A learning curve with legs ensures you are able to act on the pull to achieve more and better outcomes. It may require more effort but it will open up new pathways on your brain and encourage applied innovation.
Your shadow influences your behaviour, it may even drive it – it’s up to you to determine how.
The influence starts by how the shadow impacts WHAT you see and HOW you interpret what you see.
I often refer to it as the dialogue of influence. If you are not attuned to that constant conversation you have been holding with yourself, you will do well to pay more attention. The tone and tenor of that ever-present conversation guides what and how you see and notice EVERYTHING. Remember we only consciously become aware of a fraction of what is happening around us – which explains why there are so many versions of almost everything that happens.
Tversky & Kahnemann, along with other similar researchers, speak to our limited to capacity for willpower and active processing, making what we choose to focus on instrumental in driving our actions and behaviours.
In Episode 099 – Shadows Moving, I encourage two steps you may take to find motivation from within your shadow:
- Choose an area on which to focus. It may help to examine past shadow patterns. Have you struggled with needing to control people or outcomes? Do you fall into a paralysis of needing too much information? Are you struck by a need to please everyone? OR, do you suffer from a shadow affliction I’ve admitted to: the need to be right? There are many more to choose from so examine your past experiences for discovery. Only when you are willing to notice the signs and related behaviors do you have a hope of mitigating the impact.
- Now monitor your thoughts, inclinations, behaviors and actions for where this is showing up. This is when you need to exercise some self-compassion. With compassion, you are more likely to slowly mitigate the impact these patterns have on you and others – moving from noticing to eradicating. Consider using a 5-phase mitigation approach to improve. I will describe each of the 5 phases in two weeks in Episode 101.
Finding your shadow reactions
- Push Motivation: this is the most common place to find your shadow reactions. While “push” isn’t always negative, it does keep you mired in the old patterns. We haven’t talked a lot recently about brain pathways so I will simply say that where you focus is where you embed learned pathways. So when you focus on pain, failure or fear as your motivation you can get stuck. These are current pathways in the brain and by focusing there you dig the trench even deeper. In episode 099 I talk about how my stroke from 2011 – find the story in episode 002 – and how major life decisions made out of this point of pain, would have been motivated from the push position.
- Pull Motivation – because our brain reacts most severely from its default push motivation, future possibilities or dreams of what may be, are less common or powerful motivations. This pull motivation, however, is more generative and expansive when you can access it. In the case of my stroke, by staying where I was for two more years – I resigned 10 months after the stroke after discovering/reflecting and sharing/processing – I was moving toward something I wanted rather than running from that which wasn’t serving me well.
The point is that your shadow will generally reflect negatively but when you allow yourself to examine the message you then have a choice whether to move toward one thing or away from another.
Learning Curve with Legs
While I was sharing in episode 099, I was suddenly reminded of a phrase I heard once: “learning curve with legs”. I think that is the gift of the shadow. Learning curves are everywhere if you are willing to see them and as a leader it is your responsibility to be mindful of those that are available to you first and then to help those following you serve, to be able to access their own. When you give your learning curve legs you will be surprised with how far they can carry you into new and applied innovation.
Where you focus your attention is critical to how you discover and stretch your learning curve opportunities as a vigilant achiever.
Next Week: For episode 100 I will step back to update you on what’s been happening with the #RRTs to #evawCAN and then on June 5th, we’ll revisit the shadow by examining the 5-phases of assessment AND a few stories to illustrate how your shadow can move you.