How to take control in uncertain times
This was the first of WIBF’s Virtual events with Chloe Walton, both a qualified Accountant and Leadership Coach.
This event was originally about the relationship we have with change and learn about how we can keep a positive mindset so with a small amount of tweaking it became a workshop perfect for the huge upheavals we have all been experiencing recently due to the outbreak of COVID 19 and the effects of the lockdown. From working at home unexpectedly, juggling childcare, managing teams from a distance, as well as the fear and uncertainty the current situation brings, many of us are experiencing anxiety and feeling out of control. This session looked at how we can take back that control.
Cheryl Martin, WIBF’s Head of PEP welcomed over 40 people to this event.
We started the session with a poll to see how people were feeling at the moment - 50% of attendees said they were doing OK, but 18% said they were finding it tough, struggling or having a hard time.
This session delved into how our brain controls an awful lot about how we are feeling, and this influences the way we interact with the people around us. Chloe explained some of the neuroscience about how the changes in the external environment influences the way we behave and how we react to change and then some of the reasons why we react that way.
Chloe explained that feeling threatened blocks our creativity, reduces our ability to solve problems, and makes it harder for us to communicate and collaborate with others. Confronted with threat we go into something call the Amygdala Hijack when our emotional thinking brain switches on and the survival part of our brain kicks in – think fight or flight.
We looked at the SCARF model which identifies 5 potential areas that are most likely to trigger a threat response and can cause a Amygdala Hijack.
• STATUS: Our need to compare favourably (and preferably better) with others
• CERTAINTY: Our need to predict the future and reduce ambiguity
• AUTONOMY: Our need to be in control and make our own choices
• RELATEDNESS: Our need to feel we belong and to build trusted relationships
• FAIRNESS: Our need to be treated equally and justly compared with others
The attendees were moved into breakout room in small groups of 4 to discuss their responses to a threat and which element of the SCARF Model did they think they are most triggered by.
A representative from each group wrote down the responses from their groups and it seemed that there was a mix of all the responses.
Chloe then talked about the two dimensions of energy that we have, first how high or low the energy is and secondly, whether it is positive or negative. These high energy zones are ‘survival’ and ‘performance’. Survival is where we are worried, fearful, angry and judgemental, Performance is the positive side of high energy when we are positive, enthusiastic and invigorated.
The low energy and negative zone is the Burnout zone when we are sad, exhausted and feel helpless.
Chloe then talked about the Renewal zone where we are low energy – stressing it is important to sometimes slow down and its where we feel at peace, calm and happy.
Attendees then re-joined their breakout rooms to discuss what makes up their renewal zone and asked to think about and discuss what makes us:
1. Lose track of what you are doing?
2. What brings you joy?
3. What rewards your inner child?
Chloe also asked - What is the one thing you commit to doing more of this week?
After ten minutes of group discussion lots of responses came back from sunny weather, reading, meditation, doing puzzles, growing vegetables, finding new hobbies and exercising.
Many people came back to say sleeping and exercising were what they should be doing more of!
Chloe concluded that we need to stop feeling guilty about what we ‘should’ be doing and think about slowing down and how we can take our mind off the negative aspects of the pandemic and lockdown.
At the end of the session the poll from the start of the session was displayed again allowing attendees to say how they felt now. 29% of attendees were now feeling great and 63% stating they were OK.
We had lots of positive comments in the chat box thanking Chloe for such an interesting, inspiring session.
Thank you to everyone who attended our first virtual event ad here’s to many more – and being able to go back to face to face events!