What do we do when our insecurity rears its head? When we feel vulnerable and exposed, incompetent but we still have to lead? Denying, suppressing or bypassing our insecurities may give us short-term relief but will inevitably lead us to greater stress and disintegration.
In this episode I explain why learning to recognise and deal with our insecurities in a healthy, self-compassionate way is essential to leading effectively. I go on to offer 4 steps we can take to become better at leading ourselves through our insecurities.
Share this episode via this episode page.
Safe Spaces for Becoming (with Edwina Yeow)
Being A Safe Space for Myself (with Edwina Yeow)
Counselling or Spiritual Direction (or both?)
Inner-child Healing (with Dr Jean Cheng)
Why Your Family of Origin Impacts You More Than Anything Else (by Adam Young)
0:00:54 - Introduction
0:06:50 - Our Scripts of Shame
0:13:48 - 1. Notice Our Feelings of Insecurity
0:21:36 - 2. Become Aware of Our Coping Mechanisms
0:26:30 - 3. Learn Different Responses to Emotional Dysregulation
0:29:24 - 4. Develop External Resources to Support Us
0:35:14 - Praxis: Listen. Ponder. Act.
0:42:53 - Conclusion
- As you listened to this episode, what resonated with you?
- Was there anything that jumped out at you and helped you to recognize something that's very real and occurs in your life?
- When was the last time you felt dysregulated in the context of your role as a leader?
- When was the last you felt emotionally dysregulated in your role as a leader?
- I invite you to return to that episode of dysregulation that you identified.
- Be present to that dysregulation and notice how your body is feeling.
- Can you detect any change when you think about this incident? Can you notice any change in your breath?
- As you notice this and all these things in your body, take a few deep and slow inhales and exhales.
Refer to transcript for the full prompt.
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EPISODE 59 | DEALING WITH OUR INSECURITIES IN LEADERSHIP
So, what are we going to do about it when our insecurity rears its head? In those moments when we feel vulnerable and exposed and we feel incompetent, right? I mean, I think all of us, if we're honest, would have had these experiences. We probably try to hide it. We certainly don't want to show it when we are having to exercise our leadership roles. The question though, is, once we have stepped back from exercising that role, can we then, be honest about that insecurity or that feeling of being very vulnerable and incompetent? Or do we still try to hide it even then? Do we try to hide that truth even from ourselves?
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me.
Hello again dear listeners, and welcome back to our series on interior life and leadership. Now, today's topic is one that is very raw for me because it touches on dealing with our insecurity and vulnerability when we are a leader. We've talked, so far, about leadership scripts and distinguishing between our core identity and the role that we play, right – in the early episodes in this series.
And now that we're going to be talking about dealing with our insecurity and vulnerability, you're going to see how this is linked to our leadership scripts, as well as the confusion we can have between our role and identity. Or when we don't have a strong and integrated core identity – how easy it is then, that we can become victims to our insecurity.
Now, having insecurities in itself – there's nothing wrong with that. I think we all have insecurities, right? The problem is that, I think, in the world that we live in – and for most of us, in the way that we have grown up – we've come to believe that it is bad to have any weakness and flaw in us, and maybe even more so when we have to be a leader in some capacity.
Because a lot of our leadership scripts probably have something along the lines of – you know, to be a leader, I need to be confident. I need to know what I'm doing. I need to be strong, capable, right? I mean, nobody wants a leader who doesn't know what he or she is doing or who is insecure. We all instinctively know that somehow, insecurity doesn't go well with leadership.
Okay, but the reality is that every one of us have areas of insecurity. So, what are we going to do about it when our insecurity rears its head? In those moments when we feel vulnerable and exposed and we feel incompetent, right? I mean, I think all of us, if we're honest, would have had these experiences. We probably try to hide it.
We certainly don't want to show it when we are having to exercise our leadership roles. The question though, is, once we have stepped back from exercising that role, you know – whether it's at work or you know, with our children – in moments of privacy, when we're back with ourselves, or maybe with someone else that we can trust, can we then be honest about that insecurity or that feeling of being very vulnerable and incompetent?
