In times of adversity—like when walking upon a saber-toothed tiger — our mind immediately goes to a place of protection. This mind of ours automatically reacts! The reaction, often occurring as an involuntary (we don’t need to tell our bodies to do it) defensive mechanism has been a blessing to the human race. When confronted with saber-toothed tigers back in the day, this defense mechanism would allow us to respond appropriately
— either that of fight, flight, or freeze.
These adversities were that of life-or-
death and we needed to automatically
Today, though, this may seem like a ridiculous example—a saber-toothed tiger!? It’s not so far off though. Our mind has not adapted. When facing adversity in today’s world — even when it is not life or death — like many of our leadership tasks, or when we are about to take an exam, or approaching that crush to go on a date, or interviewing for a job — the defense-mechanized mind automatically, subconsciously reacts. Our minds bring about the stress response simply because of the way we “perceive” these situations. This reaction is often rooted in fear, doubt, frustration, or other limiting reactions resulting in a fight, flight, or freeze reaction. The good news is that “perception” is within our control. We can train a completely different response to the threatening situation.
Although this type of reaction is great for surviving, it is not great for thriving. The response to perceived “threatening” (like job-interviewing) circumstances creates the same reaction in our mind as if they actually do threaten our lives. Although this defensive reaction is common it doesn't mean that it can't be changed. Actually it can. We have the ability to train our mind to react and respond in a different way. This is where the belief statement comes in.
A belief statement is a phrase or thought that you believe to be true about your capabilities. This is not a pollyanna perspective. This is an authentic belief in your abilities, skills, and self. Essentially, you create what is called an effective thought pattern. We utilize effective thought patterns during challenging times or adversity—as a reminder of our skills and capabilities. An effective thought pattern is purposefully put in place for the times when the idea of your "Self" is challenged. The most productive use of an effective thought pattern is to attach the statement to adversity. This way when something difficult happens the engrained mental habit is an unshakeable self-belief. Essentially, we condition ourselves to not just survive, but to thrive!
Take a moment to develop an authentic thought pattern for a challenging circumstance in your own life. Write it down. And share it with us—post a comment on facebook or comment on this blog page…
Welcome to the Leadership Trainer's Thought-Lab
Here you will find reflections and insight related to leadership, leadership training, and how we can more effectively serve as leadership developers.