For many successful executives, retirement is a scary proposition. Scary because retirement equals lack of identity, lack of structure, lack of value…Who am I if I am not the CEO of a successful company? Who am I if I am not the CFO, or the CMO, or whatever your title. It may define your sense of worth. >
Put over 100 tenured TEC/Vistage* Chairs in Boulder for 3 days and magic happens. Well, depending on how you define magic. Is it transforming your view of the world, how you hold your experiences, what you see for your future, how to live in joy?….we did all that this weekend. >
When executives turn to their coaches in those moments of overwhelm, they might describe it as an issue of work/life balance, Or, it could show up as managing priorities, or even setting priorities. >
When we are having a good day, our thinking brain (the pre-frontal cortex) is in control and we don’t get flooded with cortisol – the hormone that is produced when our instinctive brain (the amygdala) saves us from danger. The power of fear is life saving in the right moment. It is also extremely harmful when it washes over us regularly through our day as we engage with the world through our computers/devices.
In her Vistage talk called from Blindspots to Breakthroughs, Rebecca Heiss spoke to my groups about how to reduce your blindspots and increase your awareness to live a healthier and more peaceful life. Dr. Heiss’s presentation is a careful layering of facts and examples that allowed us to reach our own conclusions. She comes from the viewpoint substantiated by science that our fear response is subconsciously driving us to the point that it is damaging our health. Awareness of how this is affecting us could save our lives.
In thinking about all the stories Dr. Heiss wove to provoke a greater awareness for ourselves about our own assumptions and responses, I realize that we have to catch ourselves in our own mental games if we are going to create new patterns for ourselves. Our subconscious brain will fill in with automatic responses if we don’t provoke discomfort for ourselves. In order to do that, we have to get outside our regular patterns, like taking the same route, talking to the same people, following the “accepted” way of doing things. It is the power of fear that in today’s world looks like we won’t be included or accepted that keeps us from trying new things. While that might have led to death in the cave age it won’t have much effect today.
According to Dr. Heiss, the more you practice using your pre-frontal cortex to challenge your patterns, the more it grows and the more frequently you will respond from there instead of the amygdala, the fear response center. What is one thing you could do from the list of top 5 take-aways to reduce the power of fear in your life?
The top 5 take-aways were:
1. Breathe- create a meditation practice
2. Reconcile by asking what you stand for and what you stand against
3. Expand the diversity of input you get
4. Ask more questions about your assumptions and those of others
5. Know yourself
Want to know more about Vistage?
Do you know what your superpower is? Some people would say it is your top strength, what you excel it or what you delight in. >
Do you have a wisdom circle – a group of wise friends or advisors who tell it to you straight and hold you accountable to being your best self? What would it look like if you did? How bout this? >
When I was a kid, my Dad spent every weekend in the garden and his 45 rose bushes were his pride and joy – right after the dichondra lawn. I didn’t seem to notice the thorns as I cut flowers for my Mom or deadheaded old roses per my Dad’s instructions. >
This time of year, many of my coaching sessions are taken up with creating focus on the most important activities or outcomes required for a successful year. It is a typical and valuable assessment of how to actualize those aspirational New Year’s resolutions. Usually, to be successful, the resolution requires changes in behavior. Making these resolutions into reality requires some analysis of what is currently working and what is not working. >
Self awareness is one of the most important leadership competencies yet it is not often the focus of a conversation until there is a misstep. Subordinates have sayings about it, some of the more polite ones being “the bull in the china shop,” “too much information,” or “won’t let it go”. >
The news feeds, especially on my Facebook page are distressing. In the midst of all the snarky discourse and name calling, there has to be a center of peace and communication-that is, if we want to bridge the gap. >