Or do we still try to hide it even then? Do we try to hide that truth even from ourselves? Now, throughout this Becoming Me podcast, I've been repeating in different variations, in different ways; you know, this tendency that we have to run away from ourselves, right? Because it is too painful, too difficult to deal with these uncomfortable feelings of fear, of not being in control.
Now, all of that is amplified when we also have to lead. So, the reason why I started, you know, early on in the series talking about leadership scripts is because when our current reality – when what is actually happening, especially our internal reality – does not match our script, right. So, for example, our scripts is, I need to know what I'm doing.
I should be confident and capable. And the reality is I don't know what to do. Or maybe, you know, we are suddenly feeling very inexperienced or feeling very young. By feeling very young, I mean, it doesn't necessarily mean that I actually am right now young. I mean, that may happen if you are still young, right?
Maybe you're a young adult or you know, a young person given a role of leadership. But sometimes even when we are much older, there are moments that we can feel – we feel young. I think a lot of us may not even be aware of that. There are times when the emotions that we feel when we are feeling insecure, that particular insecurity, it feels like it's coming from a younger part of us, right?
It's almost like a part of a younger self that experienced that fear or that insecurity in the past, is now re-experiencing that. And we feel that way even though maybe it's been one, two, even three decades since then. So, the problem here isn't that we can't always succeed as a leader – because nobody is perfect.
Nobody is going to always succeed. Okay, we're human. You're human. This means that we all will fail at some point or the other. We can't always be succeeding. The problem isn't that we can't always succeed. The problem is when we feel that our identities rest on our role as a leader, and that role needs to be one where we are constantly succeeding – right.
[00:06:50] OUR SCRIPTS OF SHAME
In an earlier episode, in episode 51, I talked about toxic shame, right? And toxic shame is a kind of brokenness that we experience where – when we fail in something, we don't just feel shame about maybe that particular failure or that particular mistake. We feel shame in our whole being because that failure in executing something translates to our failure as a human being.
Okay – that's toxic shame. That shame is overwhelming. It is an existential kind of experience. And a lot of us have this brokenness of toxic shame without even knowing. And if we suffer from toxic shame, then we are even more fearful of failing, okay? Because we are so deeply afraid that it'll be proven true, that we are not worth honor, that we are not worth loving.
You know because everything depends on our success or pleasing someone or not disappointing someone. Now, we bring all that – we bring all those fears and insecurities into our roles as leaders as well. And these are kind of like hidden. They're under the surface. Maybe even more than our leadership scripts are. Right, so, our leadership scripts also function in the background, you know – kind of pushing us to strive in certain ways. But underneath those scripts, there are also all these fears and insecurities.
Like, you know, if people get upset with me, then it means that I'm bad. Or if I fail at this, if I don't succeed – it means that I'm worthless. Okay, so, there are deeper kinds of scripts fueled by our insecurity and our shame as well. So, why is it, then, that we feel that our worth rests under success in our roles?
Why is it that we have these kind of scripts of shame? This is where we need to talk a little bit more about our wounds. We don't start off on a blank slate as leaders, when we are thrust into a position where we have to exercise leadership. We bring everything with us into that role. We have our scripts and our tendencies and our compulsions.
Some of these scripts, some of these tendencies – they are influenced by our nature. Okay, so by nature I mean things like our temperament – our natural temperament. Maybe our motivational design. You know, the kind of things that get us going that get us excited, that makes us want to pour in our effort and do well.
Some of these are influenced by maybe our gifts, our talents. Okay, and maybe even some natural areas of weaknesses such as, you know, inability or, you know – a lesser ability to be very organized, for example. Okay, so, that's nature. But what we don't often realize is that a lot of our scripts are also greatly influenced by nurture, right?
So, by nurture, I mean our past experiences – including the many, many incidents that have wounded us from the time that we were conceived to now – especially in the times of our childhood, right? Those wounds tend to have the greatest impact of all on us and also tend to be the ones that we are least aware of.
So, few of us may think that there even is a link between, for example, emotional neglect that we experience in our childhood and our current fear of conflict, right? So, maybe now as an adult, we find that, you know, we get very uncomfortable and fearful when there is disagreement and conflict in the room, right? – in our presence.
