I’m asking myself this question because it came up in a Leadership call this week. I got triggered and it took someone else to point it out before I could decide what to do. Talking with my coach I mused about how helpless I felt until I realized what was happening. Until it hit me, I couldn’t put two thoughts together. Instead I was flooded with emotion and at a time when I expected I would sound articulate.
It’s easier to talk about what I can do – acknowledge and be present – than to come up with a solution to how to recognize when I’m triggered. AND the fact is that the answer is so obvious. Emotion. When I feel myself slip into what I call “big” emotion that’s a signal that something has been unleashed.
For example, every time I walk down the road and smell a wood burning stove I’m triggered to feel warm and comfy. The sound of children singing “Oh Canada” can trigger tears of pride. The blessing my Grama gives at the end of every phone call and the way she says she’s proud of me triggers happiness and appreciation. So it is that I also feel triggered when someone questions my judgement, criticizes my opinion or simply comments in a way that reminds me in some way of a painful experience from my past.
I am here to state emphatically that I am not interested in keeping alive any old wounds. What I know for sure is that I don’t always see how they creep up and when I’m standing in front of a room in a lead or co-lead position, my need to recover quickly is essential.
So, in writing this message today I am getting a clear understanding that I need to be vigilant in my commitment to recovery. I need to pay attention to the “big’ emotion when it hits and stop myself from reacting. I may not be able to control what happens around me but I most certainly can control how I respond.