Aggressive title, I know, but it felt appropriate for this wild ride we’re on known as 2020. This article isn’t about what is fu*#@d in the world but rather how we can thrive in a time of chaos. This likely hasn’t been the first chaotic time in your life, and it certainly won’t be the last. Understanding how to thrive during times of uncertainty will improve all areas of your life – from your relationships, to your business and to your health.
It would be wrong for me to not address the personality differences amongst individuals and how that influences their actions and mindset. I became intensely interested in personality differences a few years ago when I understood how important understanding these differences meant to me as a coach. I stumbled upon the Big 5 Personality traits and dove in.
The Big 5 are as follows:
Everyone has their own unique make up of personality traits and it’s your job to recognize what is a strength, and what is a weakness. Too much or too little of anything can get you into trouble.
Take conscientiousness as an example: It’s one of the best predictors of lifetime success. That means the more conscientiousness the better right? Close, but not quite. Too much conscientiousness, especially within the orderliness sub-category, can create obsessive, crippling anxiety over small things in an effort to be perfect. When this is combined with higher trait neuroticism, which is the “a measure of general sensitivity to negative emotions like sadness, defensive anger, fear and anxiety,” the effects are even more pronounced.
Taking a deeper look into your personality will only make you better in stressful situations. You’ll be able play to your strengths while also understanding your weaknesses and potential negative coping strategies. I can’t recommend taking the test on www.understandmyself.com enough. It will be the best $10 you’ve spent in a while, promise.
Set up daily non-negotiables
If you’ve listened to the Team LoCoFit Roundtable, you’ve likely heard me talk about setting up daily non-negotiables. I’ve been using this tactic with clients for years with great success. Not because it’s magic or because they pick the right non-negotiables, but because having a few positive habits that are truly non-negotiables create positive momentum for the rest of your day – and the subsequent actions that you take.
The key is to not get overwhelmed about what to choose.
Here is an example: A client says they are rushed in the morning and skip breakfast, but that leads them to make poorer diet choices later in the day. This is incredibly common, but actually a really easy fix. Two non-negotiables for this client might be 1) Wake up at X time (so that the client isn’t rushed) 2) Eat breakfast.
Notice how these aren’t groundbreaking habits to set up. It’s simply setting your alarm for the appropriate time versus rushing out the door in a panicked frenzy and making sure you get in a quality breakfast before you leave for work. Not only will this clients morning be better, but the rest of the choices they make later in the day will be better because of those two habits.
So, pick 2-4 simply, daily non-negotiables that make you the best version of yourself (cheesy, but roll with it) and watch how much better you handle each and every day when presented with challenges.
Work on your stress perception
Do you think of stress as harmful? Does it deplete your health and vitality, does it debilitate your performance and productivity? Or do you think of stress as enhancing? Does actually improve your performance and productivity and it facilitate growth and learning?
If you said the former, you’d be on par with most of society. We’ve been conditioned to think that stress is bad, scary, harmful, debilitating… add in any negative connotation you can think of here. I had this line of thinking for years, too. Being a default high stress person I always thought of it as a negative, something I ‘had to deal with’, instead of realizing that there is strength in learning to harness your stress response.
In all the years I’ve coached, this has been something I’ve encountered again and again – the clients who have the most success also have a great handle on their stress perception. It doesn’t matter what their goal is or what is going on in the world, they see stress as a challenge and rise up to the occasion.
Click here to read a guest article, written by my friend Louis Carrell, on the interaction of stress, cortisol and how your perception affects you and your goals. Another great resource is the Upside of Stress, which I’m currently reading and loving.
While the world is an uncertain and chaotic place right, you are in charge of how you react and how you respond. By taking inventory on your personality strengths and weaknesses, setting up daily non-negotiables that keep you on track and by developing a more positive stress perception, you will be able to handle whatever life throws at you (this year, and beyond).
Except aliens. I’m really not sure any of my points above would help you there.