Update – As mentioned before, my co-writer, Emma, is in Thailand doing service work at a women’s shelter. The next few posts will be her experiences applied to your worksite.
I didn’t know what they were saying. I only knew that they were talking about me.
And suddenly, like a well bubbling up inside of me, I felt an anxiety that I didn’t seem able to suppress. Almost like a chemical reaction.
A number of us, if not all of us, have been in a similar situation. Every time I go and live in a foreign country where English isn’t spoken, this happens to me. Like clock-work.
In the book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek explains, “Our brains are wired to release oxytocin when in the presence of our tribe and cortisol, the chemical that produces the feeling of anxiety, when we feel vulnerable and alone. For our prehistoric ancestors, as well as all social mammals, our sense of belonging and confidence that we can face the dangers around us literally depend on feeling safe in our group”.
It took me a few days to adjust to the environment in the little Thai shelter. But every time I did something wrong or felt like I’d disappointed someone, I felt a shot of cortisol go through me.
Unfortunately as leaders, there are regular occurrences of someone really not liking you. Possibly despite your best efforts.
I don’t have to tell you that the long term and short term effects of frequent cortisol in your system can cause a plethora of issues. That being said, you need a game plan when those shots of anxiety go through you.
As leaders we will often be in situations of stress and learning to deal with that stress is vital.
So my challenge for you this week is find a game plan. What is a go-to for you to deal with that shot of anxiety?
Mine is writing down my thoughts and concerns, and then working out and writing them down again.
The combination of this basically dissolves the anxiety and adds endorphins to my perspective instead of the infectious mood killer of cortisol.
Finding a way to gain perspectives after stressful moments is vital for you to get back on track without missing an entire day due to one moment that ruined it all.
You will still have bad days…just less of them.
Good luck this week!