What's Your Pivot?
How to Prepare Your Mind
A month ago, I was concerned about COVID-19, and people thought I was nuts. However, I knew as a business owner, it’s my job to keep on top of emerging trends.
This virus was rolling toward the US, and action would have to be taken. It would inevitably affect our businesses. As someone who has moderate anxiety, I wasn’t sure if I was having an anxious reaction or a well-informed reaction.
As evolutionary biologists tell us, those humans who heard rumbling in the bushes a hundred-thousand years ago and reacted were more likely to survive. Why? Because if it was just the wind, it was no big deal. However, if it were a lion, they’d have a head start and not get eaten. Thus, the amygdala (the fear part of the brain) has grown and gotten passed on along to us surviving down-line humans.
Why do I talk about fear when discussing your pivot? Because we have three reactions when faced with life-threatening change: fight, flight, or freeze. Let’s break these down and save fight for last.
Fight, Flight, or Freeze
Flight: When faced with a threat, this is our desire to run away. We see something threatening, and we realize we can’t fight it, try to we decide to outrun it. However, this is kind of hard to do with an invisible virus and an unpredictable economy. This won’t work.
Freeze: This is otherwise known as “deer in the headlights.” Your brain becomes so overloaded that you shut down and do nothing. This can look like Netflix bingeing, numbing out, denial, excess eating and drinking, and generally checking out from the world. Sometimes we need to do this to cope for a little (denial is a stage of grief, after all), but for prolonged periods, it can bring us down.
Fight: According to Better Help, when we face a threat, our hypothalamus can go into overdrive and bump up our heart rate, adrenaline, and blood pressure. Our pupils dilate, veins constrict, muscles tense, and digestion and immune system ramps down to conserve energy for the fight. While we may think we want to fight our way out of this situation, we may want to keep our immune system in peak condition since we are dealing with a virus!
How do we balance this?
Conscious Choices with Awareness
Once we realize we are letting our amygdala (fear part of the brain) run the show, we can consciously choose how we are going to respond rather than react to our new COVID World. Are you going to numb out and let this play out (it’s 18 months until a vaccine, and they are expecting a second wave in the fall) or fight out of fear?
What if there is another choice? You can calm your nervous system to think clearly. There are a variety of ways to do this and so many resources online now it’s ridiculous.
A few techniques are:
- Google your local yoga studio to find online classes
- For those of you who want a bit of oomph in your yoga, there is even something called “Rage Yoga.” I tried a class on a Facebook live the other night, and it was great!
- Tai Chi and Chi Gong:
- I’ve practiced each of these for years and find them to be an excellent way to get the body moving in a relaxing way while moving energy. It focuses the mind and feels great.
- Check out YouTube to experiment with videos that will work for you.
Once you’ve calmed your mind and moved out of FFF (fight, flight, freeze), you are in a better position to think clearly and make better decisions. Then you can begin to look at the circumstances in the world, your skillset, and the problems you best solve.
In the next post, I will take you through a process to help you with your pivot process. Practice these steps to center yourself each day so that you can be present and make good decisions. If you find yourself spinning out, stop, and breathe. Then make a conscious choice about how you want to go forward in this new time of opportunity and growth.