And we really, really don't want to enter into disagreement and conflict with people, right. We may even recognize that this fear is crippling us from being able to go forward in our life. But few of us realize that this can have links to roots, you know, in our past. So, for example, we may find ourselves constantly feeling intimidated by a certain kind of personality, right?
There's a certain type of personality, maybe that puts us into, you know, a zone where we are not going to be functioning well. Or maybe a kind of situation, a certain kind of relational dynamic will put us into, again, that kind of zone where we don't feel like we are competent, okay. Maybe, immediately, we feel young and useless and stupid.
I'm not exaggerating. I know it's not just my experience. I've talked to enough people to know that while the situations may be very different, that put us into that kind of frame of mind, we all know that there are things that can trigger us into feeling, you know, out of control – so, insecure, right? And then we can even become frozen and helpless.
So, sometimes it could be just the moment before that, things were normal. We could be functioning normally, and then all of a sudden, like a switch flips and we are feeling helpless and frozen. And what we don't know, is that this has its roots often, in the unhealed wounds of our past, and especially our childhood.
So, the longer-term journey into greater authenticity and wholeness as persons and also as leaders – okay, because when we talk about leadership on this podcast, it's from that angle of authentic and integrated leadership. That's what we're interested in. We want to become leaders that are also authentic and integrated human beings, right?
That's the area of our greatest interest. Now to do this, the longer-term journey will require us to continue to grow in self-knowledge about both our nature, right – understanding ourselves, the way we are created, our design, our temperament, our gifts, our, you know – our shortcomings.
But we also will need to develop greater self-knowledge about our nurture; about how our environment and our experiences have shaped us, and especially in the ways that they have wounded us. This is a requirement for good self-leadership, right – our ability to lead ourselves on this interior journey. Because that's where leadership begins as well. We need to know how to accompany ourselves, right? To be able to lead ourselves, to motivate ourselves, encourage ourselves if we are to become better at knowing how to do this for other people. So, back to what do we do then, when our insecurities rear their heads?
[00:13:45] 1. NOTICING OUR FEELINGS OF INSECURITY
Okay, so for the purpose of this episode, I just want to talk broadly about four points. Okay, four things to note and maybe that we can do when our insecurities rear their heads. Now, first I'm going to say – first is just to notice when our insecurities rear their heads. I don't know if you are self-aware enough yet when those insecurities rear their heads.
For a lot of us, because the way we've come to operate to be aligned with what society values, who want to see like, you know, strength and intelligence and ability and shuns weakness – and all this kind of thing. A lot of us, we've learned to sweep our insecurities under the carpet. We learn to avoid and ignore, right – our insecurities. So, we may not even actually notice that we're insecure. Sometimes, we may even fly off the handle and, you know, get really angry or react badly.
And still cannot acknowledge that underneath that anger, is perhaps some insecurity that was triggered. All right, so, that's why the first point is can we notice when we are dysregulated. To be emotionally regulated means that, you know, we are kind of at a good norm, we are functioning calmly.
We are able to think critically, creatively, you know – we even are maybe able to have insights, right – to play. That's kind of like the baseline – baseline when we are feeling safe, okay? You know, imagine that's when you know, maybe you're with a good friend, you're feeling safe. We're in an "okay" zone.
We're home; you know like a home base. That's kind of emotional regulation. Now, when our insecurities are triggered, even without our conscious knowing, right – when it happens, we get emotionally dysregulated, okay? That means we are actually feeling unsafe. When we are emotionally dysregulated, we will not be able to operate from our best because basically, when we are dysregulated, we are in some kind of fight or flight mode, all right?
Something in us, our bodies, our nervous system is feeling under threat – and may not be physical threat. For us human beings, safety, I think other than physical safety – the other big thing that's really important to us is feeling psychologically and emotionally safe, right? Am I going to be received in this space?
Can I be myself or am I going to be rejected? Am I going to be shunned? Made fun of? Criticized? When we feel like we are under threat of not being received fully, we don't feel safe, then we would be dysregulated, okay? And then we are either in fight or flight mode, all right. Either way, we are on the defensive. And when we are in this state – when we are dysregulated, we do not have access to critical or creative thinking.
