Clyde C. Lowstuter
CEO, Robertson Lowstuter
Master Certified Coach (MCC)
Fear is crippling the nation . . . and us.
I grant you that we live in very fearful times. Ambiguity creates stress. Some stress is good, as it mobilizes us to achieve results. Extreme stress is fear-driven and can paralyze even the strongest among us. Fear creates sub-optimization at all levels and in all forms. Fear often brings out the worst in us. Operating confidently, boldly, and authentically are foreign concepts when a person is stressed and afraid. Indeed, it is impossible for the emotional states of being joyful and fearful to equally co-exist. Fear generally wins out.
I’ve heard there’s a recession & I’ve decided not to participate.
In my world, I see many talented executives freeze up in the midst of the daunting challenges, like the ones this economy has spawned. When stressed, executives are seemingly unable to listen, think deeply, or operate in a resourceful manner. When asked about other options, they are often limited in their thinking; they simply can’t access the meta-view.
Over the years, I’ve taught myself to operate differently when stressed. I have employed the following three counterintuitive strategies for years. I use them when I want to succeed at some seemingly impossible tasks or when I’m in a funk. I hope that you find them equally helpful.
1. Shift Your Perspective . . . and Behavior:
I have learned, albeit at times very painfully, that when I am defensive, I’m not very objective or resourceful. Having a counterintuitive mindset enables me (and you) to shift from an Attitudinal Response of Threat and a Behavioral Response of win-lose Defensiveness to one of Collaboration and Cooperation. (Choices model graphic). Changing perspectives enables me to be open to opportunities not available previously. Instead of my being defensive and demonstrating that I have all the answers – when I shift to an Attitudinal Response of Openness, my Behavioral Response is one of Curiosity. Being insatiably curious immediately enables me to drop my defensiveness. My need to be right and domineering is replaced with my overwhelming desire to understand another’s point of view. This enables me to deepen relationships with others versus alienating them, thus creating an environment for growth.
It is not so much what happens to you in life; it is how you respond to the situation that really makes all the difference. Shift your focus and observe the positive changes in your attitudes and behaviors.
2. “Yes, And” – Access Creative Options:
How often do you use the phrase “Yes, But” in conversations when others are exploring options with you? If you’re like most people, you are probably largely unaware of this habitual modus operandi that you revert to when under stress. “Yes, But” is defeating, depreciative, and demoralizing. It keeps you and others stuck, without creative options. “Yes, And” enables you to dramatically mobilize yourself and tap into your own unique resourcefulness. Safeguard against your tendency to default to your well-rehearsed, “Yes, But” responses by answering these provocative questions.
“Yes, I’m swamped myself, and how can I help my boss be even more effective and gain greater visibility for myself? What can I take off her plate?”
“Yes, I am focused on my own issues, and how can I positively affirm others and help them become even more innovative, energized, and confident?”
3. Take Charge!
Don’t be a powerless victim. Stand up! Move around! There is a direct correlation between physical activity and sense of wellbeing. Choose to adopt a compelling mindset of positive expectancy and gratitude for the things you do have in your life. Be thankful for the challenges that face you as your skills and abilities will be strengthened as you overcome them.
Additionally, adopt an assertive, “So what?” persona that is focused on overcoming your travails and emotional rollercoaster.. If you want to avoid being victimized by external forces beyond your control, observe out loud, “I’ve heard there’s a recession… I’ve decided not to participate.” Then shift into a resourceful mode by asking yourself a series of powerful, action-oriented questions, such as the following:
“So what if these are tough economic times; what are 10 ways I can positively impact the P&L in the next 30 days?”
“Where and how am I holding back from functioning at 100%? What behavior can I engage in to thrive and contribute even more?”
We live in a world full of possibilities for professional and personal growth. Fear, doubt, and uncertainty do shake things up a bit; however, it’s also a great opportunity to rise above those things that may have undermined your boldness, confidence, and enthusiasm. Focus on the positive and embrace those empowering beliefs and behaviors that enable you to operate with greater authenticity and personal power.
[I’d love to learn about the strategies you’ve utilized to positively turn around your perspective or shift your behavior. Click on the comments link below].