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4 Tips To Help You Navigate Today’s Challenging Times

Written by: Traci Philips, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Last month, I wrote an article about receiving. Since then, a number of people have asked me how they can get to the place where they can truly receive.

toddler standing in front of beige concrete stair.

For me, there are a few key concepts to look at and understand: Resistance, Assumptions/Expectations, Releasing, Acceptance & Receiving.

As things come up in your life, notice how you are feeling and what you are sensing. Recognize when there is resistance (blocks) coming up for you. Determine whether the block is good (boundary) or not (expectation/assumption).

Work on releasing the expectations/assumptions by determining what is within your control (what internal shifts can be made in how you are addressing the issue?) and what is not in your control. Allow yourself to let go of what you cannot control.

Having acceptance for what is ‒ what is in your power of control and what is not ‒ will allow you to only put your energy and efforts into what is right and best for you and will keep you in alignment. Being open to receive a situation/circumstance/experience that is better than you could imagine offers gifts and surprises that you are here to have and enjoy.

So how can we get better at building awareness of our resistances, assumptions/expectations, and what needs to be released, accepted and received to improve our leadership and our lives?

By now, there is plenty of research in the fields of neuroscience and behavioral science, as well as experiential findings in the field of leadership that shows us definitively that our performance, decision-making abilities, general effectiveness and capacity to connect with others are impacted by more than just what we think and can analyze and measure.

The information we can access and process within our cognitive or cephalic brain plays only a slight role in all of these things. We have two other brains, one in our heart and one in the gut region that are powerful influencers, as well.

In fact, there is information that can only be attained and processed through our cardiac brain, and this is also the case for the enteric or gut brain. So, as hard as we may think about or mentally evaluate something, we simply cannot attain what we need through the head alone.

If we want access to more of the available information from the world around us and the world within us, we must be able to understand and utilize all of our brains through thinking, feeling and sensing to absorb what truly is in order to make the best decisions and intentions possible to navigate the times we are in.

In fact, more than ever, the head brain cannot reach what we are needing most. Much of what we are living through and needing to maneuver is unknown and changing rapidly. The head brain contains what is past – through our own experiences and those of others. It’s what has already been studied, “known” and “proven,” therefore it cannot effectively inform us about that which is new, never been experienced or is generally unknown to us. There is much that doesn’t “make sense” to the cerebral brain, so if we are to get through our current challenges as successfully as possible, we will need to understand our other two brains much better.

When it comes to challenge, if you over-analyze or mentally fixate, you will only perpetuate your confusion and miss out on learning what you need to know in order to take advantage of opportunities, growth and potential.

So, what are some things you can do to open yourself up to take better advantage of the times and learn how to read your feelings and listen to your gut more?

1: Declutter.

If you are filled up with stuff, there is no room for anything new to get in. You also could be spending all of your time and energy running patterns and belief systems that are creating more clutter and blocking your ability to get the essential information you need. If you are carrying emotional baggage, fear and pain within your heart because of experiences from the past, it is time to address it. Nothing new and better can get in until you make room for it. If you are too attached to old perspectives, attitudes and even ways of doing things, you cannot discover new and possibly better and more healthful ways of viewing your reality and approaching things. The question becomes, what do you need to purge and release? Do you need to let go of stories, people or physical clutter that isn’t serving a good and supportive purpose in your life? Do you need to say good-bye to narratives around your own capacity and value? Give yourself the time to consider what is causing energy leaks in your life, and decide what steps you can begin to take to make room for what you want, instead.

2: Choose Trust.

Trust isn’t earned, it is chosen. We choose to trust or we choose not to. It’s less about the story than it is about the decision. It takes guts to embrace the unknown. Our best ally in doing this is trust. Without it, we cannot and will not step into uncharted waters. The head wants clarity and answers before it allows us to act. It is intuition and following our hearts that provide us the certainty we need when things are cognitively unclear. When we can trust in other aspects of our knowing to lead us in the right direction, we open ourselves up to so much more growth and expansion. Having a vision and intentions for how you want your life to be, as well as where you want to grow and improve, will require you to trust yourself and the world around you more in order for these things to come to fruition. If you learn to trust your heart and gut more, you will find that even in the face of constant and capricious change, you are able to experience more and cover more ground than you thought possible.