We cannot see possibilities and we don't even have access to our strengths. Think about it – when you are in survival mode, when you are trying to defend yourself, you know everything in your body, even your brains, the functioning – the priority isn't to be creative. Right now, the priority is to be safe, to look after myself, to make sure that I'm okay.
So, if you are a leader and you have to function as a leader and you don't have access to critical or creative thinking and you can't have access to – you're not able to think about possibilities. So, which means that you can't really problem solve properly, right? And if you don't have access to whatever natural strengths you actually have, I think you'll probably agree with me that you are not going to be able to do a good job as a leader.
Right, even with what you do have, because right now, when you are dysregulated, you don't have access to the normal resources that you have. And it's not our fault. This is something that is completely automatic. It is a reaction from our nervous system. Okay, so, if we don't notice – if we cannot be aware when this happens to us, a lot of us, what happens is we will try and push through without trying to come back to home base.
Right, then that means that we will be trying to lead in that zone where we actually have no resources. And because we're in fight or flight, if we try to take any action in this mode, usually we will be either overly aggressive, right?
So, that's if you're in the fight mode – you're going to be very aggressive and abrasive. Or you can be very timid if you're in the flight mode. You know, you just don't want to offend anyone, and you're paralyzed, and you know? Or you could be freezing right – that's another state, right? Fight or flight or freeze.
But in this state, you will find that you could be overly rigid and uncompromising. It's either my way or the highway. And you may not like yourself when you're in that zone. But maybe some of you will recognize that this tends to happen, right? I'm letting you know that when this is happening, chances are, you are actually dysregulated, right?
Some of us will then just go the other extreme and let others just walk all over us, right? And maybe we just go into this need – this compulsive need to please the other people. Even if they are the people that we're meant to lead. Suddenly, we are just so concerned that they are happy with us, that they're not unhappy with us, you know.
And we are afraid to make any decisions that might offend anyone or upset anyone. Or we are afraid to even disagree, even if that's our right and our professional duty to do so. We have no access to insight, all creative solutions. That's just the way it is. And just because we all have experienced this and maybe we continue to have these kind of experiences -
– it doesn't mean that we are failures. But it means that we can do something about learning how to bring ourselves – when we enter this kind of dysregulated states, right – how we can bring ourselves out of this state back into a better space, back into that regulated space to be the best version of the leaders we can be.
Now, when I'm talking about this, I don't necessarily mean right in that moment when we're dysregulated, right? Although with practice – with a lot of practice – and, yeah, really with a lot of practice, we may find that eventually, even in the moment when we get dysregulated, we are aware of how to begin to use the resources we have to bring ourselves back to regulation.
But I want to set expectations for you. For everyone, when we are just going into learning to become aware when this happens – for a long time, we may feel helpless, even when we notice that it's happening, okay? But what we can do, as a first step maybe, is to notice and then to buy ourselves some time – try, if possible, to not engage or make any decisions when we are in that state.
Create some space and time for ourselves to be alone or to seek out the resources that we need to come back into a better state before we continue to do what we need to do. That's what we can try and do for ourselves. But so, this is just the first step for us; it's just to become better attuned to our emotions and our bodies, so that we can hear it when it's starting to get into this dysregulated space.
[00:21:36] 2. BECOMING AWARE OF OUR COPING MECHANISMS
Second, we can become aware of our coping mechanisms. Okay, so, all of us, we would have been entering into dysregulated states from our earliest days, okay? Even when we are babies, okay? Everybody's nervous system gets dysregulated. When we are fearful, hungry, when we are in need, and you know – we are afraid that somebody's not going to meet our need, especially when we are very young -
– that's when we get emotionally dysregulated, right? And depending on the responsiveness of our caregivers; their consistency, you know, to attuning to our emotional needs and our physical needs when we were young, we all developed different abilities and capacities at regulating ourselves, right? So, even when we don't know how to regulate ourselves properly, so to speak – we all out of survival instinct, will find something to latch on to soothe ourselves. Okay, s0, that's how coping mechanisms, I guess, in a sense, get born, right? I mean, they get started and they develop early in our lives and continue to develop throughout our lives.
