Saturday, August 16, 2014

Is It Time To Surrender?

A lot of people don't like that word.  They see it as an element of defeat or weakness like in the context of battle or war or when they are trying to achieve a desired goal that they've been laboring and struggling towards for quite some time. And yet for many, surrendering is exactly what they need to do.

In the context of stress, this word, action and strategy can be your best friend! As we attempt (that is if you do) to turn down the dial on the periodic pressure cooker of stress in any part of your life, you need "go-to" practices and strategies to do so. When offering help in any situation I like to have a toolkit of options. One practice I recommend you have in your toolkit is the ability to surrender.

So, how am I defining surrender? I see it as letting go. I see it not as a defeat, but a victory.  A victory of what?  A victory over resisting reality and the need or desire to control it. You're giving up an unwinnable fight over circumstances you can't control! This is when surrender is smart!

In many ways the opposite of surrender is resisting reality in that moment. It's like throwing an internal, perhaps subconscious temper tantrum, in which you're saying, "I don't want this to happen, I therefore refuse to accept it and to show you how much I don't like it, I'm going to react in all sorts of ways that can hurt myself and others."

Judith Orloff, who's article is the inspiration for this post describes it like this, "Surrender is a state of living in the flow, trusting what is, and being open to serendipity and surprises." She suggests that surrendering can be a learned habit and offers perspective on this view in her article 7 Habits of Surrendered People. I'd like to share 6 of the seven.

1. They recognize they can’t control everything.
Being a control freak makes us tense, stressed out, and unpleasant to be with. Surrendered people understand that they can’t always change a situation, especially when the door is shut. They don’t try to force it open. Instead, they pay attention to their own behavior, look at the situation at hand, and find a new, different, and creative way to get beyond the obstacles.
2. They are comfortable with uncertainty.
Fixating on the outcome or needing to know all the details of an upcoming event, such as a trip, causes people to be upset when things don’t go their way, overly focused on the future, and unable to bounce back easily. Inflexible people are susceptible to anger, distress, and depression. Surrendered people go with the flow, shrug it off when an unplanned situation happens, and tend to be happier, more lighthearted, and resilient.
3. They remember to exhale during stress.
We have two choices when things pile up at work or we’re surrounded by energy vampires who leave us feeling depleted. We can get frantic, hyperventilate, shut down, and become reactive. Needless to say, these responses to stress just make us more stressed. Surrendered people have the ability to pause, take a deep breath, and observe. Sustaining silence and circumspection are two behaviors that lead to better, healthier outcomes.
4. They are powerful without dominating.
The most influential person in the room isn’t the one who is being a bully, talking loudly, and imposing him- or herself on others. Surrendered people understand that true power comes from being respectful and listening. Surrendered people know themselves and are empathetic toward others. They don’t measure themselves by how much they are liked, nor do they compete for attention. When they sit quietly in a room, others always seem to come to them.
5. They feel successful apart from their job or net worth.
Surrendered people enjoy life, relish their personal development, and value their friends. They may have an exceptionally good career and be wealthy, but they are more concerned with meaning and fulfillment. The drive to acquire money and power is a behavior that drains people of their passion and emotional connection to others.
6. They can admit when they’re wrong.
People who hold on to grudges, insist on being right, and try to change other’s minds have a difficult time maintaining healthy, happy relationships. Surrendered people easily forgive. They are open to new ideas, and aren’t attached to being “right.” As a result, people love working and collaborating with them. Others seek them out as mediators and advisors. They are more laid back and relaxed than their rigid counterparts, which makes them highly valued by others.

I love this list. It gives insight into the fact that the ability to surrender has a lot to do with a person's sense of self worth, self esteem and where they realistically see themselves in the context of the world and universal laws.  Consider how skilled you are at surrendering. It may be something you'll want to add to your life strategies toolkit!

Coaching tip today: Practice surrendering!

Thanks to Judith Orloff for this fantastic article! You can read the 7th and the full article at the link provided: article link here -

2 Reminders: Brand Me - The 1% Edge has gone audio. You can listen via iTunes or subscribe to the rss feed at the top right.  You can also listen via The 1% Edge Portable coach app, just look for the 1% Audio tab.
This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

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