Leadership Commitment number five says; As a leader, I create my results in life. This is such a powerful commitment that I thought it warranted two parts. Last week I focused on Acceptance.
Acceptance is a person’s agreement to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition, often a negative, uncomfortable or painful situation, without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.
This kind of inner acceptance affirms that there is a reason for everything that has happened, is happening or will happen in my life. It is the perspective that acknowledges that there is meaning and purpose attached to everything that happens to me. There are no coincidences. This is a faith position, as opposed to a victim position. It is now my choice whether I see myself as a victim to what has happened, is happening or will happen, or a student who consistently looks at what I can learn from life’s experiences.
This form of acceptance takes place when I embrace the reality of my struggle and take full responsibility for its place in my life. When I take responsibility for my struggle I look inwardly rather than outwardly for the cause of my emotional discomfort. I acknowledge that there will be all kinds of external triggers active in my life, but the only true control I have is how I choose to respond to those triggers. Ultimately, I want to respond in the healthiest possible way, which in turn will generate the healthiest possible outcomes. Having said this, I still have to acknowledge that there is no guaranteeing my outcomes. I can only control what is going on inside of me, not outside of me.
Stimulus to Response
The Stimulus to Response Model is a teaching tool I utilize at Deeper Connections. It is a model that I consistently reflect on as I am triggered by the external pressures of my life.
- Trigger – Triggers happen in my life when something happens or someone does something that causes me emotional discomfort. Painful emotions serve as my internal clue that my shadow beliefs have been triggered. The most common shadow belief is, I’m not good enough, so; in the moment of being triggered I believe that my personal value is being questioned or measured. Most often, I am the one questioning or measuring my value.
- Response – Now that I am feeling emotional discomfort, I have a choice to make about how I am going to respond to that discomfort. There is a space between the stimulus (trigger) and my response where I have the freedom to choose what my response will be.
- An unhealthy response will be an attempt to lessen my emotional discomfort by shutting down, controlling my external environment or medicating my pain. None of these responses address the shadow beliefs that are driving the discomfort.
- A healthy response will happen when I acknowledge that my shadow belief is being triggered and my discomfort is much more about me than it is about what has happened or what has been said. I have to embrace the reality of me beliefs and emotions and take responsibility for them. My beliefs and emotions are mine and I have to embrace them as such. One of the phrases that I often defer to when I am triggered is, speak your truth in love. If someone says something that triggers me, it is important that I speak my truth. I have to be honest with myself and the person that has triggered me; however, I need to deliver my truth with love and respect.
When I speak my truth it builds my self-respect and sense of self worth. In that way my shadow belief about not being good enough is diminished.
A simple example of what I am talking about occurred to me a year or so ago when I was out walking my dog Minnie. There was a lady in the neighbourhood who took it upon herself to be the poop police. If she saw your dog pooping on the vacant lot beside her place, she would yell at you to pick it up. I think a couple days before I was out with Minnie, Christine was out walking her and she got yelled at by this lady. So she warned me. I think I purposely went over to the vacant lot hoping she would yell at me. I’m a bit of an ass that way. For those of you who have attended EGO, that would be called my Stoop. Anyway, there she was and as soon as Minnie went over to the vacant lot, she yells at me with this malicious, angry tone in her voice. I don’t take kindly to people yelling at me. It is easily an opportunity to get triggered and I’m not beyond pushing back in a similar fashion. However, I composed myself and made my best effort to not take it personally as if I am the worst possible dog owner and I said to her, I would like to hear what you are saying, however, I cannot hear anything past your anger. That immediately disarmed her and she apologized for yelling and then went on to explain how much it bothers her that people do not pick up their dogs poop. I told her that I experienced her as someone that I experienced as looking for a reason to get angry, told her she should have that looked at and walked away.
As I said, it was going to be a simple example, but I think you know what I’m getting at. The only real control I have of my life is about how I choose to respond.