If you’ve ever endured a life ambush, you understand the common effects: The mental-emotional tidal wave can present very real physical, biochemical and cognitive effects as the mind and body react by default mechanisms to the perpetual stress. If you’re in the midst or on the verge of this, hold on. You may not know any other way, but there is one. This article focuses on the REACT action step “A.”
Rollercoasters: I love them. Stepping off the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster recently, I felt strong, invigorated, as if I’d “conquered” something bigger than me, and eager to go again. Boarding an emotional roller coaster is an entirely different thing. We’re not necessarily wired, willing or braced for psychological whiplash. Stepping away from an emotional rollercoaster, we typically feel confused, undermined, destabilized, beaten up, and eager to mentally and/or physically quit. Great leaders are strong in Emotional Leadership. People follow them because they want to, not because they feel trapped. What kind of ride are you engineering?
One lucid hour in my hospital bed, I awoke to a somber yet critical reality: If I didn’t define my future and my plan, somebody else would. I understood my new mission: Get off X. Once you’ve identified your own path off X, plan your course of action and communicate it clearly to your support team.
When I talk about balance in life, I’m referring to an ongoing investment in strength and readiness across a broad enough base to keep me stable, grounded and positive through all the ups and downs of life. I build this stability by a reasonably equal distribution of focus and attention within all areas of what I refer to as the Pentagon of Peak Performance, one of which is Mental Leadership. The demands of leadership can be relentless. Great leaders are highly effective in part because they constantly flex their mental muscles in pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and intellectual growth.
Of all that transpired to save my life during and after that enemy ambush in 2007, only two had been within my control. One of them, according to the medical teams who put me back together, was my rock-solid physical fitness, which had prepared my body for its best chance at survival and healing through the extreme compound trauma. If Physical Leadership hasn’t already been a consistent focus for you, I recommend you make it your primary goal starting today. Start here …