If you think leadership is all about being an adult – guess again!
I’ve often heard people say things like “I’m unable to ‘adult’ today.” Or “Being a grown-up is not for sissies.” Or “It’s time to put on the big girl/boy underpants.”
Well, while some of this may be true, it would be a disservice to ourselves, our teams, and our companies or associations to look past the little triggers from our childhood that rear their ugly heads now and again.
Now I’m not suggesting that your role as a conference coordinator, meeting planner, board chair, or other key decision maker in your organization also needs to include standing in where necessary as a therapist.
What I am saying is that when it comes to our childhood, whether we say it was “good” or perhaps “bad,” the interpretations we made about the events and situations during that time have a profound effect and play an integral role in how we navigate through life as adults. And those interpretations come through in our careers and work environments.
That’s where Revision Based Leadership skills can help.
By discovering and acknowledging how the subconscious beliefs through which we filter all of our life experiences often operate us from the shadows, we can turn the tide toward stepping out into a new paradigm of greater personal and professional success from a place of empowerment and authenticity.
False Evidence Appearing Real
Future Events Already Ruined
—is almost always at the root of the problem.
Fear of the future, fear that we’re not measuring up to our peers, fear that we’ll be judged based on society’s “guidelines for living” (e.g. your race, sexual orientation, age, height, weight, religious beliefs, what you wear, how much you weigh, what you drive, where you live….).
We all have what I call a Fear Lizard. It’s a little creature that hops up onto our shoulders and starts feeding us a bunch of lies. It gets its information at the top of the spinal column where a piece of the brain called the Reticular Activating System—or RAS, a bundle of neurons responsible for all our senses (except smell)—begins, extending upward about two inches into our head.
Science tells us that the RAS acts like a security guard charged with keeping an eye on what comes into “the building” of our conscious minds. And not just minding the store, rather deciding which information is the most important for us to deal with at any given time.
The RAS is basically our reptilian brain on high alert, often lawlessly running around in its misguided attempts to keep us safe. Fear is its superpower, and it can be deeply rooted into our subconscious mind based on a primitive way of thinking.
However, Fear can be a powerful tool if harnessed in the right way. So, instead of expending a lot of energy trying to get rid of Fear and our Fear Lizard, we can retrain it to change from giving us a bunch of negative feedback, to working WITH US with positive input.
The habit of a new story is what we need to feed it.
So here are my Five Fear Steps to help support you and your leadership teams:
Step #1 – Stop and take a deep breath
When you do this, it opens up at least just a little bit of space for perhaps something else to take place.
Step #2 – Thank the fear for getting your attention
Whatever it is, it’s trying to tell you something.
Step #3 – Examine the fear
Is it imminent fear? Like a fire, or flood, or someone is physically trying to harm you, or some other emergency? If so, your body has probably already reacted and doing what needs to be done (running away, calling 911…). But if it’s not imminent fear, it’s either an old fear story from the past, or a future fear story, which means that it’s made up and that your inner critic is doing the talking.
Step #4 – Reframe the fear
You can ask yourself things like, “What is the opposite of this fear story?” Or “How do I want to feel without the burden of this fear story?” Or “What might things look like if I didn’t believe this fear story?”
Step #5 – Be gentle with yourself
You’re changing negative patterns of thought that have been deeply rooted into your subconscious mind - and it takes time.
Lastly, I’d like to offer you this new acronym for F.E.A.R.:
Revision Based Leadership is all about looking at the past, to discern where you are in the present, in order to chart your organization or association’s engagement and success for the future.
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