Practitioner Perspectives: Jo Britton
Jo Britton is founder of award winning coaching business PACE Development www.pacedevelopment.co.uk. She reveals her experiences of Covid and the impact it has had on her clients and sector, providing some fantastic insight and tips for us all as we navigate through the storm.
Tell us what you do and the support you provide:
I’m a certified coach and Neurosculpting® Facilitator - the first and only in the UK!
I help people to ‘find their mojo’ so that they can get clarity and confidence, achieve and believe without the overwhelm and self-doubt. And without stressing out and burning out. I do this through individual and group Coaching and training which combines evidence-based practices grounded in neuroscience to help people get sustainable results, both within their personal and professional lives.
My clients include busy professionals, start up business owners and entrepreneurs, leadership teams and individuals.
What are the specific needs and challenges your clients are facing and how have these been affected by Covid?
The levels of exhaustion, stress, overwhelm, anxiety and frustration I’m seeing at the moment as a result of the pandemic are off the charts. We’ve being living through this continuous need to adapt and juggle both at home and at work for so long now. And social isolation is also taking its toll. For many, their hopes and dreams have been dashed. Or they’ve experienced trauma. Businesses have been challenged like we’ve never seen before - whether they’re struggling to survive or they’ve been booming with demand. Both scenarios have been putting so much pressure and stress on the people that work within them. I’ve also seen an impact on peoples’ confidence and motivation as a result of this.
And because there’s no certainty about how this will all pan out, so many of us are living in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze. This has profound implications for us, both in our ability to think calmly, rationally, creatively and to navigate day to day life effectively and productively. Because living in this fear/stress response state not only lowers our immune systems - something we don’t want when the Covid virus is around - it can also set us up for more serious health conditions down the line.
Have you had to develop or change your own offer to meet the changing needs of your clients this year?
I have. And it was also born from my own personal challenges through the pandemic when my business was hit hard and I really struggled mentally and emotionally. I found it difficult to function and to find a way to overcome set backs and move forward. I also found it very difficult to access the kind of support I needed.
To say I’d lost my mojo was an understatement.
I researched a tonne of stuff, trained in some neuroscience and devised my own personal programme which combined all the research, training and skills I had as coach. It helped me bounce back, get motivated, overcome set backs and innovate my business. It worked and I got my mojo back! This became a method and practice I now teach and coach others and which is helping them too.
My clients set a result they would like to achieve for themselves and they go through the MOJO method and the steps to take which enables them to achieve it.
The results have been amazing and I’m super proud of my clients, So I’m now on a mission to help as many people find their mojo too!
Do you have any top tips or advice you can share with us?
If you’re staring at the dregs of an empty mojo cup and are lacking enthusiasm or energy and motivation, or may your thinking is foggy or perhaps you’re feeling agitated, anxious or frustrated, it’s likely that your nervous system is dysregulated as an effect of the stress that you’re experiencing. And when this happens, it becomes impossible to think positively, productively and to find solutions which help us cope better with daily life
But there are some really simple and practical ways that we can better manage our stress and well being so that we can refill our mojo cup.
Here my 10 tips to help you get you start getting your mojo back.
Incorporate mood boosting and stress-busting nutrition into your diet to regulate emotional health. Eat a balance of healthy carbohydrates (vegetables and fruits - blueberries are particularly good as they’re said to promote serotonin release), healthy proteins (free range grass-fed animal products or vegetarian sources such as beans and nuts), and healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain function in areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood and emotion) fish, oils and omegas from nuts, seeds, coconut and avocados
Do a vagal toning work out. The vagus nerve is the queen of the parasympathetic nervous system overseeing vital functions such as mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate. Vagal tone is correlated with the capacity to regulate the stress response. Stimulating the vagus nerve through gargling water, humming, singing and making ‘horse lips’ are particularly good and easy techniques to do as a vagal toning work out.
Shake it off. Literally, shake off your stress with a vigorous 60 second body shake to dissipate the stress and release muscle contraction in the body. It’s what animals do after experiencing a life threatening event in order to release tension and return the body to a normal rest and digest state.
Turn on your genius brain. Take six to 10 deep, rhythmic breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, as if you’re blowing through a straw. On the in breath say, ‘I breathe in calmness’ and on the out breath, ‘I breathe out stress.’ This turns down limbic brain (where the stress-response is activated contributing to anxiety symptoms) and turns on your genius brain (pre-frontal cortex - involved with deductive reasoning and logic) to help you think more clearly and calmly.
