Has it ever crossed your mind “I might fail in this”? Even the best of the best have moments, when they feel that they will fail! That is human and you actually must have those moments! The important thing is to move forward after such moments. Our brain prefers to be on alert of risks. That preferred behaviour is what you need to learn to break.
At the points of risks and fear our options will be very limited. It is better to give all you got on one option, than to stop work on options. Well, that was the case some thousands of years ago. And it had been successful strategy for millions of years before that. In today’s world, that is no more the case! There are no lions, tigers, rattle snakes or something alike threatening our lives at work.
Our brain is, and will keep on doing this, still working on that basic process. It’s better to be on alert than dead! This causes stress, protective passive aggressive behaviour and toxic culture. What can you do? We need to look to the point, where our brain is still on it’s most natural stage and our mind has not been blocked by instruction of “good behaviour”. We need to look at small children. How do they protect themselves from the stress? They have their Teddy bears or security blankets. I hope you smiled a bit on this, but when you think about all the stories of luck providing horse shoes, rabbit feet etc. etc. you get the point! What is the value of such things, why should you have your “pocket teddy bear”, I mean really?
It is about anchoring your emotions to safety. It is about using your emotional intelligence in the way, which allows you to see opportunities. Doubt is inevitable to jump to your mind once in a while. When you have something that connects you to security providing emotions, stress and fear are not building walls around you. Walls, that eventually lock you in. Walls that prevent you from succeeding! No, you don’t have to carry a security blanket with you like Eppu / Linus van Pelt does. Your security blanket can be mental, or it can be a keyring. The shape and the form are not important. You know, some athletes wear the same underwear without washing in all major events…
Having the anchor is using your emotional intelligence wisely! It takes you over the initial brain reaction (forward, flee, freeze) to evaluate your options and hence to choose the right reaction. It helps you to slow down for that critical 3 seconds this process takes. This will give the power to teach your brain how to function better next time. The process has multiple names, and sure there will be more to come. Zen, tao, mindfulness, prayer and so on. Choose the name you want, choose the element or visual image you want. But choose. Teddy bears are not bad!
What is my solution? It is my 5 continent companion. My wooden cup that travels with me. There is always time for a cup of coffee / tea, specially when emotions are running high. This cup takes me in a split of a second to a calm camp fire. I am with this leading myself, my emotions and hence my behaviour! When you are in lead, you can choose the best ways to proceed!
We all face moments, when we are not sure about the way forward, or even feel that it is better just to flee or fight. Those moments actually are the turning points, which define your future. Because those moments also create behaviour for future situations. Your brain will learn, that this action kept you alive. Yes, that is what your primary primitive brain is only interested in. If it worked once, it can be used again. Regardless whether it really supported you on your way to to goals you have!
When you want to be top performer during tough moments, you should connect your “teddy bear” to your strongest personality features. Knowing your strengths at the moments of turmoil is much more valuable than knowing your weaknesses. Weaknesses have never made anyone world champ. Calming your mind and activating your strengths, that’s the way you want to function. If you want to know more, I am one word away! Say “yes” to this message.
Your partner in making success happen, Kari I. Mattila, emotional intelligence advisor