How often have you seen people fold at the precise moment an opportunity they have wanted comes to them? They turn down a job offer that is everything they said they wanted. They walk away from opportunity that holds great importance to them to fulfill an obligation to someone else. Workplaces are brimming with tragedy, self-sacrifice, and reasons the work is not getting done. Too many people share stories of being a martyr or victim. That explains why alcohol sales are up and people are “living for the weekend”.
A chain reaction takes place in the brain at lightning speed. First you get clear about what you want. Then, without even knowing it, fear, doubt and concern floods in for how you're going to actually make it happen.
Conveniently, chaos strikes, making is seem impossible to continue. "Saved by the bell!" Thank goodness for distraction. It takes us off the hook.
Resistance is triggered in response to two kinds of tension. They are triggered subconsciously. Knowing how to navigate 1) the creative tension of not knowing how, and 2) emotional tensions such as fear, self-doubt, defensiveness, etc. is key to bridging the gap between your current reality and your ideal future.
But chaos and crisis is not all bad news…
Once you can identify your risk aversion factors, you’ll be able to turn them into motivators to get you past your biggest hurdles.
When you know how to unpack a lifetime of lived experiences, including disappointments and hardships, you’ll find that life has prepared you for something extraordinary that is uniquely yours.
Something happens when the fog lifts and people get crystal clear about what they want to do with their lives. They are moved by the possibilities they see. Then fear sets in.
The first few times I facilitated these programs I thought “sh*t happens” and chalked it up to coincidence. Now I know there’s more to it than meets the eye. I’ve noticed four unique patterns emerge.
- Some people discover they’ve been on the wrong path for the wrong reasons. Their choices may have been influenced by other people’s expectations or the singular pursuit of money. They embrace the opportunity to pivot, shift directions and align their outer business aspirations and career goals with the inner desires of their heart.
- A few people come down with a flu, get into a fender bender, need to care for a sick family member, or have a crisis at work. Distraction inevitably happens within the first 2-3 weeks. Some people are stopped by circumstances beyond their control. It's important to distinguish whether crisis and chaos is recurring pattern.
- Others sail through initially and hit the wall near the end when it's time to publicly share their commitment and implement their action plan or business idea. Leadership trepidation doesn’t happen for everyone, but it is an invisible barrier for some.
- Others unexpectedly park their ambitions on the back burner temporarily. They realize they’ve neglected their personal relationships for too long. Instead of getting distracted by yet another professional project they spend time re-building at the foundation of their personal or professional life. This tends to be an opportunity to heal old wounds.
Great athletes deliver when they get the chance. For every one person willing to test the limits of their abilities there are 99 others who repel from risk. Challenge is exhilarating for some people. They come alive and thrive. Others are fearful and full of self-doubt.
What is it that causes us to disappear or ‘choke’ at the precise moment the universe opens up to us? Instead of flourishing we become entangled in a downward spiral that further compounds hardship and loss. It’s easy to judge someone else’s blown opportunity but it’s tough to take responsibility for our own. No one wants to own the yucky stuff.
There is a critical turning point in the development of a leader’s mindset that either ignites growth of the business or predicts its early demise. Successful entrepreneurs share common practices when anticipating and overcoming challenges that stop other leaders in their tracks.
To serve people - in THEIR best interest - we need a holistic approach to leadership, one that honours the whole person. We can't do that for the people we lead until we can turn inward and really get to know ourselves.
We’ve lost the ability to be with each other, to look eyeball to eyeball. In our haste to forward the corporate agenda we’ve lost the ability to listen, really LISTEN to people. We put structures in place to control behaviour and avoid making mistakes. Then judge employees for being disengaged at work or talk behind a colleagues back about their mental health or addiction issue. It’s no wonder people are risk-averse and afraid to follow their dreams.
We all have tangible assets, property and equipment to manage. But people need more. Navigating human dynamics – within ourselves and within groups – requires a level of mastery that cannot be learned from a book or a lecture. Just because you are a subject matter expert doesn’t mean you can relate well to people and help them understand how to apply your knowledge to change their current reality.
Each of us must practice in a safe, trusting environment until it becomes our default way of operating. How can we learn to collaborate and communication effectively when we're not present to our own thoughts and feelings because we're busy, busy, busy?
The future of every organization lives in its people. Bold ideas, practical know-how, skill mastery, critical analysis, judgment, and decision-making are intangible assets. Soft skills are difficult to convey and communicate. Our inability to collaborate effectively has serious ramifications to our social structures and economy. Each of us is uniquely affected by society’s broken systems – operationally, environmentally, financially, physically, mentally and emotionally. People are suffering.
Change is physical. Succession planning, innovation, market development - the focus is on the safe and the known. We transfer equity, property, physical assets and contractual obligations. Lawyers, accountants and valuation consultants support the transfer of tangible assets.
Transition is psychological. Moving from the current reality - what is known - toward an uncertain future is risky business. Transition is fueled by emotion. Emotional blowouts cause good plans to fail and people to scatter to the wind. Emotional implosions cause quiet disengagement. If we take better care of our people they will take better care of each other, our customers, and our “stuff”.
We think corporate decision-making is rational and objective. That’s why we focus on the physical and tangible. But science confirms judgment is predominantly subjective and emotional. Most of the thoughts that influence decision-making are subconscious, occurring without our awareness. I call these intangible factors Invisible Barriers™. They are natural human responses to risk, uncertainty, the creative tension of not knowing how, and emotional tensions of fear, self-doubt and insecurity. They build up over time, like carbon in an engine, eventually causing engine failure.
I'll bet you've felt the pain and discomfort of not having your psychological and emotional needs met...and it gave you an idea.
Life has prepared you to create something new, novel or innovative. You see things others don’t see because you’ve had different experiences than we’ve had. Those experiences enable you to notice fine details – the good the bad and sometimes the ugly. Don’t discount your ideas. They matter more than you know!
Step into the stream of the unknown.