THREE ESSENTIALS FOR STRENGTH AND POSITIVE MOMENTUM IN CRISIS
The impact of COVID-19 lets us know that “business as usual” no longer exists. In these unprecedented times of upheaval, there is increased stress and overwhelm in the workplace. In order to take full advantage of the creative opportunities before us, it is essential to take charge of our stressors, to remain calm and alert, for the sake of well-being and wise, level-headed decision making.
There are three important factors to keep top of mind in these times of escalated chaos and crisis: Self-Care, Orientation, Action.
SELF-CARE: Listen To Your Body….Treat Your Body Well
Extended emotional states of fear, anxiety, worry, dread, and panic stimulate stress hormones in the body. Fear narratives and ‘head trash’ perpetuate stress loops and lead to overwhelm. During stress and overwhelm, adrenaline and cortisol hijack blood and oxygen from our highest functioning brain center sending this essential fuel to the fight/flight/freeze survival center. This puts us in a state of constant fire-fighting vs. operating with wise, strategic functioning.
If you want to be at your best at work, or any domain of your life, self-care is a must. For optimal brain functioning, neuroscience tells us we must sleep properly, eat well, stay hydrated, move our bodies often, avoid unnecessary stressors, and take plenty of breaks in our work day.
Practice elevated self-care….stop lying to yourself that you don’t have time. You can’t afford to indulge your poor habits. Adopt a “pulse and pause” work style, and you will be optimizing your brain function throughout the day, you’ll be more inspired and productive, and you’ll sleep better at night.
ORIENTATION: Attitude Is Key
Orientation speaks to where you are coming from in any given moment….it encompasses your beliefs, your emotional field, and attitude toward something.
Orientation is a choice. While we cannot control our circumstances, we are always at choice about how to respond to them. We can choose to be victims of our circumstances, or we can choose to cooperate with what is and empower ourselves to respond with calm and alert command.
As a practice, take time to check in with yourself often…. Are your thoughts and feelings arising from the dysfunction of stress-reaction and limitation? Or are they arising from the optimal functioning of personal sovereignty and opportunity? We cannot straddle these two orientations without tremendous confusion and scattered purpose….we must choose. Remember to choose wisely.
Be mindful of your orientation throughout your day. Watch for triggers that will disturb your grounding and orientation. Take whatever steps necessary to recover to an orientation of internal well-being….get support if need be.
ACTION: Emotional Intelligence and Empathy Are Your Guides
Action has two basic components: 1) What we do, and 2) How we do it.
It is essential to look at our actions beyond the level of task. Now is the time to up- level our personal development to focus on the qualities of HOW we take action. We all want to get the job done successfully. True success must include being thoughtful about the quality of the process.
This takes increased Emotional Intelligence and Empathic Fluency. Both of these are skillsets modeled by the most successful global game-changers.
Emotional Intelligence encompasses the ever-churning sea of thoughts and feelings: yours, mine, ours. It includes identifying, using, understanding, and regulating your emotions, and the ability to support others to the same end. Developing and accessing this skill set will make you more effective, engaging, and satisfied.
Empathy is the ability to sense and feel what others are feeling, and put oneself in another person’s shoes in a meaningful way when making decisions. It is also a spacial and systemic awareness when asking, “What’s best for the team, the company, our industry?” Make it a personal mission to become more empathically fluent.
Bring more attention to how you do what you do, and you will realize greater benefits beyond simply accomplishing tasks and getting the job done. You will be modeling both essential skill sets and developing an environment rich in these qualities.
© 2020 Gail Barrie, CPCC