Yawn away stress. To clear away brain fog and relax, take a conscious and mindful yawn. Research says that yawning is one of the fastest ways to lower stress and anxiety and improve cognitive function through the neuro-chemical release that happens when you do so.
Just do a little bit when your motivation is flagging. Tell your brain, ‘I know you don’t feel like it but just do a little bit.’ Do something ridiculously small to start with and reward yourself. Your brain seeks constant reward. Tell yourself ‘well done’ and treat yourself to something pleasurable. You’ll get a little shot of feel good dopamine. Then just see if you can do a little bit more. And a bit more. Keep those rewards coming.
Cultivate a gratitude attitude. Find three things, however small, you are grateful for each day. Science researchers found gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin and activates the brain stem to produce dopamine. People who are grateful get less triggered or angry, have more positive feelings, sleep better and generally have a better sense of wellbeing.
Embrace your inner child like curiosity and ask yourself really curious questions. Being curious opens up our problem-solving abilities. MRI scans have found when we’re at our most curious, the parts of our brain that administer gratification and reward are triggered, stimulating a release of dopamine.
Daydream your way to a solution. When you’re not sure what to do and feel anxiety rising, daydream for 60 seconds. Scientific research claims brain areas associated with complex problem solving become highly active when we daydream. Take some relaxing deep breaths. Ask your brain for the answer to your question. Let your mind wander for 60 seconds. Listen to your intuition. What is it telling you?
Get out of unhelpful ‘What if…? thinking traps by flipping the switch. Unhelpful ‘What if I get made redundant and never find another job and lose my house …’ can quickly end up with you catastrophising. This thinking can paralyse you, drain your energy and send stress levels soaring. Flip the switch by asking yourself better questions instead such as ‘What if everything is fine and I get a pay rise?’ ‘What if the worst did happen, how will I plan for that?’
What impact to you predict Covid will have long term in (service area)?
I think we will see the effects on mental, emotional and physical health as a result of the pandemic for some time to come in both adults and children.
To respond to this, I have added to my service area.
Neurosculpting®. This is a first for the UK and at the moment I’m the UK’s first and only Neurosculpting® faciltator. It has had so much success in the US from where it orignates and helps people to release the grip of trauma, stress, fear, anxiety and beliefs that limit you. It uses self-directed neuroplasticity through a unique, methodical process within a strategically guided meditation. This helps to release unhelpful patterns and create more supportive patterns and behaviours instead.
Mini Mojo. I will be launching a version of the Mojo programme to support kids’ health and wellbeing.
Are there any positive change are you seeing coming out of the pandemic?
I definitely think that it has brought together community and support for one another in ways we’ve not seen for a long time. Community and connection helped me massively at the beginning of the pandemic. I think the pandemic has made people take a step back and think about what really matters and to be grateful for small things. And I think we’ve seen some great innovation and collaboration across industry sectors which will leave a wonderful legacy and footprint on the world.
How would someone choose a credible practitioner? What do they need to look out for?
Always look for people who are certified and/or registered with a professional body. The world of coaching for instance is unregulated which means that anyone can and is calling themselves a ‘coach’. So that means whilst they may have some life or work experience in a particular field they may not have the skills that a certified or qualified coach would have. For instance, I spent two years training with the Coaching Academy which also meant that I had to deliver hundreds of hours practice and be assessed in live coaching environments before I certified. I’m also a member of several professional bodies in my field and sign up to the coaching code of conduct and ethics. Certified coaches will also know their boundaries and will work within them. They’ll know how to raise with a client where an issue comes up that they’re not qualified to practice in and will help them find the appropriate support. Additionally, a professional will also carry the relevant professional insurances for their practice and industry.
Seek references from the practitioner about the results they get with clients
Chemistry is also important. The practitioner may be well qualified but if the fit isn’t right then you may not get the best from your investment or experience.
Jo Britton is founder of award winning coaching business PACE Development www.pacedevelopment.co.uk
She is a Certified Leadership and Life Coach. Her clients include entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals as well as mumpreneurs. She is originator of the MOJO method - which brings together evidence based techniques grounded in neuroscience and integrates them with mood boosting nutrition and coaching tools to help people overcome the anxiety and fear which holds them back so that they can achieve better health and happiness.
She is the UK’s first and only NeuroSculpting® Facilitator having trained with The NeuroSculpting® Institute in Colorado and is host of Mojo Matters a podcast on iTunes and Spotify which features practical advice, guidance and support.
She has an MBA, BA (Hons), Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching, Certification in Neurosculpting and is a certified DISC practitioner.