You told off your noisy neighbor. Your sister got an earful this morning. He made you cry again.
But you’ll argue with me. You’ll protest that you are an authentic person, with genuine emotions!
I hear you. But before you run away, hear me out.
During a recent BREAK METHOD Come Back Better Challenge, I was coaching one student on my team. Wendy (not her real name) was struggling to deal with a coworker who constantly criticized Wendy’s performance. Wendy had been ignoring the jibes and grinding her jaw - and searching for a new position so she could escape the daily, “That’s not how we do it here. We have a better way,” commentary.
“I frigging hate her. She won’t leave me alone,” Wendy disclosed.
“What have you been trying?” I asked.
“I just walk away. It’s better than what I’d like to do,” she said as a sneer passed over her face.
I paused and twirled my pen. I said, “How long does it take before you lose your shit and tell her off?”
Wendy burst into laughter. “About another month, I think.”
“Then you’ve been pushed to your edge, right?” I asked.
“Right. And then I lose it and get fired or have to quit. It’s the same every time. I burn all my bridges,” Wendy admitted. “I’m totally screwing my career path.”
Placing my pen on the desk, I said, “Have time for a story?”
She shrugged. “Sure.”
“Great. So, I have this client who should have retired about seventeen years ago. She’s almost eighty years old and has no grasp of technology or marketing trends. In fact, she’s stuck running print ads in the local newspaper.”
“Seriously?” Wendy asked.
“Absolutely. I suggested she use QR codes to landing pages to draw leads to her website,” I said.
“Of course,” Wendy agreed. She, too, worked in the content creation realm and understood the value of upping the marketing game. “What did she say?”
“She called me stupid,” I admitted.
“QR codes are not stupid - “
“No, Wendy. She called me stupid,” I repeated.
“No, she didn’t,” Wendy said, her eyes wide.
“She sure did,” I said. “And you know what I would have done before BREAK? I would have verbally torn her to shreds and quit on the spot.”
Wendy’s sheepish smile told more of her story. She said, “Sounds about right.”
“Burning bridges. That was my modus. It would take me quite a while to get to that point. I’d start every assignment with verve - and then the first criticism would come. Or the first sign of not being appreciated or respected. And I would ignore it. Just like you ignore your coworker. But I wasn’t really ignoring it. I was seething. And because I refused to lose my cool - at least at that point - I would go home and churn the day, and worry, and suffer chest-collapsing anxiety.”
Wendy blurted, “I do that! Every damn day, I go home and - and sometimes I punch walls. Or drink too much wine just to get to sleep. You know, the day replays in my head over and over. And I have to reassure myself that I’m valuable. That I know what I’m doing.”
“Right,” I agreed. “I get you. But I approach situations differently after BREAK.”
“What did you do with that old bitch?” Wendy asked, leaning closer to me and resting her chin on her upturned palm.
I said, “When she stated her firm opinion of my intelligence, I turned to make sure I had eye contact and I said: In the history of my career, no one has ever called me stupid. And I do not appreciate working in an environment with a lack of respect. I would appreciate that if you do not choose to use one of my ideas, that you state your reasons and leave personal attacks out of it.”
“You were so calm!” Wendy said.
“I was. I also said that it was her business and my suggestions were not threats to her leadership. They were just professional suggestions. See, that’s the key. Knowing that my old response - my autopilot emotion - was learned a long time ago when I was a child. That rage - and the anxiety - had nothing to do with today. With this job and this moment. Or with the woman in front of me,” I said. I sipped my coffee. I asked, “So, do you think the next time your coworker flings a jibe at you, you can choose a different response?”
“Like what? What do I say?” Wendy asked, her eyes downcast.
“You take a breath and assert your boundaries. You speak your truth in the moment. BREAK emotional repatterning that you are practicing will help you get better and better at reacting authentically.”
Wendy said, “Ewww. That feels weird to me.”
“Weird, how?” I asked. “Don’t you want to stop the reactive emotion sequence you’ve been using? You can select the emotion in line with how you want to orient your life. With keeping your job. With nurturing your career.”
“It feels inauthentic. Like I’m a robot or something,” she said.
“That’s where you have it 100% wrong. I call bullshit. The robotic response is the one you have been using! Your brain wants you to stay exactly the same. It thinks it’s keeping you safe with its priming and assumptions - and faulty perceptions of reality. This situation, to your brain, is like the one when you were five. So, it floods your body with the same chemicals so you have the same emotional response your brain has decided has kept you safe. Your authentic response would be a logical and intuitive response to that environment in that moment.”
Wendy folded the paper in front of her. She asked, “How’s things with your old lady client?”
“Good, actually. When I held my ground, it snapped her out of her own emotional pattern. She apologized and explained all the new tech scares her. My authentic response gave her the room to be authentic, too. BREAK METHOD tools have that effect.”
Wendy raised her eyes to me. She asked, “Didn’t you manipulate her, then?”
I sighed. Many BREAK METHOD students ask that question. I asked, “How is my being authentic - and her authentic reaction - manipulative? Knowing my rage response was erroneous and my old approach gave me negative results helped me realize what I wanted was to nurture relationships while holding my own boundaries. Changing my emotional patterned response is not manipulative. It’s emotional intelligence.”
“I’d like to keep my job. I really like it there. And I’m about to get a promotion,” Wendy said.
I nodded and said, “And this is the perfect time to grab that self-sabotage and tell off your coworker.”
She laughed. “That’s my modus. The better things get, the more likely I’d screw it all up.”
“And that’s why you’re here,” I said.
“I still want to tell off that coworker,” Wendy said.
I smiled. “We’ll work on that. Because each time you repeat your pattern, you stay stuck. With the BREAK Method Program, you will identify the moment your emotional pattern started. And you will crush those cues that override the attempts you make to course correct. You’ll practice the tools you need to break your programmed response. And you will rewire your brain.”
“I see that,” she said.
Do you actually believe that the patterns you’ve been following - the patterns that are comfortable and that you argue are authentic - are good for you?
You know the definition of insanity? The common vernacular says it’s “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” But insanity is a legal term meaning a mental illness of such a severe nature the person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality and cannot conduct his or her affairs due to uncontrollable compulsive behavior.”
If the pair of shoes fits….
Authenticity respects the environment. Respects the moment. Respects your authentic, logical and intuitive response. Respects yourself. And the other person. As BREAK Method founder, Bizzie Gold says: The sign of an evolved society is the ability to interrupt the emotional response system with logic and intuition.
Join the evolved.
Check out more at: Here’s Why You’re Running on Autopilot and How to Fix It.
Or get serious and take the BREAK METHOD Brain Pattern Assessment.