The number of new COVID-19 cases suggest we are in another wave and it might be bigger than the previous! To someone who’s default is to see how things can go wrong in most situations, this feels like the other shoe has dropped!
In this article I am speaking to leaders who have the tendency to be hyper-vigilant. Now is the time for decisive, confident leadership! For leaders like me, who are predisposed to being hyper-vigilant, meaning you are always watchful and expecting setbacks, mistakes, troubles, and disappointments to appear, you need to quiet your fearful mind chatter! Fellow leaders, we need to articulate and believe that our team, our company, our Country can thrive in new ways as we transform ourselves.
But I suspect that underneath your brave face you feel that you can’t trust others on your team to follow-through. Are you thinking things like: “They say they will have the report or results on Friday, but once last year they didn’t, so how can you trust them now?! Or “There are so many things that can wrong with this project/situation and I know my team thinks I over-react but if I don’t take care of things, who will do it the way I know it has to be done?”
For those of us who have a hyper-vigilant pattern of thought, daily life feels exhausting, let alone during a pandemic. We are constantly on the alert for things to go wrong or for people who will disappoint us. This constant vigilance costs our team and/or colleagues dearly. Our fearfulness and distrust is felt by everyone around us. Have you noticed times when someone started to ask for your opinion but retreated as if they did not want to engage with you? Or perhaps you are hearing crickets because no one wants to share concerns with you anymore?
Time to turn this around, for your team and for yourself! The second shoe has dropped, and we have work to do.
Consider the upside of vigilance. It is a quality that supports your team and colleagues. It is a deep wisdom that assesses risk, recognizes real danger and is fiercely loyal. It is a calm steady energy that leads to laser-focused actions. Hyper-vigilance is frenzied, overly anxious and cynical that leads to discord and burnout.
Here are few things you can do to dial back on the negativity:
1. Breathe. Take several breaks a day to focus exclusively on breathing.
2. Make a list of everything that concerns you and separate them into 2 buckets:
a. a) things you need to handle now, and
b. b) things that can be set aside for another day (watch and see if they disappear or resolve themselves)
3. Know that you are safe in this moment. Moment by moment you can handle easily.
4. Create a mantra for yourself, something that triggers peace for you.
My mantra goes something like: “relax with the problems to save energy for your solutions.”
These are not things you do once, and your fears evaporate! It takes moment by moment awareness and day by day practice to become a new habit.