Don’t Resist – Lean Into Your Problems
November 17, 2020
- “I have made a big mistake. Shit, this will cost me my job. I need to ensure that this problem does not come out while I try fixing it.”
- “Why should I apologize? It’s all her mistake because of which we have this fight.”
- “He is always telling me how I could have done this better. It is irritating. Let him say what he wants. I’ll ignore him.”
Whenever we commit mistakes, or we encounter issues, our evolutionary lizard brain kicks in. We get into a fight or flight mode. We try to overcompensate by taking some actions without realizing that they will make the issues worse instead of resolving them.
When you encounter a challenging situation where you feel defensive or threatened, your behavior is driven by your ego, wanting to protect you. Instead of resolving the issue, the actions you take have one goal- Make it look like you are right. Unfortunately, you being right does not solve the problem. It complicates it.
In many of my coaching conversations, I use this pictorial metaphor to describe this issue.
Think of it like going down a ski slope. If your tendency is to resist by leaning backward, what will happen? The very accident you are trying to avoid will happen.
- Not only will your mistake be exposed, you will also lose your credibility.
- A relationship that should have been healthy gets to a breaking point.
- You reinforce the perception that you are untrainable.
Lean Into Your Problems
Instead of resisting the forward movement, if you lean in to do the very thing that feels threatening, you will find yourself going down the slope smoothly and safely.
Similarly, instead of becoming defensive or negative, lean in to do what feels uncomfortable to your ego,
- Be the Person to tell everyone the mistake you made. Lean in by being vulnerable.
- Say “I am sorry” even though it may not be your mistake. Lean in by being more gracious.
- Say “thank you for your feedback” and implement the change your supervisor may be asking you to make. Lean in by being humble.
The laws of physics apply in the mental realm too. The more you resist. The more the problem becomes complicated. So, next time you encounter an issue, and your body is clamming up to fight and resist, remember the pictorial metaphor.
Lean Into Your Problems.
Credits-Illustrations by Advaith Veturi