There are no vertical cliffs or dead ends only pathways to new beginnings

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Last week I ran a Pod (one of my mastermind sessions) where one client explained that her main supplier had recently notified her of an increase of price, which would dramatically reduce her overall profit. She continued by saying how trapped and cornered she felt and saw the situation spiralling out of control. When dissecting the situation some more it became clear that she couldn’t see any other solutions and hence her feelings.

As a group we talked through the situation and a number thoughts came to my mind – which I shared with the group later in the discussion. Firstly, this is the classic attack of the amygdala. This is when we have a strong emotional reaction that our mind translates as a threat and puts us into flight or fight mode to protect us. This is a natural chemical reaction where epinephrine is released into the bloodstream; however considering the nature of the threat neither is appropriate. Furthermore, our rational/thinking brain stops working as it is frozen or blocked to focus on the immediate threat, hence the inability to see alternative solutions. But we can re-train our minds, and minimise our amygdala attacks (there is a lot of research from Neuroplasticity to Emotional Intelligence – connect with me if you would like to know more).

It also made me think of one of the well-known Harvey Spector quotes, the character from the Suits TV show:

Harvey: “What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head?”

Mike: “What are you talking about? You do what they say or they shoot you.”

Harvey: “WRONG. You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a 146 other things.”

I don’t support the gun reference and they weren’t talking about guns specifically either but rather that when being cornered by a situation (which seems to happen weekly) we always have choices…according to Harvey 146 choices. It’s about not letting the situation determine the outcome, be creative and think outside of the box.

And to add to the synchronicity of life, I recently had a conversation with a wise friend about a personal situation, where I explained my perspective. They responded, somewhat philosophically, as they are that way inclined, that in their world there are no vertical cliffs or dead end streets, only pathways to new beginnings. This resonated very deeply with me. I admire their openness to life.

After hearing the conversation and then sharing my thoughts and reflections we came up with at least 10 different possible actions and solutions for her to choose from and she no longer felt trapped. Carol Dweck refers this to as an open mindset, which is very much the mindset of my friend. As opposed to the closed mindset referred to at the beginning of the post. What I have come to realise is that although we have a predisposition for a certain type mindset, we can shift (ideally to an open one) depending upon the situation. Importantly, just like our emotions, we have the ability manage our mindset. Take control of our amygdala and see 146 new pathways instead of a dead end.

So at the end of the session we all agreed that there are always solutions, even if we can’t see them and the importance of being able to turn to someone or a group of people in your support network that can shed a new light onto your world.

What do you do to overcome the feeling that you have no options?

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