3: Be Flexible.

The more we all try to control things these days, the more our efforts will blow up in our faces. Working with what is presented is the best way to move forward. It’s all about collaboration. We are not here to drive the river. We can, however, harness its forward momentum to lead us where we want to go. It not only takes the head’s creativity to do this. It takes the connection of the heart to know what’s most important and the courage of the gut to take risks to move beyond what is comfortable and known through previous experience. You might find a lot in your life is being rearranged beneath you. You may even experience things that seem as they may overcome you. If you think of the analogy of the tsunami, the question becomes, would you like to learn to surf it or be crushed by it? If you can work with its power, you can use it to clear away resistance and places within you where you are operating from past influences that don’t serve your future.

4: Don’t Be Lured By the Drama.

What do they say about the news – if it bleeds, it leads? We have been deeply conditioned and have base biological responses to react to threat. If something is given the “drama” label, we tend to pay attention, whether we want to or not. But it is important to remember that there are imminent threats and perceived or imagined ones. Ninety percent of the time we are responding to what is perceived and imagined. It is more important than ever to understand how to access the truth in circumstances so that we can use our own inner guidance to determine what we respond and react to and what is not worth our energy, time and even health and well-being (it isn’t good for us to get stuck in stress response). With all that is going on in the world, there is plenty of drama that can be alluring, especially that which is focused on the tragic, dire and ruinous. Decide to accept the kind of drama that is exciting and opportunity-oriented. Allow your heart to race over the incredible things to come that change offers. Deal with your own challenges by using what has been mentioned and leave others to their own experience. Remain aware and in your own lane. Be intentional about how you want to feel and act, so you can know when you might be getting lured into drama that doesn’t serve you. You can be best for others when you are grounded and healthy.

Facing what is real without losing yourself to the stress and pressure that constant change brings is a skill. We cannot learn it without working through it. Distractions, blaming, hiding, escaping or anything else that takes you away from healthfully dealing with what is truly yours to attend to and learn will only prolong the lesson and discomfort that comes with it.

There is so much to gain from the times we are in. We can learn to work with all of it (or as much of it as we are ready for), or we can be dragged down by it. There is no more dodging it, as we are all responsible for making our own way in the world. The world, itself, is a mirror of the collective decisions that we all make.

There is great potential to increase our sense of awareness, capacity and progress. It’s not meant to be easy, but it is simple. There is not juice without the squeeze, nor diamonds without extreme pressure. We are where we are for a reason, and we can feel victimized by it or empowered to use what is coming our way as a way to sharpen and hone what is within us to be better, stronger and faster.

Are you ready and willing to level up and improve your inner gadgetry and situation? Focus on what supports are around you and allow yourself to communicate, receive and utilize them to drive things forward. There is honestly no better time than now.

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Traci Philips, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine As an Executive Leadership & Performance Strategist, Traci Philips supports visionary business owners and corporate executives to learn and practice better communication, resolution strategies, decision-making, and leading during times of change and when the stakes are high. A three-year stint co-facilitating a men's transformational program for industry leaders incarcerated in Federal Prison taught Traci more than she could ever have learned elsewhere about high-stakes leadership and the cost of bad decision-making. This experience fueled a passion in her to help top leaders learn what they needed to know so they wouldn't end up losing what matters most. Her ultimate goal is to support her clients to live authentically and lead powerfully by creating more awareness about who they are, how they want to be seen, and what legacy they want to leave behind. Traci is the co-host of Eavesdrop in the Moment, a bi-weekly podcast that discusses current trends and leadership. Her book, Looking In: Discover, Define and Align the True Value of Your Life, Leadership and Legacy is helping leaders around the globe increase their confidence and self-identity to meet leadership demands and their personal performance potential.



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