We have all heard some of these negative statements: “The meeting is going to be a waste of time”, “Kids today are selfish”, “This isn’t going to work”, “A virtual team is naturally disconnected”, “You are too young to do that”, “You are too old to do that”, and so on…
Our mind is home to a complex series of reflexive tendencies, memories, observations, beliefs, and conclusions. Yet, it is still open to new influences and reprogramming if we know how to hack the system.
Want to know what causes us to say negative things and how to defend against these weeds in our gardens? Below are some of the philosophies behind how Odyssey Teams works to use team building and leadership concepts to create a shared experience that will reprogram your mind, break negative patterns, and inspire your team to rise above the norm.
The process will help you become a guardians of your mind. By learning to pause and assess the unconscious and conscious things you and your team are focused on you can make change happen. Science has proven the brain will see what we look for. Watch the video below and ask yourself, “What am I looking for in my team, my customers, myself, my neighbors and the world? What am I missing?”
Is it time for a recreational experience disguised as a team building or leadership program? I’m not talking about sitting on the beach, but that would be nice also. Recreation is defined as “to recreate anew, to restore physically or mentally”. After more than two years of surviving COVID, your mind has become very good at seeing negativity, threat, fear, and other things that serve your survival. These valuable filters will not serve you and your company as we pull out of the pandemic and look forward to opportunities that might emerge.
Personally, you might have adopted a dog, started to exercise, learned to cook, or mastered other new skills over the past two years. You have naturally learned to survive the emotional toll of the pandemic and hopefully found healthy outlets. This has helped keep you balanced and recreating on a daily or weekly basis. Almost like a personal team building activity. Clearing your mind of negativity or unhealthy thoughts has never been more important for each of us to stay mentally and physically balanced.
What has your team been doing to recreate and maintain its wellness on a consistent basis? What will you do next to inspire and align your team to be sure you can see the opportunities the future will bring? This alignment and growth mindset does not happen by chance and must be purposefully designed and implemented to build each individual and as a result build your team.
Before we land on solutions, I ask you to spend a day or a week just listening to the flow of conversation around you and inside your own head. You will notice the influence words have on your reality and your reflexive self-talk. There are always a few people we might tease for being, what we consider overly optimistic, but for most people these patterns of conversation will lean toward lower expectations, negative projections, or threatening interpretations. These are the safe conclusions and prepare us for the worst, so we are not disappointed.
This is your Reticular Activating System or R.A.S. doing its job. This part of your brain is designed to see anything threatening as the highest priority and when in doubt it’s default setting is: DANGER. This is a strength of your survival instinct but taken to excess can become a weakness.
For example, if you get an email to meet with your boss tomorrow, are you thinking you are finally getting promoted or are you thinking something bad is about to happen? These are normal thoughts, but left unchecked can take us down a path of misery, loneliness and zero growth or risk. When people “walk in your mind with their dirty feet” they are programming your mind to see the same bad things they see because of a real or imagined threatening event they experienced. Without relentless effort these influences will take root in our mind and can overtake the positive things we are trying to cultivate.
Imagine you are participating in a virtual meeting scheduled with your team. You get a text from a coworker, “Are you going to be on the call today? It’s going to be a total waste of time.” On the other hand, the people planning the meeting have been preparing for days and are going over every detail of the flow of conversation and doing everything they can to bring value to the session… but your mind is looking to confirm the negative belief that was planted in your subconscious: this is a waste of time…this is a waste of time… this is a waste of time…is echoing in your mind.
The power of confirmation bias takes control without you even noticing. Confirmation Bias is defined as “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories”. The belief “this meeting is going to be a waste of time” influences your Reticular Activating System. As a result, valuable content from the meeting becomes invisible and the “waste of time” belief overshadows everything. You then run into another coworker and report that the meeting was indeed a waste of time, and the negative ripple effect goes on and on and on.
What could have happened if the first person had texted you saying, “Are you going to be on the call today? It’s going to be a great meeting and I am so glad we are finally getting connected and aligned as a team.” Even as you read this… can you see the possibilities and imagine how much this could impact your life, team and company?
These are the natural laws of how humans process their surroundings. Like gravity, we must all learn to rise above these downward pressures by strengthening our mind, our companies and our teams to overcome these influences and protect this part of our mind.
The R.A.S. (Reticular Activating System) is a strength that can help us survive COVID, prepare for challenges, see dangerous trends in the market and overcome new obstacles, but without managing this strength, it can erode your company culture, limit your results and breakdown relationships.
Be sure you remove your shoes at the door and find a way to stay open to possibilities as you look to the future and examine the influence on yourself, your team, your company and the world.
To learn more about this topic or other concepts Odyssey Teams can address in your virtual or face to face meetings, please contact us and begin pulling weeds and planting seeds during one of our unforgettable programs.
Written by Lain Hensley, COO and Co-Founder of Odyssey Teams