Stepping into a competition that means a lot to us.
Entering a meeting room to deliver an important pitch.
Training and working alongside a skilled partner who consistently performs better than us.
When we think about these situations, is our first instinct to lean into these moments or turn and run? Do we get excited about the potential of these moments, or do we immediately jump to an outcome that defeats us?
When we think about experiencing stress and the moments that lead us to feel it, the way in which we think about the situation matters. In its simplest form, we have two options in how we approach moments that create stress. We can either "Get In" or "Get Out." In other words, we can either look at the situation as a "Challenge" or a "Threat."
The Challenge, or Get In, mindset enables us to lean into the moment. This mindset perceives the situation as an opportunity to go for it, learn from the event, put what we know on the line, and see if we have the skills, talents, resources, and abilities to succeed.
The Threat, or Get Out, mindset sets us up to avoid or apprehensively go into a situation. This mindset sees the situation as a way to prove our inadequacies, question our abilities, skills, and talents, and physically tighten up.
The mindset that we have regarding stressful situations leads to very different physical responses in the body, too. The Threat mindset allows our blood vessels to constrict and for more cortisol and noradrenaline to be dumped into the system. On the other hand, the Challenge mindset initiates the release of more adrenaline and testosterone into the system, which leads to blood vessels opening up and a more advantageous physical response overall.
The challenge for this week is to notice how we think about the stressful situations in our lives and evaluate whether we view those situations as challenges or threats. Work to view the stressful moments as challenges rather than threats!