When the going gets tough, the brave thrive

And it starts, those voices in my head and my insecurities about blogging.

“Why should anyone be interested in what I have to say?”

“Surely people know this stuff.”

“Just start and then don’t post it!” (My personal favourite.)

And on it goes. I’m sure you’ve all experienced these voices from time to time. (For those of you quietly thinking, “I don’t have voices in my head!” I’m sorry to point out that the voice saying that is the voice in your head!)

Life is always hectic! For me, I'm often juggling multiple projects, clients, commitments and family. At one time I was supporting others who were going through a large organisational change whilst also dealing with that change myself. I was coaching new clients; designing workshops, delivering projects and in the midst of personal chaos I decided to train for an adventure race (what was I thinking with that one!) All this, as well as juggling and gritting my teeth through the turbulent delights that come with having two teenage boys. Compared to what other people might be going through, my challenges might not seem like such a big deal, but to me, they felt very real.

As I reflected on my journey, I wondered - what makes the difference between those people that thrive through change and those that just try to ride the wave? One word kept coming back to me, and that’s bravery. Why is that? I’ve recently been studying and fascinated by the neuroscience research of David Rock, and also that of Patricia Bossons. (Massey University) which state that people naturally are wired to look for threats 75% of the time. This goes back to our prehistoric days when we needed to engage in fight or flight to survive. Of course, in our modern world, we’re not facing many sabre-toothed tigers, so “threats” look more like being forced to adapt to new technology, or unexpectedly being asked by your manager for “5 minutes in their office,” or even trying to write a blog!

As a coach and mentor I’ve often observed similar patterns of behaviour in my clients as they are faced with their individual challenges that provoke the very same fight or flight instinct – even if the assumed threat is that of simply being judged. This is where I think bravery comes in. It takes courage to stop yourself and face your personal “threats.” It takes strength to catch yourself in the moment and rationalise your thinking. It takes bravery to take control and change your actions by adopting a more positive mindset.

In life and business, one thing is for certain: we can’t control change and disruption. To be honest, we shouldn’t want to, as these experiences bring challenge and growth. What we can influence is how we choose to think and act. In my case, the actions I took which helped me to navigate through my personal organisation change was to meet with my trusted mentors in order to gain a more objective perspective and identify my options. For my adventure race, I rallied myself some champions to keep me focused on the training and I then decided to plunged in and be brave with my first blog (like a Band-Aid, just rip it off, as they say!) With my teenagers I've taken back my control by realising I never will have control - my role as a parent is to coach.

I encourage everyone who wants to thrive to stop and reflect on how they can be brave. Look for the solutions, not the threat. Take back your control in change by taking small, simple steps, like being curious and asking questions, seeking a coach, or talking with a trusted friend or mentor. These steps keep you grounded and in times of change, that’s often what you need (and what others around you who are experiencing change need too). Leaders who practice being brave learn something about themselves along with their journey and that’s what helps them to thrive.

I’d love for you to be brave and to share what actions you have taken that have led you and those around you to thrive through change...

#chooseyourdirection #yourpositivedirection #positivedirection #bebrave #aimtothrive