31 Jul

“Are You Choosing Anticipatory Fear?”

“Are You Choosing Anticipatory Fear?”

One of the main causes for stress today is the over abundance of choices we face in any given moment.  Have you tried to buy toothpaste lately? Even in that simple product choice you have more than 20 options.  As leaders each day we make thousands of choices.  You may choose whom to put on a specific project. Or, what clients you want to work with.  You are creating the business you want, and the life you want to live with each choice.

With the light of so many choices come the dark.  Abundance of choice of brings fear. Will I make the wrong choice?  When I make the wrong choice what are the consequences?  Anticipatory fear is felt when your mind creates panic even before decision is made.  For most leaders anticipatory fear is felt when we experience in our body increased heart rate, tension, rage, or what we know as fight or flight.

Mindful leadership requires a new way to look at and make conscious choices.  It starts at the beginning.  What do you believe about the choice you are about to make?  When you look at the choice start from knowing that you cannot make a wrong choice. As a leader you make the best choice you can in the moment.

Last week a friend and I were talking and she reminded me, “Holly your choices is either a yes, or it’s a no.”  I was stressed out trying to create a million other shades of grey in between.  Maybe you’ve been there, If I do this then this will happen.. and all the options are a downward spiral.  I love options and most leaders do.  Options are only good when we come at them from the promise of possibility and ultimately narrow them down to only positive options.  No matter how many options we can create the Yes/No model my friend shared really helped me stop anticipating the bad and re-calibrate to mindful decision-making.

Tips to make easier, more mindful decisions:

  • Hit the pause button.  When decisions come up don’t feel rushed to make them.  Create time to ask, listen, and choose from the combination of your inner wisdom (heart) and your outer collected data (head).
  • Accept our feelings around the decision.  Take time to sit with our feelings.  What do you feel when you look at each option?  Does the option before you make you feel lighter or heavier.  Pick the lighter one as you feel it in your body.
  • Ask, will this choice really matter one year from now?  Budget time you need to make the decision based on how life altering the decision may be.  I find most “big” decisions in the moment don’t matter one year from now.
  • Feel in your body with the choice you are making are you a yes or a no.  If the answer is no.  Speak it out loud from your centered presence.  A “No” now is often the “Yes” to something else.

On this mindful Monday you have the power to release stress in your decision-making and increase your profitability and presence.  This week when you feel a choice coming on slow down, feel into your body and when possible recognize that when you anticipate fear you create more of what you don’t want – Fear.  Create possibility in your choices shift to anticipatory curiosity.  Let your mindful decisions start you on a new path.  I wonder where this week will take me with the decision I make today?

Mindfulness matters, make it a great week!

A nationally recognized author, speaker and coach for conscious leadership and motivation. Holly is a regular columnist for MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange, Association Trends and writes regularly on the future of leadership for Science of Mind magazine. Join Holly in the conversation. Listen/watch her weekly show “Presence: How to Live & Lead Consciously.” Available on iTunes. She lives in Denver, Colorado. Learn more at www.hollyduckworth.com, visit her on LinkedIn & follow her on twitter at @hduckworth.

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