Self-Awareness: Triggers

Effective leaders manage their emotions. It takes self-awareness, reflection, and a plan to minimize negative reactions. ​

Strong emotions trigger fight or flight mode – making it impossible to manage emotions in the moment. This is because the brain shuts down the ability to reason. If you find yourself frequently reacting in ways you regret, it is time to consider some changes. Make a list of the situations or individuals that “trigger” the reaction you need to change. Look for patterns. ​

For example, I noticed when scheduled in back to back meetings (with no time to decompress in between), I would get wound up as the day progressed. Throw in an urgent interruption and I was ready to implode – regardless of who or what caused the interruption. Recognizing the pattern, I began adding 10-minute intervals between meetings which gave me more room to breathe. It allowed me to more frequently show up as the best version of myself. ​

Get clear on what is triggering you. Once the trigger is clear, you can anticipate situations and plan/control your reaction. Change will not happen overnight so be persistent and celebrate even small improvements.