How to Fall and Not Trip

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Sometimes in life we fall on our own sword as they say…

A bit of self sabotage perhaps. While other times our nasty spills happen when other people give us a shove.

Regardless of what makes us fall, its our recovery that determines if we stick the landing or land on our face.

Fair or not, a fall is a fall and I’ve had a few good ones in my day and still suffer them. Trying to make sense of it is one of the usual first reactions. ‘’Why did this happen?’ Valid question but sometimes frustrating and unhelpful when it turns out there is no rhyme or reason.

Trying to fix it is another typical first instinct. But alas, this one too often leads to heartache and despair when we discover there is no turning the lights back on in this dark room.

And lastly, trying to battle it and fight is also a common occurrence in trials and tribulations. We refuse to accept what has happened and start throwing fists.

All these reactions to a devastating fall in life are simply human. They aren’t wrong but they won’t always make it right. That’s why they are referred to as ‘derailers’. Of course this means a behavior you do that can ‘derail’ you and potentially make your situation worse.

This week I was fortunate to take an in depth psychiatric test for leadership called the Hogan. Maybe you’ve heard of it? You might be reading this thinking ‘who in their right mind would find something like that fortunate.’ I know I may be on the geeky side of humanity but I enjoy it here. And in my Hogan review of self, I learned a lot about how I tick… the good the bad and the unique. But one of the most interesting things I found out were my derailers – how I react under times of stress, anxiety and pressure. Basically, what I can do wrong when suffering falls.

In a nutshell, I would describe a derailer as a subconscious reaction that determines your behaviour in difficult times. And though there are 11 possible derailers (all of which most all of us have at least a little bit of), these derailers make up 3 categories:

  1. FLIGHT – the people who move away from or flee the bad situation and seek to make sense of it. These are the ‘why did it happen?’ people.
  2. FIGHT – the people who push against the issue and battle it to get back ahead. These are the ’I refuse to accept it! No just isn’t an option’ people.
  3. MAKE IT RIGHT – the people who move towards the angst in hopes to fix it through getting along and doing whatever it takes to solve it. These are the ’I will do whatever it takes’ people.

Is it clear to see where you think you sit? I found out I am mainly #2 and a bit of #3. No surprise really. Upon self-reflection of my past reactions to hardships or frustrations I do tend to process by fighting back or trying to make it right. But the risk is pushing too hard and in doing so, causing unrepairable damage to relationships that matter or that I actually need in order to move forward and not wind up completely suffering the fall.

The secret I’ve found now is not to trip and stick the landing. How? Through 3 things:

  1. Accepting what you can’t control
  2. Taking ownership of your part in the matter
  3. Letting go of the story replaying in your head

In practice, I’m not going to lie these three things sort of suck and are really hard to fully achieve. But if you can manage to do them right, the results are pure empowerment and a ‘perfect landing’.

So the next time life knocks you down, if you want to know how to stand back up strong, give these three a go and see what happens. I think your face will thank you for it.

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