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Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

mind & meaning Aug 09, 2021

As a trainer and coach working with corporate decision-makers, I’ve heard many people share that they’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious as they navigate the accelerated pace of change. 

The pandemic increasingly looks like one of the defining events of our time. Many of us find ourselves needing to adapt and make high-stakes decisions fast.

I recently had a fascinating conversation with Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer at Vistage Worldwide, regarding the top factors that influence small-to-midsized businesses according to the latest studies. He shared that these unprecedented times demand unprecedented behavior, and that leaders must get comfortable with being uncomfortable.    

How willing and able are you to experience the discomfort that accompanies change? 

In times of complexity and uncertainty, it is common for business leaders to stay in their comfort zone by taking their time and underreacting to the current conditions and trends. However, this is a problem because the timeline to get more information and make decisions has shrunk dramatically. Therefore, you may need to take the bold and rapid actions that you considered too risky before the pandemic, which can be challenging and even paralyzing, particularly when it comes to high-stakes decisions.

So how can you make smart decisions quickly to guide your organization toward the best outcomes? Here are three strategies that can help:

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable:

Building your resilience capacity can allow you to feel more ease during stressful or adverse situations or events. Research shows that the simple act of pausing, even for as little as 50 to 100 milliseconds, allows the brain to focus on the most relevant information. One way to do that is by practicing the Quick Coherence® Technique, developed by the Institute of HeartMath. Click here to see a video that will guide you through the two simple steps.

2. Focus on what’s most important:

Consider asking yourself and your team members questions such as, “What is most important right now?” and “What if this change could lead our company to even greater success in the future?” This can allow you to reconnect with the bigger picture and therefore gain some distance from the problem so that you can be even more objective when assessing your priorities. Notice what is in your control or influence in the current situation, and what the potential blind spots might be. 

3. Tune in to your intuitive guidance: Here is a proven process that you can follow to access new or creative solutions to your challenges:   

Step 1: Bring to mind a problem, issue, or decision and write down your attitudes and feelings about it.  

Step 2: Focus your attention in the area of your heart. Breathe slowly and deeply.

Step 3: Activate a sincere positive feeling such as appreciation or compassion. You can try to re-experience the feeling you have for someone you love or imagine being back at a happy time in your life. 

Step 4: From this neutral place, ask yourself, “What’s a more effective solution to this problem?“ or “What’s the next right step for me now?”. Keep your question brief and to the point.

Step 5: Remain curious and notice what shows up for you. Your intuitive guidance may come in the form of an inner voice, a feeling in your body such as warmth or tingling, or as an unexpected event.

Then, make a commitment to act on any insights that may have come up for you. If nothing comes up right away, stay focused on appreciation, be patient, and repeat the process at a time when you feel even more relaxed.  

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