In the art of mastering our hot buttons, CHOOSING is a simple, yet challenging step.
Here are three tips, one caveat and five homework assignments to help you choose the path to what you want (hopefully the one with cheese), and have a great summer as well! I look forward to reconnecting in September and together grasping the third step of this hot button mastery series: TRANSFORMING!
Tip 1: The “Choose again” Poem
When our hot buttons are triggered and we react ineffectively, our most important power -and responsibility- is our power to choose again. Choosing again, again and again to be the person we want to be in the world instead of wallowing in guilt!
Since I believe in the power of images and words, here is a cheesy poem to remember to choose again:
Choose again, even if you see no gain.
Choose again, even if you feel the pain.
Choose again, even if you look vain…
Choose again or go insane!
Tip 2 : Practice saying “no” to our ineffective reactions
Even though we haven’t yet fully understood the roots of our ineffective reactions (it is part of learning to TRANSFORM – step 3), our job –and responsibility- is to stop them.
For a leader, learning to say “no” is as indispensable a skill to develop as saying “yes”. If you say “no” to your ineffective reactions, then it will be much easier to say “no” in general in your life! You will be able to say “no” to a meeting you don’t want to attend, a demand for money you don’t want to give, a friend’s request you don’t want to honour, a job “promotion” you don’t want to take. It will support your time management system, and you’ll have more time to be self-aware. There will be a virtuous loop.
It’s really, really, really important to establish boundaries against our ineffective reactions. Really. However, if we haven’t succeeded in saying “no” to them, we can say “yes” to being fallible.
Tip 3: Practice saying “yes” to being fallible
A big obstacle to “choosing again” is the intrusion of shame and self-judgment once – too late- we ineffectively react. Shame and self-judgment keep us captive on the path with no cheese.
Here is what you need to do: don’t fight or indulge your negative emotions, but accept reality and say “yes” to being fallible. Then you will be able to say “yes” to being imperfect, again, again and again!
Caveat: Always clean up…
It’s okay to be a fallible human being, but remember to always clean up the messes you’ve made.
Here are examples of what you can say to clean up your messes:
“I’m sorry, it was very mean to call you “a stupid lazy cow”… This is not what I wanted to say and this is not even what I think”!
“I’m sorry, I punched the table with my fist… This is not what I wanted to do and I’ll pay for the broken table.”
“I’m sorry, I totally disengaged from the conversation the third time you cut me off, but here are the three points of view I wanted to express…”
Homework for the summer:
- Keep the map with you and look for the cheese.
- Recite the “Choose again” poem every morning before breakfast.
- Practice saying “no” twice a week without rambling.
- Look in the mirror and say “yes” to being imperfect once a day.
- Don’t forget to clean up your messes.