Keep it Together
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Keep it Together -
Recently, I was leading a Coach Mentoring session. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and general unease present, I decided to lead the group in a simple breathing exercise. We took the time to breathe and notice what was happening in our bodies, thoughts, and emotions. When we finished, several noted how grateful they were for the opportunity to slow down and notice. I believe, it is in slowing down that we realize we have a choice in how to respond. This simple 5-minute exercise allowed the group to notice what emotions were present. Emotions, like fear, when unchecked can create panic and hopelessness. One of my mentors, Micki McMillan teaches on coaching to emotions. She says, “Emotions are a wonderful teacher and a horrible master.”
In the case of current events, fear is a wonderful teacher in that we are making decisions like closing down March Madness and other large gatherings in order to slow the spread of the virus. Although, sad and disappointing, (we purchased tickets for our 10-year-old to go to round one. We were so bummed when we found out!) it is the right thing to do. On the flip side, fear is a horrible master. Think of the toilet paper hoarding that is happening right now! Why toilet paper people?
This is where coaching comes in. Coaching creates a space for stillness and reflection even in a time of heightened crisis. It helps folks discover emotions they may be having and how they can manage and learn from those emotions. Without the space for stillness and reflection, emotions are unchecked and manifest themselves in funky ways.
If you don’t have a coach to help you create space, simply try a few breathing exercises where you stop and notice what is happening for you at the moment with your thoughts, body, and emotions. Try this:
Breathe deeply 5 times. Exhale for as long as you can.
Breathe deeply 5 times and focus on your body. What do you notice?
Breathe deeply 5 times and focus on your thoughts. What is on you mind?
Last, breathe deeply 5 times and bring your attention to your emotions. What emotions are most present for you today?
As a leadership coach, coach trainer, dad, and husband…I’ve got to keep it together. I’ve found myself using breathing and exercise as a way to be aware of my own emotions. If my emotions go unchecked, I am likely to miss what is happening right in front of me.
On Monday as I headed out from my house for a run, I noticed the Spring song of the birds and on Friday there were four deer hanging out in my back yard. These were simple joys and reminders that helped me notice what is present. By taking time to pause and notice, joy and peace can be found in the frenzy.