So, our coping mechanisms, they help us to get over the short-term problem, you know – that huge discomfort that we feel in our bodies. It's something that we have learned to do to soothe ourselves. But in the long run, these coping mechanisms come with a huge cost, right? And a lot of times, we can end up collapsing under the weight of the cost of these coping mechanisms.
So, for, you know, for example, we could burn out, right? Those of us who learn to just power through whenever we are dysregulated to just, you know, go into overdrive, and just work harder, try harder to rely on ourselves – we could burn out. Some of us, we just want to avoid any difficult situation because it's just so uncomfortable and dysregulating, we run.
And then if this is our go to, we may find that certain kinds of difficulties and challenges, we will never be able to seem to stay long enough and to persevere through it. We can develop, you know, personas that are so strong that we have lost touch with authenticity. We don't know who we are. We can develop overly porous or overly rigid boundaries that prevent us from having fulfilling relationships.
Some of us would develop addictions. Well, I would say a lot of us would develop different kinds of addictions – whether they're behavioral. So, by behavioral I mean like workaholics, shopaholics, binging on food or videos or TV or alcohol, drugs, sex. Sorry, some of this would be then substance, also – addictions to substance or behaviors.
I think everyone has kind of like different kinds of coping mechanism. Some would even be exercise, you know? There are people who are addicted to exercise because it gives them – it makes them feel good, right? I mean, it actually does literally kind of make you feel good after exercise and they look for that high to run away from the pain of being emotionally dysregulated, right?
Or maybe even overindulging in social engagements, escaping into humour. Anyone knows anyone who's coping mechanism is, cracking jokes or laughing, right? We all develop some kind of way to escape that pain of being dysregulated. So, leaders face pressure and responsibility, right?
I mean, in our capacity as leaders, we have responsibility. And then so all the more, this is magnified. If we don't know how to handle our insecurities and our vulnerabilities, a lot of us will end up leading double lives. We hide our coping mechanisms, maybe some of them, especially if we are very ashamed of them. And so, we end up functioning, you know, in a very inauthentic way.
Okay, so second step is – can you become just aware of what are your coping mechanisms are? So, we can also begin to detect. Sometimes we may miss the first cues that we are dysregulated, right? And sometimes that can happen over a period of time – many different triggers, different incidents that are making us dysregulated.
Sometimes we just are so busy we don't notice it. But if we become aware of what our coping mechanisms are, we can sometimes catch ourselves going into those compulsions or addictions, and then we know that, okay, okay – I'm not in a good state, you know, I'm in a stressed state. And that's another kind of like red flag or a reminder to us that – hey, maybe I can do something about, you know, about this for myself now.
[00:26:30] 3. LEARN DIFFERENT RESPONSES TO EMOTIONAL DYSREGULATION
Okay, so, becoming aware of what your coping mechanisms are. Okay, so what's the third thing we can do? We can learn – so, this is a part of this interior journey, right – resourcing also; our own interior resources – we can learn how to respond differently when we notice that we're dysregulated or when we notice that we've entered into, you know, our coping mechanisms, our compulsions, and addictions.
In the past, before we've begun this interior journey, or maybe when we were very early in the interior journey, you'll find that the reflex is always – maybe we beat ourselves up, or we don't even want to acknowledge it because we're so ashamed of being insecure, or so ashamed that, you know, we're indulging in our addictions again – that we either try and deny it or suppress it, right?
Or beat ourselves up for it – shame ourselves for it. Now, none of that helps, right? So, we need to learn how to respond differently when we do notice we're in a bad space. So, instead of bypassing our emotions, powering through them, you know, escaping into the coping mechanisms or shaming ourselves -
– Maybe we can learn how to let these episodes of dysregulation, you know, or even catching ourselves in our compulsions and addictions, become the doorway to further self-understanding and interior growth. Okay, so in one of my earlier episodes on this podcast – episode seven, there is an episode with a title: Be Curious, Courageous & Compassionate with Yourself.
I really want to suggest that maybe you revisit that episode – episode seven, okay? Because that talks about how when we begin to notice certain negative patterns in our life, instead of trying to deny it or to shame ourselves for it – maybe we can become curious. Why does this keep happening?
