Have you been asked to do something that doesn’t feel quite right? Maybe you can’t see the path ahead clearly? Maybe your gut instinct is saying no, but you can’t find the right words to articulate that and explain yourself.
Here’s a ‘get out of jail free’ card:
You don’t need to see a path forward for everything straight away.
It’s often not possible. When you can, park a decision that feels uncomfortable, and certainly park having to give any explanation until you are ready.
Reflect first. And then take action.
Reflection is good to a point. It is crucial to give your mind time to process a tricky situation, to allow any stress hormones to dissipate (a process that takes up to 26 hours), and to allow first reactions to clear away and create the space for deciding your response.
However, assuming the situation hasn’t resolved itself in the meantime (sometimes it does!), you then need to make a considered judgment based on both best evidence and gut intuition.
Pandemic and lockdown – remember how you felt in mid-March when our lives changed almost overnight? At the time I advised my business clients (and myself!) to allow themselves time to process the situation. When, and only when, they felt they were getting back to something resembling an even keel, was it appropriate to take action and start planning for a different future.
Injustice – very prominent in our news this week and worthy of our full attention. Since the beginning of time justice and how we apply it has challenged us. Over thousands and thousands of years, our thinking brain has evolved so that it is both triggered and energised by injustice. The triggers are quick and forceful. How we use that energy is what separates us from other species…or at least it should. Reflection gives us better answers than knee-jerk reactions. What kind of society do we want to be? And what’s the best and most impactful way we can collaborate to effect the change we want, and embed it for future generations?
When we are clear on what outcome we want and how our decision aligns with our values, and when we have discussed all the options, pros, cons, possibilities and opportunities, then that’s the appropriate time for a considered, civilised response.
This coming week if you feel challenged try reflecting first and then taking concrete action.
All the best,
Image credit: Vincent Van Zalinge via Unsplash