Category Archives: EI

Is it social distancing or physical distancing?

We’ve been calling it social distancing. But I hope it’s not for you. I hope it’s just physical distancing. We need our social fabric more than we may have ever needed them.  So get closer – virtually – to the people you care about and the people you interact with. Get closer – again, virtually – to your social support.  It’s physical distancing, not social distancing.

Also posted in Resiliency | Comments closed

Thank everyone who helps you

Social support and society’s gifts to us (in exchange for our money of course) have gone from assumed to questionable. Uncertainty is shaking everything up. But we can still go to food stores when needed. And when we do, what is it like for us? We can be worried about other people being too close, touching things, getting everything on our list, prices rising with supply chain disruption. And we can unconsciously go about it the way we always have, in a world of our own, chafing at the lines or still not being able to buy toilet paper. There of course is an alternative, the antidote to fear. Appreciation.  Thank each and every person who helps you – the cashier, the bagger in the supermarket, any clerk anywhere. Of course thank any health care worker who helps you – virtually or in person. But the food providers we come in contact with are risking their health and their lives so we can eat. And they’re doing it for very little money, less money than we make, or used to make. See how appreciation, just like fear and just like the virus, is contagious. And see how unlike those two it helps, both them and you.

Also posted in Resiliency | Comments closed

Eye contact isn’t contagious

COVID-19 is highly contagious. But not from eye contact. Visit any public place and you’d be forgiven for assuming that indeed eye contact is dangerous.  We go out in public when we must and treat any others as the enemy. They might have and might get us sick. They aren’t taking this seriously enough.  So the big question is, are we all in this together or not? If we act like it’s every person for themselves, then we’re not living ‘we’re all in this together’. We’re living ‘us vs. them’. And that’s an old game that has no winners. Try making eye contact. If you’re wearing a mask, raise a hand in greeting. If you’re not wearing a mask, give them their space, make eye contact and smile. They, just like you, are afraid. They’re not going to go first. It’s up to you.

Also posted in Collaboration, Resiliency | Comments closed

Five articles to help you work with fear

I’m thinking of you, home and with a world turned upside down in two weeks. I feel energized to be helpful and of use to you. Here is one way. I looked back and found these articles I wrote that may be help you today.These articles focus on working with fear. Giving Voice to Joy: The Antidote to FearAmygdala or Neocortex? Fear or Love? Which Path is the First Intelligence Taking?Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks on courage and cowardice, bravery and fearNothing to fear…but fear itself?If you’re a leader is safety or happiness more important to focus on for your people?

Posted in EI | Comments closed

What does fear want you to do?

Move. 

The amygdala thinks danger has shown up it shoots adrenalin out. It makes you literally and measurably stupider, but also gets you primed for fight or flight.

Posted in EI | Comments closed

It takes kind to know kind

Picking up my new eyeglasses at BJs I noticed how different my interaction was with Ann-Marie, the optometrist there. She was extremely positive about my new glasses, and frankly about everything else. You can’t fake caring. She was genuinely trying to make my day better, and she did the same to a co-worker that was wandering by.  There was nothing specific, nothing I could put my finger on. There was no script for her to follow. When you know, you know. I thanked her for being kind. Without a thought she said, “It takes kind to know kind.” What an affirming return gift for gratitude expressed!  What do you notice? And what do you affirm in others?  If you see a kindness, it means you too…are kind.

Also posted in Purpose | Comments closed

Who do we appreciate?

Yes, the title may be a familiar chant to you from sixth grade. I’m tickled also by Microsoft Word chiding that it really should be, “whom do we appreciate?” That’s the upper-crust British version.  Instead of giving a bunch of cheap plastic gifts from China this Christmas that will end up in the landfill next year, give your partner/parents/friends/kids appreciation.  Appreciation engages the frontal cortex – the connector in your brain. And it quiets the amygdala in the limbic system – the alarm bell in your brain. Target your appreciation with characteristics that fit and give specific examples of how it shows up in their life.  Here’s a cheat sheet to help you, based on the work of John Gottman. And how are your 40 days going? I’m continuing to work on getting what needs to be done efficiently without panic or pushing. And other readers are doing great work. The best day to start your 40 Days to Change for Good was November 11. The second best day is today! Jerry says: “My 40-day focus is on experimenting with habits for self-care. That looks like: – walking at least 20 minutes/day – meditating at least 10 minutes/day and the big one… – in bed by 11 pm.” Lou says: “Count me in, so busy but I’ve got so many songs started my 40 day journey will be to work in unfinished songs an song ideas each day for 40.  Not necessarily to finish one each day but to work on some.  That’s the journey.  Excited about this, thanks for the push.” (You can check out Lou’s jug band here.) Laura is working on “discipline – being mindful of doing things on a disciplined basis. I can achieve a goal but what I lack is a consistent discipline. It’s not a specific thing, I just want to be more mindful about whatever it is I choose to be disciplined about.”

Also posted in Purpose, 40 Days Change, Brain Science | Comments closed

If you’re a leader is safety or happiness more important to focus on for your people?

If you are a leader, start with making your people feel safe. Address their fears first. Then work your way up to happy. Calming the amygdala in the brain is the first step. Then you can engage the frontal cortex. That’s the order. 

Also posted in Purpose, Brain Science | Comments closed

Safe or happy?

The amygdala part of the brain wants to keep us safe. It’s its primary function. The frontal cortex part of the brain developed after the amygdala. It is more interested in whether you’re happy, fulfilled, have good connections with the people you care about or not. In any given moment one or the other is in charge. Not both. So that means in any given moment – like this one – you’re either focused on feeling safe or being happy. What we say we want and what we act like in daily life are often two different things. Lastly, safe and happy are in two different categories. They don’t happen at the same time. When I say ‘happy’ here I’m not talking ‘yay!’ Happiness in this case is a sense of fulfillment of flourishing of being at your best. You won’t find safety there. This is the Hero’s Journey – the trip into the scary unknown. You leave safety in search of happiness.

Also posted in Purpose, Brain Science | Comments closed

Freeze, Fight or Flight, which comes first?

For us modern humans working in offices, freeze usually comes first.  This is especially true when speech and language are involved. We interact with someone and then we have to process a potential verbal attack. Although the brain ultimately doesn’t differentiate between a literal and a metaphorical threat, it still takes longer to figure out words than it does actions. Our brain prepares us for fight or flight – shunting oxygen from the brain and dumping chemicals in our bloodstream to make us stronger and faster – to MOVE. Meanwhile, we’re frozen. And then when our body screams at us to move, but we’re in an office, in a meeting, on the phone, we also know we can’t. So we stay frozen. And ten to thirty minutes later when the chemical ‘dust’ clears in the brain we think of things we wish we had said – the verbal versions of fight or flight. When does fight ever come first? In traffic when road rage happens, fight usually comes first. Which comes first for you – freeze, fight, or flight? Does that help you in life? How does it hinder your development to becoming your best version of you?

Also posted in Brain Science | Comments closed