Storm in an egg cup

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How quickly things escalate. My partner said she wanted a bit of the soup I had made myself for lunch, which I took literally, and put soup in the smallest glass dish I could find.

Her humorous retaliation came shortly after with the making of a cup of tea for me...in an egg cup!

I could tell this was not going to end well...

I joked with her that I was so looking forward to cooking her dinner that night!

While the above was very much done in the spirit of fun for both of us, it is a good metaphor for how quickly something can escalate because people have taken issue with something someone has said or done. Phrases such as below are often the 'road to escalation'

 "I am going to win"

"I am not going to back down"

"I am going to make sure that person pay for that..."

"They need to be taught a lesson"

When this thinking or language start being expressed, it can be a good indicator that the issue is on the 'road to escalation' and whatever the original issue was, is at risk of getting lost somewhere along the way.

It can be useful if you hear yourself using 'road to escalation' expressions and reflect on the needs or or values that underpin that position.

David Rock's SCARF model is a really useful tool to help work out what needs or values might get triggered leading to an escalation of an issue.

You might be interested to know, I was sensible to not carry on the humour with the egg-cup. Mainly because...I know I would lose that game!

Problem...not the person

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"That person is a...." or  "That (insert expletive) person is incredibly difficult" are statements which are commonly made and at the same time incredibly unhelpful.

While it is recognised as a way of expressing an opinion or feelings about a person, focusing on the person can create a significant barrier to changing or influencing an outcome beyond confirming a view that "this person is and always will be "difficult".

Basically, they have pressed your button. They have said or done something which is contrary to your needs, wants and/or values. If your  perspective is that the 'person' is difficult', then it is much harder to resolve, or have a meaningful conversation about the issues,  because it is now tied with the person's character, instead of some behaviour.  You may even find yourself in the heat of the conversation questioning their parentage!

If you chose instead to focus on the "It" - that is, what specifically it is that the person has said or done,  then the options to resolve the situation  greatly increase.  Sometimes a useful strategy can be to note in some way what the behaviour was that triggered the "that person is xxxxx difficult"

Increasing our own awareness of the reason why 'it' (x's behaviour) pressed our button, will minimise the chances of the situation escalating and of us over-reacting.

A focus on the  person and not their behaviour creates for us a fight, flight, freeze response because the brain perceives an attack from a person, whereas if it's a problem, we know how to sort those...we are naturally good at that!

Getting rid of the "That person is difficult..."type language is not easy. I would be interested to hear from others what strategies they use to help them change the focus to be about the problem and not the person.

 

Lydia Ko - reflecting her values

Lydia Ko, World Champion golfer, was interviewed  after day three of four in  her bid for a Rio Olympic Games golf medal. Going into the third day she was well off the pace and not really looking like a medal contender. After a great round of golf on day three, this is what she commented to reporters.

"I've just got to stick to my own gameplan. I think that's really important. Sometimes you can get carried away about what somebody else is doing. I'm just going to focus solely on me. Try and play some good golf, just stay patient but at the same time have fun. I'm having this opportunity at the Olympics to maybe stand on the podium and that itself I'm really grateful for that. Either way I'm just going to enjoy it. The other girls are playing some great golf and hopefully I'll be able to do the same."

In her response she reflected some incredible wisdom, depth of character and values.  Respect for others, humility, passion, drive and gratitude  are implicit.

Great example of living her values day-to-day.

Paralysis by Analysis - overthinking

I used to joke about people's ability to not make decisions, calling it 'paralysis by analysis'. Having too many options and not wanting to commit to one thing. Brendon Burchard gives some really clear steps to assist people who are stuck on making decisions. 

Brendon Burchard gave some good insights into what he terms ‘analysis paralysis’.

Look Beyond Yourself and Serve.
 Stop worrying if you’re good enough,  ready enough, or getting everything perfect in order to start. Look beyond yourself and realize your taking action can help others – your family, your team, your business and community. Serve! The way to get out of your head is to get in motion serving other people.
Clarify your vision and work backward.
What does your ultimate outcome look like? What would you define as success? How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Once you have that vision clear in your head, work backwards from that to define the process to accomplish it. You don’t have to know every step, just a step.
Accomplish 3 things every day.
Just take three steps every day. If you don’t know where to start, try modelling others. What path did they follow? What are their habits? What do they seem to do every day or weekly?
Daily Practice.
If something is important to you, it needs to become a constant in your life. You need discipline and the willingness to show up every day and work towards it. Put it in your calendar and do something every day. The momentum of that will teach you to stop stalling.

 

"Squeeze a holiday in"

My partner and I were looking to see whether we could get a long weekend break. As the diary's were looking full, she found one weekend which was possible and commented, "we could possibly squeeze in a long weekend here". 

It made me wonder at what point did we lose perspective in our work/life balance when we started to use language, such as 'squeeze a holiday' as if it was almost in the 'too hard to organise, therefore lets not try basket!'

Implicit in the word 'squeeze' is pressure, tight, uncomfortable and therefore possibly stressful.

It struck us both about the power of language, where this choice of words automatically created a barrier to the idea of a long weekend holiday; and made us both question whether it was worth the effort. Whereas a different choice of words may have created a sense of excitement at the possibility of what we could organise.

A powerful tool at our disposal is our ability to stop and reflect on the impact of words we use in every day conversation, and to change those words if they create limiting beliefs or barriers to achieving your goals.