When the Wheels Come Off
This week we’ve been looking at different ways to self-coach ourselves to be more intentional and more present in our lives. We started with the power of getting up an hour earlier and priming ourselves for the day ahead. Then, we looked at seeing our days as a series of pivot points on which to focus. When our attention wanders (as it always does) we simply bring our attention back to what’s most important now.
Next, we looked at bringing more focus to our days by becoming more aware of the power of entrances and exits. Because this is where we have the most control. Finally, yesterday, we looked at a super simple way to focus our attention by following the Four R’s.
These four practices all address what to do when things are going according to plan. All good so far.
But learning to self-coach ourselves has an even bigger impact when we get triggered. When the wheels are coming off and we find ourselves careening toward the ditch.
Our goal here is to recover. As quickly as possible.
In an ideal world, we recover before we say what we will later regret. That’s next level.
According to Dr. Daniel Friedland, author of Leading Well from Within, we experience stress physiologically. With practice, we can become attuned to stress building in our bodies.
[From my perspective, that’s aspirational. I’m a “work in progress” with regard to recovering before I step in it…]
The bigger idea is to narrow the gap between getting triggered and becoming aware. Because once we are aware, we’ve moved to the rational part of the brain – the prefrontal cortex. Now, we can choose how we want to respond. We aim not to survive or find calm in the eye of the storm, but rather to engage the situation or crisis by acting from our values.
Later, we can reflect on what made us upset. Being curious: what was it about the situation that triggered me? Is there a pattern? By reflecting we can learn to become more aware and effective if a similar situation were to arise again.
Life is messy. We all lose our temper. But, people understand we will make mistakes. Fortunately, we can apologize and come back to center.
In truth, we strengthen relationships not by being perfect but by making amends
Reflection: When do I get triggered? Are there patterns?
Action: The next time I find myself reacting, pause, breathe, and consciously “name it to tame it.”