Pausing When The Heat Of Difficult Situations Is Turned Up


It can be difficult during challenging situations to slow down to counterbalance heightened emotions with important values. The intense heat or urgency of a situation can quickly boil over the rim of our emotional container. When the fire of a situation is raging and quickly spreading, it can be difficult to locate and turn down the gas that is supplying the heat.

It has been said that sometimes we find our biggest strengths in our weakest moments. There are events in life that can bring us to our knees. Situations that can overwhelm our thoughts with endless potential scenarios that can drain our energy and resourcefulness.

Response-ability and Expectations of Others (or Self)

Pausing to focus on our response-ability in this situation instead of other’s (expectations) account-ability can refill some of the energy reserves. Pausing to proactively consider “What can I do differently” that might actually make this situation better? Pausing to remind our self that an impulsive decision today might have us later asking, “What could I have done differently?”

Learning to balance our ambition to rescue with a moment of reflection is a valuable skill. Practicing this skill can remind us to slow down, to create space between where we are and where we want or need to be. This space can allow us to step back and observe additional information about the situation: Who else is involved? Are their additional resources available? What actions can affect short-term solutions? Will these short-term solutions impact long-term outcomes?

One way to temporarily create space from a challenging situation is to step away from it for a moment. What?!

Practices that Center Us

Yes, leave it alone for a moment (it’s not going anywhere any time soon), and think about practices that center you. What are things that you do that bring you joy, that recharge your internal batteries—what do you do that you know without a doubt will center you?

Is it a walk in the woods, a good book, meditation, exercise? Think about one of your practices and visualize how it would make you feel if you were doing it right now (close your eyes if it’s easier). Did you feel that space you just created? You paused. You slowed down.

Asking and Answering Real Questions

Slowing down to change the questions can aid in charging the batteries of our core self. Ask ourselves and reflect on values that are most important to us can provide valuable insight into the best next courses of action.

An initial choice that seemed like the only available course of action might turn out to not guarantee the desired resolution:

Quitting school to return home to temporarily solve a family crisis may cause long-term financial means for the family.
Walking away from a marriage that has diverged over time instead of working on one’s role in that partnership may not be the best thing for the children long term.
Focusing on shareholder growth and profitability can result in a misaligned company culture that will adversely affect the bottom line if not proactively addressed. Getting an organization on the same page will take time but provide a multiplier effect over time.

In the short term it might seem easier to walk away and start over; stop doing the work and blame someone else; avoid the misalignment and let the next leader/company fix the hidden issues. The challenge is that these problems don’t disappear, in fact usually, they grow larger and take much more time for others to repair/resolve.

Yes, change is one of the only constants in life … and so is commitment. Commitment to getting on the same page with our self and others can make all the difference!

Getting on the Same Page with oneself and others

The trapped value and sustainability of an individual, a personal or professional partnership is in the long term; consequently, each small step and building block along the way paves the road to achieving those great relationships.

Ready for a step-by-step tool to Get on the Same Page with yourself and others?