It’s 7.30am. Your EA has called in sick. There’s a Board Report pending and you needed it polished today!… #breakdown. Your CFO and HR Director were in a stoush on Friday and your Inbox has two rather ‘colourful’ explanations behind the story… time to broker this one … #breakdown. The latest engagement scores are in and things aren’t looking good. You’ve hired a consultancy to try to fix this mess, it’s just not working… #breakdown.
In our practice, we have a unique definition of the word ‘breakdown’ – “an interruption to the anticipated flow of life”. Life is full of them. We experience them every day and although there’s an infinite range of responses to what we experience, we typically respond in a particular way – unique to each of us.
Dare we say, perhaps we respond in a less constructive way and that has a cascading negative impact on those around us. What might it take to break our old habits and overcome a tired approach that has our staff members ducking for cover as we react to circumstances in old – and unhelpful – ways.
We know this happens, we feel it happening yet sometimes we feel powerless in the face of the avalanche of work coming our way to just ‘keep it together’.
Let’s listen in to ‘possible’ inner machinations “that might” be playing out. “No EA, damn her. This is the day I need her the most. How can I get this done…? These damn Directors. Can’t they act like adults and have the conversations – they’ve done that communications training! … Consultants. I am sick of paying ridiculous money for solutions that leave me no better than where I began” …
The quality of this inner dialogue is the thing drives the response. You can tell which way this will go. Under pressure, it’s easy to erupt, or knowing that we ‘should not’ behave this way, we squash the frustration and upset and curtly go about dealing with these ‘items’ one by one. It is neither joyful nor conducive to wellbeing – this ‘pushing down’ of emotion has a cumulative impact – we see it every day in incidents of anxiety, resentment and depression.
What if there was another way? What if we had the capacity to experience this kind of provocation and craft a new story line that leaves us curious, open, conserving valuable energy and best of all, generating a mood of openness and acceptance in the flow of what happens?
It sounds like nirvana – we agree. And it is perfectly possible.
For an entire decade, we have been crafting responses around this alternate pathway. We have ventured into philosophy, mindfulness, neuroscience and beyond. We have worked with thousands of leaders and best of all, we have practiced this journey ourselves.
The result? Another pathway can be cultivated. It offers, in crucial times, a sense of trust, calm, openness and resilience to the vast array of stimuli and when it’s not like that, the capacity to notice it’s missing, be aware, be alert to the old habit wanting to manifest and a path towards a new pattern.
This is a lifetime’s work and to embark on such a journey is a brave one. It requires some unpacking of old habits (and where they came from), declaring a new future – for the sake of not only you, but those you impact and the gradual unwinding – moment to moment – to sit squarely with the discomfort of the direct experience.
This is a kind of re-wiring. And we focus on redefining these moments as ‘choice points’? Perhaps your provocation is not a problem, but an opportunity to just notice. An opening to pause, identify the concern, explore (at present time) the options before you and choose (for the sake of how you want this to end) a new pathway.
Interested in crafting a new way?
STEPS TO YOUR NEW PATHWAY:
Step 1 – Notice the provocation.
Step 2 – What are you feeling? Where do you feel this in your body?
Step 3 – Connect with the breath and just connect with whatever is happening in your body – breathe into it.
Step 4 – Try to avoid fuelling this with a story-line – like ‘who’s fault’ or ‘why me!/why today?’
Step 5 – Notice the concern that’s present.
Step 6 – What is not being taken care of in this moment (what is the assessment you have?)
Step 7 – Is this assessment valid? Where did it come from? Is this something you want to keep cultivating, or something you could allow to pass?
Step 8 – What other ways could you look at this? Is there another assessment that is more valid? More helpful in the future you’re creating?
Step 9 – Could these different perspectives ease your feelings?
Step 10 – For the response you choose, what mood do you wish to create – for yourself and the team?
Step 11 – If you realised you were the generator of your own reality – in the words you choose, the mood you adopt, and the physiological manifestation of that, what do you choose now?
SHOW UP LIKE YOUR CHOICE
Reflect on the circumstance that just presented.
What did you do that worked well?
What could you do next time to make it just a little easier?
What did you notice about yourself in applying this approach?
How are you feeling and what mood are you present to in this moment?