Don’t panic, Mr. Mainwaring!

When I hear the word ‘panic’, two things immediately come into my mind. Firstly, I get a visual of Lance Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army. Secondly, I think of all the clients I have had turn up to their first session, looking so panicked that you can almost see the word printed in caps on their faces.

It’s not that I’m scary, or coming to a first session with me is a harrowing experience. It’s that panic is one of those unhelpful human reactions that stops us functioning. When we stop functioning and can’t move ourselves forward; this is typically when we reach out for help, which might be coaching.

I’m in the fortunate position of being able to ‘unstick’ people and help them turn off their panic button.

So what causes a panic in the first place?

Typically a panic reaction is brought on by a surprise change of circumstances, or perhaps something that means you need to leave your comfort zone, and you didn’t get time to see it coming. In short, a plot twist!

Now a plot twist in a movie or a novel is exciting – thrilling almost. We love that sudden change of pace where crisis point meets opportunity. We marvel at the brave protagonist of the story, who listens to their gut instinct and forges their new path…

But when it happens out here in the real world, there is no Hollywood-style optimism. These are our real lives, and we are understandably shaken.

How do you deal with a plot twist? Here are a few simple tips:

Our typical reaction, the one that sends us into panic, is to start thinking at 100mph. Suddenly we hear the ticking of the clock and feel the urge to find all the answers to our problems with the speed and accuracy of a bomb disposal expert.

  1. Pause

Therefore, my first simple tip is to pause. Do you remember the old saying, “less haste, more speed”? There was some wisdom in that, I think. No good ever comes from rushing. We make better decisions when we are calm, clear headed, and not trying to save the world at the same time. Which leads me on to…..

  1. One thing at a time

When a plot twist strikes, there will typically be more than one problem to resolve. While it is very tempting to try and fix everything ASAP, like some kind of superhero, please don’t put that pressure on yourself.

Write a list and let the problems form an orderly queue. Give all of your focus to each problem one at a time.

  1. Get a perspective check

Finally, when you have untangled one problem from the other, and think you have your solutions ready – get a little perspective check from a trusted friend.

Often when we are close to a situation, we can’t see it with the same perspective, and we might miss things. So get a second pair of eyes to check things over for you.

I hope these simple tips help you to not panic when life throws you a plot twist. At the end of the day, fear and worry are natural human responses. We may always feel them to some degree, but we don’t have to let them force us into panic mode.

If you would like a more in-depth look into the world of decision-making while keeping your sanity in check, then keep an eye out for my new book coming to Amazon Kindle on December 1st!

Working with your Comfort Zone will be available for pre-order soon!


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