In our previous post, we discussed the importance of recognizing and acknowledging your emotions so you can make conscious decisions on how you want to act on them. If we simply act on our emotions without first acknowledging them then our actions, and our results, will be random.
Leaders make conscious decisions on how to act!
So here, as everywhere else in leadership, awareness is paramount. Leaders simply cannot make good decisions unless they are aware of everything around them that can affect their decision. In this case, emotions.
This principle is simple in concept, but extremely difficult in practice to execute. Welcome to leadership! This is what separates leaders from everyone else. How, then, do you execute this basic principle?
FIND YOUR BREATH!
Use these three words to trigger and represent your ability to recognize and acknowledge your emotions. For example, you are now aware of when you are not feeling quite right emotionally. You are aware that you feel afraid, anxious, insecure, etc, and use “Find your breath” to allow yourself the space you need to decide how you want to act on the emotion you are feeling.
“Find your breath” is both figurative and literal. As described above, it is a figurative trigger to make space to recognize your emotion and identify your desired action.
It is also represents a literal response. Literally take a breath! From a physiological view, taking a breath activates your vagus nerve which serves to calm you down. Because the breath will literally calm you down you will be able to create the space you need to make thoughtful decisions.
What of the high school varsity basketball team I discussed in the previous blog? How did they use “Find your breath” to help them?
Before adopting the Ice Cold Leader principles (“Find your breath” being one) this team had a 14-18 record the previous year. The season after adopting the Ice Cold Leader principles they went 24-9 with a conference championship. What was the difference?
The previous year they struggled in stressful situations. The year they embraced “Find your breath”, they would remind each other to “Find your breath” whenever they saw a teammate struggling or during a time out huddle, especially before a stressful time like when they were behind or during the last moments of the game.
They never let falling behind in the game or the stress of the final minutes of the game derail them. Instead, they recognized their emotions, FOUND THEIR BREATH, and acted in ways that allowed them to dominate the most crucial and stressful moments of the game and WIN.
In short, they were a team of leaders because they all embraced, “Find your breath”. More to follow…
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coaching, keynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.