Here at Leading Edge Teams (LET), like Annie and the rest of our team, I spend a lot of time teaching entrepreneurs and teams strategies that help them to make decisions that will provide the best outcomes and drive their business success. It’s what I love to do—it’s rewarding to witness individuals and teams succeed and bring their most amazing selves forward.
AND, we are all human. If it were always easy, I wouldn’t be here teaching you everything we know that helps you stay on track!
In order to be your best, you have to be in Self-Leadership. It’s the first step and the basis for everything that follows. If you aren’t acting from a place of centeredness and Self-Leadership, chances are you’re making decisions from self-protection rather than from the most empowered place possible. And, like I said, we are all human, so chances are you’ve reacted rather than taken the time to pause and let any desire to make a knee-jerk reaction subside.
Likely, you’ve made a decision (or many) that you regret. I know I have (I’m also very human!).
I can remember a few times (in my professional and personal life) when I wish I’d been able to get out of a reactive state to better assess what was true and what was just my own self-protection—I could have saved myself, and those involved, a lot less heartache and stress. If I had known to pause and give myself time to think about the facts involved, I would have been able to get back to a more neutral, aligned state that allowed me to communicate with a calm and clear perspective.
But, I am human and I am hardwired (as we all are) to react in fight / flight / freeze / please mode when triggered and unsafe. This reaction is designed to keep us protected from tigers and other dangers that require us to act fast. The problem with this automatic human reaction in modern times and in business is that it is rarely a life or death situation. For each of us to make a clear decision, we are required to pause and regulate our nervous systems as best we can in the moment. From experience, I know that it is not always an easy task, but it is necessary.
In essence, I get to practice what we preach here at LET. Although our teachings are tailored towards business results, they apply to everything in life, because we need these tools when interacting with any human in any situation (and, boy do I wish I’d had these tools when I was younger!).
The key for you, for me, for ALL of us is to recognize when we are in self-protection and to do whatever it takes to get out of it (with loads of self-compassion) and back into Self-Leadership.
So rather than providing you with a list of things that you can do that you may or may not try, I’m giving you a list of things that I have done. These have worked for me at least one or more times to help me enact the power of the pause:
- Taking a full day off to do nothing—no input, no work or phone notifications, just the joy of sleeping in and only taking care of myself (and the furbabies). This form of rest and unplugging allows me to reset and recharge fully, enabling me to return to the problem with a fresh set of eyes.
- State in the moment (if possible in the situation) what I need—a quick break; to talk through the triggers; to table this until tomorrow; reassurance that this can be worked through.
- Hop in my car with some good music, windows open and drive down to Point Magu beach to enjoy the ocean breeze and view. There’s nothing like nature to help me let go of any stress and completely recharge.
- Connect with a trusted colleague or friend to process my emotions so I can get to the other side and out of self-protection. Just having someone hold space for me while I talk about everything that feels super intense is extremely supportive and reassuring.
- A good night’s sleep. It’s simple and sometimes all that is needed. AND, it does wonders to refresh my view of the world to get up and try again.
- A long walk with my dog and / or a good friend helps me release any negativity by getting out of my head through exercising my body and breathing fresh air.
- And last but not least—I love to curl up on the couch with my pets to watch a fun and relaxing movie or TV show. It’s cozy, and getting lost in another storyline that isn’t mine helps me reset and unwind.
Once I’ve had time to get myself to a calmer, less reactive state, then (and only then) am I able to begin addressing the problem at hand. Sometimes, getting out of self-protection is quick and only a minor pain and other times, it’s longer, because the issue and trigger are ongoing. There may be many layers to process and work through (and likely I have done several of the activities listed above to get myself out of emotional reactivity and self-protection).
I’m sharing this with you, because you (me and everyone) will continue to experience people and situations that cause us to feel self-protective and that’s okay—it’s more than okay. It’s part of being human.
And, if you don’t already have it pinned to your wall or computer screen, download our CCORE Process here. It’ll help remind you of what steps to take to get you back to your thinking brain so your emotions aren’t pulling you in every direction trying to run the show (and a reminder / a word: your emotions, especially negative emotions, are an indication to pay attention to what is happening. They are meant to be a compass to point you in the right direction of what is off course and most needs to be addressed).
Show the world who you are through your positive demonstration of Self-Leadership—start today! I know you can do this!
Here’s to your most empowered success!
Program Director and Executive Coach
For a personal introduction to our coaching and methods, check out our series of leadership journals on Amazon.com:
30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #2
Power of Agreement
What A+ Leaders do differently to generate extraordinary results.
30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #1
How to be a thriving ‘A+’ Leader in the fast paced,
ever-changing landscape of business today.