We all want to know how to perform our best more often and work more effectively with others for greater results and stronger relationships. To get the results we must have and strengthen our relationships in the process, we must have greater communication and engagement with people we lead and work with. When those pieces are aligned it’s easier to have a healthier work-life rhythm.  What always seems to get in the way?

Fear isn’t real! Danger is real!

Fear is a powerful emotion. It’s your choice to choose to fear or to not choose fear. It’s based upon all of your life experiences and where your confidence and self-esteem are now, today based on your past. Sometimes we hesitate, we become nervous, we often doubt ourselves or the outcomes which leads many of us to overthinking. All of these feelings are a form of fear. Fear is the #1 trap of indecision.

What have you experienced where fear caused you to doubt yourself?

We find ourselves avoiding certain conversations because we’re not sure how the other person will react let alone respond. So we take the path of least resistance – we think – and avoid it altogether. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. As human creatures, we do more to avoid pain than we do to seek out good intent.

What kinds of conversations do you tend to avoid?

Research shows the body state of being nervous is the same as being excited. Physiologically they’re the same whether we’re reacting or responding. How do we overcome the sometimes crippling feelings and emotions of fear – those moments when we want to retreat to insulate and isolate ourselves from ‘it’. Your first step is to remember you have the power to choose. I can certainly tell you from a keyboard, ‘the next time the nerves build inside of you, tell yourself, “I feel excited.”‘ How do you think that’ll work for you? Exactly, so let’s deploy a more worthwhile strategy. Here’s 3 strategies I call the 3 C’s:

Curiosity – reframe your fear by asking yourself, “am I safe,” and “what’s really the message here?” These two questions interrupt the continuous pattern of fear you tend to fall back into. How? This process engages your prefrontal cortex and the questions allow you to reframe what’s really going on. Stop, interrupt and reframe.

Courage – get to know your anxiety and be comfortable being uncomfortable, allow yourself to embrace the suck it’s going to be okay. The single biggest character trait a leader and frankly anyone must have to persevere is courage. Having someone come alongside you here dramatically increases your probability of success here, too.

Compassion – this situation is not about fault or you did/didn’t do something and now this is your penalty. Instead of beating yourself up with guilt and shame. Love yourself!  Smile, it’s going to work out so you’ll be able to share your story of triumph! The next time the feelings of doubt, fear, hesitancy grow inside of you, tell yourself, “I feel” (insert some form of excitement) Practice it – over and over.

If you’ve been following The Culture Whisperer or Elegant Leadership for any time, you’re likely familiar with the Triple A Franework. This simple, powerful and practical strategy is the single biggest action anyone of us can take to take a negative and turn it into a positive immediately by putting the strategy into action. The first A is Awareness. What you’ve read to this point is creating an awareness in you that whatever you’re going through, you’re now recognizing it’s bad juju for you and it’s affecting more than just your mojo!

The second A is avoidance. We see the bad behavior or habit or someone has pointed out an unfavorable perception that we’re interested in changing. When those feelings well up inside of you and your instinct, your reaction is one from emotion – STOP! Catch yourself doing it right and avoid that rabbit hole of destructuve behaviors you’re desperately trying to change. There are a variety of strategies we teach in the Elegant Leader with Voltage model to help you overcome that bad juju and put you on the right track – a more peaceful, powerful and graceful place to be – when you’re under stress.

The third A is alternative. We are aware of what’s not right. We stop or step back and avoid our bad reactions and now we deploy, establish or put in place a healthier response – not a reaction. A reaction is thoughtless, apathetic, lacking honest care for someone or some thing. We respond with the right behavior or action we’re commited to start, create or institute…and that’s just one trap!

The second trap of indecision is procrastination. I’ve been meaning to write this article for months…get the picture. It’s not that we’re lazy…well most of us aren’t. It’s just more emotions of stress, doubt, a lack of energy, you’re tired and some fears show up here, too. All to say to you, ‘I can do this later.’

This trap is an example of a clarity, confidence, focus, uncertainty in/of a relationship and some negativity. What takes place is you’re finding other lower-value projects and tasks to accomplish during the day so you come away with a sense of worth. I’m the king of procrastinators – it doesn’t make me immune to the trap. It just means we all learn how to navigate and manage through it.  It’s not healthy either. How so? When you add the element of ‘scorched Earth’ that’s stress by the way, you become paralyzed in the pit of procrastination.

Sometimes you spiral into the ‘what if’s’ which is deadly and I’m not being dramatic either. I want to see you commit to being better at being better. We have a hashtag we promote called #DoSimpleBetter…and you can.

