Chaos or Clarity?

Think about an average week. As you reflect on the time you spent at work and the time you spent with family or friends, how often did you feel frenzied? How often did you feel at ease?  Our mindset in those moments directly affects our behaviors, decisions and overall effectiveness. Let me give you a personal example:

Last year I was juggling two very difficult situations at the same time – one in my personal life and one in my professional life.  Both of those situations dragged on for many months. Most people who know me will tell you I am generally a calm and decisive individual with a very high tolerance for stress.

During the beginning of those challenging situations I managed my personal and professional life with very little effort. Over time, however, the exhaustion of dealing with both situations simultaneously began to affect my decisions, my behavior, my attitude, and my tolerance level towards things that never would’ve bothered me previously.

During that time frame I was not as effective in my life as I had been in the past because my mindset was acting out of a place of chaos rather than clarity. Once I recognized what was happening in my head, I began to take time each day to clear my head, pray for strength and guidance, and then do my best to act from a place of clarity (which served me well) rather than chaos (which only hindered my effectiveness).

It took a little while, but as I became more purposeful in choosing clarity over chaos, my effectiveness improved and my life became easier to manage, despite the continuation of those challenges.

Our mindset is powerful and can be trained to react from a place of clarity rather than chaos. Great examples of this are athletes, soldiers, firefighters, medical professionals, undercover agents, etc. Each one of those individuals has developed a habit of bypassing the chaos going on inside their head during stressful circumstances in order to focus on what they need to do to meet their objectives in that moment.

So how do you develop the habit of bypassing mental chaos in order to react from a place of clarity? Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Increase Self-Awareness: You can’t adjust your reactions if you aren’t aware of what is going on in your mind. Take the time to notice how you feel and what you do when you are starting to become stressed.
  2. Create a Pause: We all have emotional default buttons. Stopping long enough to “think” rather than “react” is a key element of developing a new habit.
  3. Determine what you Need: Give yourself permission to get what you need (a deep breath? a “time out”? a short calming phrase?) in that pause to bypass the mental chaos and remain in a place of clarity.
  4. Pre-Decide Your Reaction: Decide in advance how you want to act during a stressful situation to support your clarity mindset.
  5. Practice makes Progress:  New habits are developed over time. Forgive yourself when you don’t do as well as you hoped and celebrate when you override the chaos and successfully respond from a place of calm and clarity.

Many of my clients have successfully SHIFT-ed from chaos to clarity in their personal and professional life. If that type of SHIFT interests you, click here to set up a time to chat with me in more detail:  Make The Shift.

Have a fabulous rest of your week!  ~Kris