Why is this pattern in my life? Right, and with courage and compassion, we can actually let this negative pattern in our life become, not just data, but fuel for us to actually enter into greater authenticity. Right, so, changing the response that we have. In another episode, episode 22, I also talk about what it means to be a safe space for myself, you know, with my guest in that episode – Edwina Yeow.
So, episode 7 and 22 – those are the episodes to go to if you need a little help with responding differently when you notice that you are dysregulated. So, that's kind of the – that's the interior resource. That's the resource within ourselves that we want to develop, right? Our own response to ourselves.
[00:29:24] 4. DEVELOPING EXTERNAL RESOURCES TO SUPPORT US
But there's also external resources. So, that's the fourth thing I want to talk about in this episode. You know, what can we do when our insecurities rear our heads, when we get dysregulated. It is to develop the external resources that we need to support ourselves when we know we are in a bad state – when we are dysregulated, right?
So, when, when I'm feeling fearful, insecure, afraid, and vulnerable, where can I go? What are the spaces? Who are the people, you know, that I can go to where I know I'll be safe – instead of just escaping into my coping mechanisms, right? Who or what reminds you that you are greater than the sum of your failures and weaknesses?
Is it God? You know, for me, for the longest time, going into the adoration chapel and just being silent before God – that is a huge resource space for me to immediately be reminded I'm not the sum of my fears and my failures. I am loved; I am loved as imperfect, and, you know, mistake ridden. You know, and as incapable as I am, of sometimes even being compassionate with myself, I bring myself into a space where I can receive compassion.
Right, so, it's, for me, that resource would be the God, my spouse, and you know, maybe my spiritual director, my therapist, and a couple of really good friends, right – whom I know understands the interior struggles that I go through. So, what's that for you? Who or what helps you to become grounded again?
Because once you become grounded again, you can re-look at the problem that you need to deal with, right – as a leader, from a more secure and regulated space. Now, when we go from dysregulation back into being regulated, back into being grounded in ourselves, in our bodies – when we feel rooted again in something greater than us, that we are held, that we are loved.
Even though the externals may not have changed at all, and the dilemma or the problem that we have to deal with as a leader is still there, we will find we have the resources again that we have. You know, we are able to see possibilities we didn't see before. We are able to think more critically or creatively about it.
We are not just reactive and defensive in the way that we try and find the solution to the problem. Because there's space now inside us. There is space now within us. So, whatever is the limit we have right now because limits are real, right? Like I said, we are all finite and limited creatures – and we are all in the process of growing our capacity to be authentic and to be integrated. But whatever our current ceiling is, right -
– so, it might be not very high. The thing is, when we are dysregulated, whatever our ceiling is, we're not even at the ceiling. We are like close to the floor of being able to access our resources, right? When we know how to tap into internal and external resources; to become regulated again, we will find that we once again have access to the resources, you know, up to the ceiling of our current limit. And which is the best that we can do at this point, right?
And that makes so much difference. That makes all the difference because this is an ongoing journey.
So, if you want to also, for this point, revisit old episodes that I talk about resources, you might want to listen to Episode 21: Safe Spaces For Becoming. That's also an episode I did with Edwina. Or Episode 23: Safe Spaces for Growth – I talk more specifically about the kind of external resources that will really help us in our interior journey.
Right, what are the traits to look for if you want to know how to determine whether you know someone or someplace or a community is a good resource for you? In episode 30, I talk about counseling and spiritual direction as possible resources, and when you need either one of them – or maybe you might need both.
And the entire series that I did – the last series that I did, ranging from, I think episodes 43 to 51, is a whole series on healing, right? Three of the episodes are actually a conversation with clinical psychologist, Dr. Jean Cheng, and they've proven to be very, very popular episodes on my podcast, right.
But beyond that, it's talking about how can we increase that capacity – which means that ceiling, right, as we continue to grow in our interior journey. How can we find resources to help us grow? So, I'm going to be parking in the show notes, some of these links to my – either the previous episodes or external resources, okay?
External resources that talk about affect regulation, which is basically emotional regulation. And an episode on Adam Young's podcast – The Place We Find Ourselves; about why our family of origin affect us more than anything. I think these are very, very important principles, basic principles, to understand a bit more about how the current struggles that we have, have their roots in our history.
