In our October 19th post, Don’t Blow Things Up, we said, “the stressors of our time are taking their toll.” They are and they will continue to do so.
We encouraged you to Pause and ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to do or say in alignment with my goals and values?” Then, last week, in How do I Pause? we answered your question about how to integrate Pausing into your life.
This week, we want to talk about the second step in our leadership model, The Leader in You®, because it can support your emotional agility which supports the creation of psychological safety and managing stress.
The second step we’re referring to is Reflecting. When we say Reflect, we’re not suggesting you sit and stare off into space, but that you ask yourself some specific questions that can guide you to a deeper understanding of yourself and your reactivity and can help you understand the experience of others. These two outcomes can take you to a deeper level than simply pausing. They give you tools to investigate what is going on inside of you and to guess what might be going on within the people you are involved with or leading.
So, you may ask with appropriate skepticism, “Why are we talking about this again?” as we already talked about it several weeks ago in our post, Practicing Emotional Agility.
We’re talking about these questions again because we know that reading them once will not change your behavior; but reading them and exploring how they can increase your effectiveness and decrease your reactivity will help you create a culture of psychological safety in your work, home, church, the team you play on, etc.
There are three questions we encourage you to ask yourself, and we add a fourth question when you are considering the experience of others. In addition to providing you with greater understanding, these questions are the central questions to an empathetic response to the people in your life.
To understand more about yourself in a specific situation, ask yourself:
What am I afraid of in this situation?
- You can ask this before you go into the situation or to deepen your understanding when you pause.
- Our brains are wired for fear. Fear has historically kept us alive and that is the number one job of our brain. So, what we know is the thing that most often derails people is fear in the many ways it shows up.
What do I typically do when I feel that?
- This is a chance to consider what you know about yourself.
- When you become afraid, how do you know it? We talked about this question in our team and had three different answers. When Linda is afraid, she often finds herself acting tough, with a bit of bravado; when Stephanie is afraid, she often gets analytical considering all of the data she can find; and when Heather gets afraid, she often withdraws into herself and starts making a plan and then can believe it’s the right and only way forward.
- We all typically have responses to fear that can vary based on the circumstances, but over time they can become a pattern.
What would I do if I felt safe?
- And, here is the game changer!
- After reflecting on how you typically handle your fear, contrast that with how you show up when you feel safe and at your best. They are often quite different. And, as a leader, you want to understand that you’re navigating your fear and that you’re committing to showing up at your best.
We’re going to stop here for this week. Next week we’ll talk about how you can use Step 2 of The Leader in You® to help you understand and respond to others.
This week, play with these questions to help you understand your reactivity, to honor it, and take action as you would if you were at your best. Think of the power in being able to know when you’re triggered and being able to acknowledge what you typically do when you feel that way. Consider what you would do if you were going to show up at your best, Then, do that!
BAM! You have just added a level of emotional agility to your repertoire.
We’re here for you.