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Sunday
Jul212013

Are you ready for change but not ready to change?

As an former individual, couples and family psychotherapist, FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer and now executive coach and key advisor to CEO's and Chairman of the Boards I have come to realize that most people are ready for change but few are ready to change.

It is not just a matter of stubbornness, resistance and counterproductive habits.  In this siloed world where people are highly skilled but with a narrow focus (and confusing jargon to outsiders that reinforces it) people view the world in an increasingly narrow way that validates their POV. 

The term for that is confirmation bias. That may be because many people appear rather rigid in the way they view the world or the way the world appears to them and when an alternate reality faces them, it can deeply shake their convictions and confidence. 

As one CEO told me who needed to undergo a radical shift in the way he looked at the world said to me: "When as sure I thought I was about something important was as wrong as I turned out to be, it made me believe I could be wrong about everything which started to deeply affect my confidence in my decision making.  And a CEO who starts doubting their decisions, is in a very bad situation."

It did turn out that he was as wrong as he could be about something he was absolutely certain about, but with coaching he weathered the "breakdown" of his confidence and made it to the other side with a "breakthrough" that not only saved his career, but made his company more successful than it had ever been.

This has also led me to observe and believe that the majority of breakthroughs in companies and in individuals are preceded by breakdowns that are neither welcomed, invited or pleasant... they are just necessary. It's as if when the way our thoughts, feelings and actions (which actually correspond to something referred to as the Triune Brain with our brain having a human/thinking, mammal/feeling, reptile/actional parts) are aligned with each other are faced with a reality that doesn't line up with that alignment, they start to decouple from and then deconfigure with each other. After all, when a car and a wall meet head on, the wall usually wins.

The state of your three brains being deconfigured and before it reconfigures to align with the new reality can push anxiety to the roof.  And if that worsens to the point of feeling your three brains could fragment away from each other (i.e. "come unglued," "flip your lid," "lose your mind," or just plain, "go crazy"), that can trigger panic and cause you to self-medicate or bunker or do something that may not be helpful.

Executive coaches who are experienced in working with people in highly stressful situations and who are completely dedicated to that executive can be helpful and even critical to guiding and counseling that executive to make it from their brain being deconfigured (and near panic) to reconfigured and confident and able to then create breakthroughs.

 

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