The first month of 2021 has required much of us already. I have met with teams determined not to be held back by the weirdness of our current time, and also teams who don’t know where they’re going to draw the impetus to move through this next month from, let alone the year.
Knowing how to recalibrate ourselves when we feel off-track or are temporarily unsure of our way forward is a life and leadership skill. It’s one we know, and one we need to remember to employ often. When what we’re facing seems overwhelming or all consuming, or when our energy is low, it’s imperative we employ this skill to ourselves and to keep moving forward.
Without a degree of clarity and productivity, it’s very easy to allow what’s happening around us to lower our tone and our energy further.
An aircraft is off-track 90% of the time! On any given flight, thousands of minute corrections may need to be made to counteract the forces of nature, traffic and other circumstances that a flight may encounter to keep it on track. The precision of the route is largely down to the constant vigilance of the pilots who scan the available information and verify it against the track they know they need to follow. There’s no illusion that the aircraft will just stay on track once it’s pointed in the right direction and that each flight will be flawless. Even the information that the pilots use is constantly checked and rechecked to make sure it’s correctly entered and accurate. Nothing is taken for granted and the fallibility of systems, equipment and people is assumed and constantly monitored.
Acknowledging that we are human and therefore fallible, and that conditions are constantly trying to pull us off track is the very first step to moving forward.
Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.”
Next is to DO something about getting back on track.
Here are 3 D’s to get you back on track when your brain is lacking clarity:
When an aircraft is blown off course, the first piece of obvious information used to correct is WHERE we decided we were going in the first place. What is the destination we wish to arrive at?
When we have too many things going on in life, or if what we’re facing seems incalculable or insurmountable, we must rescue ourselves by remembering the basics. WHY are we doing what we’re doing? What was the intention in the first place? What is it we want or are aiming at? What are the VALUES we agreed to conduct ourselves by? Who is it we want to show up as?
We must look at all the information in front of us, seek out more to fill in the blanks if required, and make a decision based on that information that reorients us towards the destination that’s important to us. Indecision is what brings about frustration. We dilute our power when we wallow in indecision. We procrastinate because we fear making the wrong decision when all we really need to do is make the next decision. One course correction can be followed by another, and another. Just make a decision so that you can regain your mental power. When you’ve decided, then you are powerful, and the next decision isn’t so hard to make even if further correction is required.
The more we make decisions, the easier they seem to get. Decision making is a habit – and once we become accustomed to choosing the feeling of powerfully moving forward rather than the painful frustration of staying put – making that choice regularly is ownership. We need the discipline to continuously make decisions that align us with our required destination and to stick to our value systems and principles, even when doing so creates resistance, rejection or unrest in others. If we don’t stick to our guiding principles and values, and consistently correct towards the destination we decided on, we can find ourselves irretrievably off course without enough fuel left to get back on track.
Your brain needs leadership. We must self-discipline enough to create strong and steady leadership for others.
The third “D” we can use to keep us on track and stop our brains exploding is Determination. When we find our brains exploding, sometimes it’s hard to find the energy to be determined. That’s why the Decisiveness and Discipline must come first to help recentre you and regain energy and momentum. The definition of determination is “firmness of purpose”. It’s a firm belief in WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. If what you’re doing is good, necessary, productive and beneficial, then nothing should be allowed to blow you off course.
If we’re prepared to deal with any destructive thought processes within ourselves, and we’re prepared to acknowledge that the world owes us nothing and it’s ALL about how we choose to show up and take responsibility for our part, our contribution, and the results we create, then TOGETHER, we can make it happen.
Exactly what you need to do to recentre and reboot your thinking is a personal thing. Perhaps you need to withdraw and recharge whilst listening to something that centres your thinking. Perhaps you need to call a strategic meeting to draw on the collective thinking process. Perhaps you need to reassess and realign with strategy.
The first step is to recognise how often we need to recentre ourselves in order to stay on track, and to remember that we’re part of a team – part of a collective.
Adapted from a January 2019 article entitled “What To Do When Your Brain Explodes”.
By Christen Killick
February 1st, 2021