I was reminded last week that our range of responses – our attitudes and behaviours - are limited to and linked to our range of expectations. Obvious but limiting what might be possible.
I was visiting Canada and experienced a range of weather conditions that most of us Brits would consider extreme! I began to imagine the reactions and behaviour if Ontario’s permanent sub-zero temperatures and hard-packed-snow covered roads were to arrive back home. The brief initial excitement as snow fell would no doubt be followed by concern, anxiety and frustration as the country likely ground to a halt. But where I was in Ontario and Quebec, it was accepted as a winter’s day norm. Here’s what I noticed:
1. Dress appropriately (there’s no bad weather, only a bad choice of clothing!)
2. Adapt to conditions (travel options, driving techniques, equipment upgrade)
3. Recalibrate (attitudes and expectations)
When life or work seems to be testing you too much. When your experience contains unwanted levels of concern, frustration and anxiety then pressing on, changing nothing, hoping for circumstances to improve may be futile. A modern definition of madness applies here – repeating the same, expecting a different outcome! It might be time to look again and accept your current ‘weather conditions’.
1. Dress appropriately – upgrade. As much as 80% of communication is non-verbal, clothing is in a big part of that mix. Alter your attire to feel great, confident and assured. If you behave and dress like a CEO you increase the likelihood of being treated like a CEO (see chapters 14-17 in “The Impact Code”)
2. Adapt to conditions – if pace and demands have shifted, or feel out of control, then you need to shift too. Build in more buffers in your schedule pre and post meetings, create calming reflective spaces, refocus on your strengths and delegate the rest (see “3-4-3” in “The ‘Keep It Simple’ Book”)
3. Recalibrate – accept that these are the conditions for this season, and don’t allow them to alter your mood. Choose your attitude accordingly and deliberately. (Get ready for “The Attitude Book” publishing later this year!)
In coaching dialogues I would explore “what are your range of responses” and “what do you expect”. Here clients discover their often fixed and predictable range of mood swings, and that they have a choice about their reactions. Becoming aware of this choice can extend your range, enhance your openness and acceptance of almost any circumstance.
Good luck and keep it warm!