What does procrastination cost you?

How does procrastination run your life?

What 3 things do you know you need to take on that you keep putting off?

If you’re serious about overcoming procrastination, here’s one thing you can do: Schedule it! Stressing over it just makes things worse. Instead of pure brute force to overcome procrastination – expect it, plan for it. Believe it or not, procrastination is part of your mind’s process. You’ll find, as I have, while you’re procrastinating, your subconscious is at work for you.

There’s a gap between knowing what to do and doing it. 

The Four Traps are a lot to share in one day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. This is deep stuff and uncomfortable stuff (by the way that’s Step 2 of the 7 Steps to Become an Elegant Leader). I have a simple step-by-step process that’s been proven in the real-world for over 25 years.  We’re halfway there. The next trap is being a perfectionist.

It’s triggered by your own internal voice that’s sometimes hypercritical towards yourself. Why thank you for beating yourself up. Geesh! We lose perspective because of our past failures. We’re self-conscious enough already and now it’s about not being good enough or why you can’t do something. What do we do? We shield ourselves from judgment and circumstances by substituting work or putting off what we know is in front of us to be effective.

It’s a simple defense mechanism to shield ourselves from  failure. Remember when I said, we do more to avoid pain than we do to instill the good stuff? It’s ingrained and imprinted from thousands of years ago. It may take some time to overcome…just saying.

Here’s a Client story where they went from being trapped to high achievement. A typical mid-level manager, who had several direct reports in a well-known consumer goods company was struggling. Their team of 5 or 6 people were charged with developing new products and bringing them to market. They were more than a bit anal or OCD – it was their environment. ‘It’ was just never good enough.

The transformation came when they made a decision to be decisive, allow for team mistakes and listen more to their people’s input and challenge them instead of doing it for them This person was promoted to Director shortly after our initial 6-month engagement and most recently promoted to VP for the parent company responsible for multiple brands. The breakthrough came when they allowed room or held space for errors. The team became less stressed because this person demonstrated that they were human, made mistakes – transparent, authentic and genuine. The transforMOTION was significant and led to significant results and stronger relationships.

The moral: understand good enough is where you want to initially land then, step back, take a break, come back later and make a few refinements where appropriate. You can test, change, amend and modify later on…quit worrying about it. Unfortunately, we perfectionists must face reality: We’re not perfect. We’re human. Nothing we do will ever be perfect.

Our final trap of indecision is being stuck – frozen, trapped, unable to move forward for a variety of reasons. Do you know what it’s like to have nothing left in the tank, to stare blankly and have no clue where to start or go next?  It can be a helpless feeling. For some of us, change can be so difficult and for some of us, we’re not ready to change yet?

I want you to take one step forward identify it and embrace it, it’s okay. You need to know where the boundary is. I’m giving you your triggers – creating your awareness; helping you understand how to avoid these traps, and how to recall or initiatve alternatives to help pull you through – you can do this!

Getting stuck is being so close to your situation fear takes over versus applying common sense and critical thinking skills to logically move away from where you are currently to where you know you must go.  You just need a little push and someone in your corner. Let’s have a process, work the process and follow the process. The only difference between anxiety and excitement is perspective.

These four traps are real and affect us throughout every day. Some of them we tackle without a single thought and some days getting out of bed is the only thing we can do. I am redirecting you to go from a mindset of ‘things may go wrong’ to things are going to be okay. Coach yourself to say, “I’m excited for……” instead of “what if” or “OMG”.

Stop waiting to feel you can and know you can!

There’s always something you can do! And, you’re better at it than you think. Give yourself some credit. Stop when the bad juju appears, step back and employ the AAA framework today! Finally, I have 3 concentric circles for success in life. It’s a visual representation of what a successful Elegant Leader looks like:

Our ego is our biggest enemy. Much of what we do as human beings stems from our egos. They can be healthy and they can be harmful. Is my ego reacting out of emotion or responding with grace. All of us are responsible for results of some sort every day. It we focus solely on our results our ego and our relationships will suffer. We cannot coerce people to give us the results we want without some damage. It’s all about relationships (Step 5 of the 7 Steps to Become an Elegant Leader). However, we cannot put our all here either for nothing will ever be accomplished. Group hugs are fine as long as we get things done together.

There’s a rhythm to everything in life. When you let go and stop trying to balance everything, your perspective will change, you’ll find greater results with stronger relationships and have a healthier work-life and the traps of indecision will be minimized in good times and especially when you’re stressed.

Want to know more? Simply email me or call +1 205-482-2177 for a complimentary conversation, no strings attached on moving forward elegantly.

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