along with six other new companies to take part in a pilot program for more mature founders of start ups.

The program whizzed past in a flurry of Wednesdays spent attending engaging presentations and experiential workshops intended to enhance our abilities to design, create and deliver content as well as assist us to design, recreate and deliver ourselves.

The program would culminate in each company delivering a pitch to an invited audience from Google Campus, journalists, people with interests in start ups and the products our companies were developing.

There is an inner quiet required for me to present from a centred place, this totally eluded me when I thought about ‘pitch day.’ Do you ever get that feeling? You’re trying to be an oasis of tranquility but a very loud tuneless concert is taking place in your head, reverberating throughout your body and causing havoc? What to do?

I don’t know about you but I begin by having a word with myself. I mean we haven’t put in so much effort to be here to be floored by a wobbly now.

Then I remind myself to do what I know, implement the strategies that work, they are not intellectual exercises they need to have life kicked into them, unpack them, take them out, engage with them, wear them, get them dirty, make them integral to your life. Although this is an ongoing mission of mine some extra stressful occasions require a little more backup.

I called up the reserves.

I pitched.

I survived.

We received positive feedback.

We all need to develop our personal coping strategies, mine can vary depending on the situation but I have three winners I use most of the time. I am sure yours will be different but in case one of my favourites appeal I share.

1.  I practise Qigong an ancient Chinese system that works with Qi energy. I use a short meditative practise to ground me, to stop me floating off to allow me to speak from a quiet place of security.

2.  I have words with myself, usually silently to avoid looking a little deranged. I use positive motivational language to encourage and persuade myself that my words represent reality. Sports psychologists use this technique to improve performance for events. I find it helps me with the stress marathon I am running in my head.

3.  Creative visualisation works for me. I see myself in a spotlight; the arc of pink light that surrounds me keeps out negativity whilst I speak from a space bathed in positive light.

There you are, my top tips, which live alongside an ongoing effort to build resilience against stressors, to delay my reaction point in major stressful situations as well as resisting the little niggles of everyday life.

I thought you may find this explanation of Qigong interesting.

I like these two films so much; we have used them before but in case you missed them or just want a rerun. Enjoy.




Here is some information about creative visualisation.

Karen and I would like to say that our sense of equilibrium was greatly assisted by the support of the Campus@London team. Thank you Sara, Francesca, Liz and Laura for making our experience of the program so enjoyable and helping to keep the heebie-jeebies away on pitch day.

Lastly we want to wish the other members of the founders group, good luck.

Bill Chute +

Jackie Kestenbaum       

Suzanne Noble                

Graham Vowles              

Louise Chunn                  

Ruthine Burton               

Graham John Lyons      


Here’s hoping in the future, and I quote Jackie from Acadiant,

“We knock it out of the park.”


Image Tile/Header– Spotlight in pink

Hyperlink – What is Qigong? By the National Qigong Association

YouTube –    A Pep Talk by Kid President

YouTube –    Jessica’s ‘Daily Affirmation.’

Hyperlink – Visualization Techniques: Detailed, Consistent, Believed by Burt Goldman


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Photo of Marian Connor and black text saying "Always looking over the horizon to discover treasures to share. Often times whilst partaking of a fine red."