Spill (opens new window)is a mental health startup offering support to the Multiverse apprentice community and to our team. The team at Spill provide expert content to Multiverse apprentices and alumni through regular workshops and blogs, covering topics such as how to actually switch off from work and building strong mental health in a world that makes it difficult.
In collaboration with their therapists, Spill have shared their top tips for calming your nerves when starting an apprenticeship.
Congratulations, you’ve secured an apprenticeship! All of the hard work, interviews and commitment to start something new paid off. While you’re probably excited to launch into this new stage of your life, you may also be feeling nervous. Here are a few ways you can take control of nerves and keep focused.
Nerves are normal
Nerves and anxiety are a natural response to a new or changing situation. And sometimes, they can actually be helpful. The rush of adrenalin we get from nerves can help us to find energy and focus. Recognising that this is a temporary feeling and it will pass is a good first step in regaining a sense of control. Remember that although anxiety feels horrible it can't actually hurt you. On the other side of it is something better and more comfortable.
Break it down: what are you actually nervous about?
Talk to someone you trust about the things making you nervous. When we break things down and share how we’re feeling, it can really help to take some power away from the feeling and help us to consider a more rational response.
For example, are you nervous about not knowing anyone or forgetting something you were told to do? Well, set yourself a challenge to talk to one new person a day in the kitchen and take a notebook around with you so you can take notes throughout the day. Some things feel more manageable when you break them down.
Journalling before you go to bed or when you wake up in the morning can be an amazing way to reduce anxiety and worry by taking it out of your mind and onto a page. A method that many people use is called "Morning Pages", which involves writing continuously for three pages as soon as you wake up. It doesn't matter what you write or even whether or not it makes sense, it's just a way of emptying your mind of all the things that might be whizzing around so that you can begin your day without the burden of too much emotional "noise". Try it for a week and see if it makes a difference.
Take time to prepare for your apprenticeship
Putting time into getting prepared before you start your apprenticeship can be a great way to feel more in control. Of course, you’re not expected to know everything going into your new role but you could take the time getting to know more about the company, what the media says about them and some of the recent work will make you feel more confident going in. It’s worth reaching out to your new employer ahead of time to see if there’s any materials that will help with preparation.
Lots of them. It’s better to express when you’re not sure than to guess and make yourself feel anxious about your lack of certainty. so don’t be afraid to turn to your line manager or mentor: that’s exactly what they are there for.
Be okay with making mistakes
If you never make a mistake you'll never learn anything, so try to get more comfortable with getting things wrong. It's all part of learning your way in a new role, and nobody will expect you to do everything correctly. Making mistakes and feeling uncomfortable is a sign that you're pushing yourself into new areas and growing as a person.
Remind yourself that you deserve to be here
You earned this job and were hired for the energy and enthusiasm you showed throughout your apprenticeship training and the application process. Feeling you are inadequate or undeserving of this role is a common worry (so common that there’s a name for it: ‘imposter syndrome’). When the little voice in your head expresses doubt, note it down and remind yourself that you earned this. Some people find it useful to put something symbolic on their desk to remind them of this.
The other thing you can do is keep a daily record of anything that goes well. Positive feedback, a good conversation, a task completed. This will help you to balance out any self-doubt with some hard evidence that you're doing just fine.
Try not to compare yourself to others too much
You are at the beginning of a new and exciting journey. And this is your journey, not anyone else's. You are bringing a unique set of skills to the team you are joining and they won’t always be the same as the skills other people in your team or company are bringing. If there’s something you’d like to get better at or an area you’d be keen to grow into, you can express this to your mentor or manager and they can support you to grow that skill set. This experience is yours to make of it what you want to.