THE IDEA: If you are fighting something, you are fueling it. Most people don’t improve when pressure is applied, and many times they collapse under the weight. I facilitate monthly leadership share groups with senior leaders, and we discuss industry, customer, and business challenges in a trusting, transparent, and sacred space. It’s invaluable for leaders who are looking to grow with peers in a community which accepts and encourages vulnerability. During a recent meeting, many of the leaders shared that they are struggling with stress, anxiety, and uneasiness due to the dramatic structural business changes catalyzed by Covid. A couple of group members courageously shared, “I am really struggling to hold onto my confidence, drive, and mojo.” Everyone in the group could relate.
Fear is an essential part of being human. It informs us, leading to protection and safety. It is part of a valuable evolutionary defense mechanism that can serve us – but too often becomes the controlling emotion in our decision making. It can distract and mislead us, stealing energy, inspiration, and drive. Some questions to consider if you feel fear is dominant:
- What strengths do you overplay and what are the effects on your energy?
- What are your biggest fears as a leader and what is the root cause?
- What experiences, activities, or people bring real joy to you on the job?
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
Insecurities, lack of control, and stress sidetracks most people. It can compromise our defense mechanisms, motivating us to overwork, while demanding perfection and feeding bad behaviors. Does stress and fear of failure motivate you or are you guided by healthier motives? Often, we celebrate workaholism and don’t practice gratitude nor pause to regulate our emotions. We forget some intuitive yet vital points:
- Nothing is accidental, we must all practice poise under pressure.
- impaired focus or avoidance of courageous discussions feeds anxiety, fears, and lack of trust.
- Fears from our past activates and energizes our “inner critic.” We become too hard on ourselves.
- We must grow in our emotional health and resilience and practice rebounding faster from failure.
- Energy management, not time management, is the new skill set for this era.
DOES YOUR PRACTICE OR ROUTINE GIVE YOU ENERGY?
I have noticed that the healthiest leaders have constructed a process that serves and guides them, keeping them on track and holistically fit. They choose empowering behaviors. I wanted to share three thoughts to help you stay healthy during difficult times of transformation and change:
- According to the book Hard Optimism, 25% of our optimistic viewpoints are present at birth and 75% are choices we make throughout our life. Do you control your moods, and are you choosing your emotions, or do they choose you? Start becoming aware of your inner dialogue with yourself and start the process of conditioning your mind.
- Stay away from the tendency to think of every challenge as a potential future catastrophe. Stay present and address the current problem in the moment. Ask yourself, “what can I control, and what do I control right now?” Pause, reflect, and recognize whether something is a challenge or a real threat.
- The practice of mindfulness helps us become aware of everything around us and builds a capacity to accept and embrace challenges. Not every moment is a battle for survival. Mindfulness helps you manage your emotions and stay in healthy relationship with others while allowing you to see clearly and make peace with your fears.
Are you staying present observing yourself under pressure and are you aware of what is stealing your energy and inspiration? If you are fighting others, or the system, you are fueling it.