And that's why the interior journey is important and why to be able to go forward, we often will need to also revisit the past.
[00:35:14] PRAXIS: LISTEN. PONDER. ACT.
Okay, so here are the praxis prompts for today. One: Listen – so, as you listened to this episode, you know, what resonated with you? Was there anything that jumped out at you and helped you to recognize something that's very real and occurs in your life?
Two: Ponder – when was the last time you felt dysregulated in the context of your role as a leader? When was the last you felt emotionally dysregulated in your role as a leader?
Three: Act – I invite you, when you have some time and space, return to that episode of dysregulation that you identified. Okay, remember it. Maybe it's something that's happening in your life right now and you don't need to remember it. Just be present to that dysregulation and notice how your body is feeling.
Can you detect any change when you think about this incident or this issue that's making you dysregulated – or this person or this relationship? Can you notice any change in your breath? Any feeling or sensation in your stomach, or chest? Maybe your shoulders, your feet, your back, your hands. You know, for me, sometimes I find that, oh, I don't realize it, but my left hand is clenched.
That's one of the things that happen when I'm feeling dysregulated. So, as you notice this and all these things in your body, take a few deep and slow inhales and exhales, okay. Breath in and out.
Breath work – this kind of breathing can help to calm our nervous systems and soothe us. Can you name what emotions you feel? And can you maybe notice where those emotions are in your body?
Okay, maybe, for some of you – maybe that's enough. Okay, just noticing how your body is feeling when you're dysregulated and trying to name the emotions that you feel – maybe that's enough. But at a later point, or if you want to keep going, I invite you also, to then see if you can identify when you're dysregulated, what's the impulse – okay, what is your go-to coping mechanism?
What kicks in automatically for you? You know, for me, sometimes what kicks in is I go to my snack corner in my house, and I just start stuffing myself with chips. Okay, so, a bit of binging on food sometimes is one of my, you know – seeking comfort food – unhealthy comfort food is one of my automatic go to things when I'm dysregulated, right.
Or mindlessly scrolling on my phone – that's another one of mine, right? So, for a while just to numb myself. So, what is it for you? Do you notice what is your go-to coping mechanism? Whatever it is, it's okay. Okay, just notice it without judging yourself, if you can. All right, we're just noticing. All right, okay, so now then, can you identify a safe space?
Do you have a friend, someone in your life or a pet – maybe an animal, or a place? Maybe somewhere in nature, you know, a particular place that automatically when you go to, or you are with that person or that animal, you feel safe. It could be your therapist or spiritual director.
But identify that space – that safe space. And I want to encourage you, especially, while all these are very good, right? It could be just nature. You don't need to necessarily have another human being as this immediate go-to safe space because sometimes that person may not be available, right – at that moment when you need that person.
But I want to encourage you to consider – in order to move forward and learn how to regulate ourselves and to increase that capacity for groundedness, it's important that we have someone that we can acknowledge our insecurity with, someone that we can bring this into the light with, okay? When we can acknowledge our insecurity and vulnerability to ourselves and to someone safe, we remove the power that these insecurities have over us.
They will still be there. You know, by and large, a lot of our insecurities will still be there. But we no longer need to be that afraid of becoming victims to these insecurities, because we would have learned how to deal with them, and we would have learned how to leverage even, on the data that these insecurities bring to us to deepen our journey of healing.
So, what's going to happen is when we learn how to acknowledge our insecurities and our vulnerability in safe ways, and when we learn how to befriend ourselves – these wounded parts of ourselves. I don't think we'll ever reach a state when insecurities rear their head, that we will be happy or that we feel empowered. But they can become our friends and not a feared enemy because we know that when they appear in our lives, it's a reminder of our humanity.
That we are broken, even as we are beautiful, and that it's okay because we have learned to walk with ourselves with compassion and love. Okay, so, I hope today's episode about dealing with and responding to our insecurities and vulnerabilities as a leader, has given you something to think about -
– has maybe met you in those times where you have felt that way and maybe you've been ashamed and helpless. This is just a beginning, but I hope, and I really pray that those of you who listened to this episode, that you can come to befriend the wounded parts of yourselves. That you can come to see your insecurities and vulnerabilities not just as liabilities, but ultimately as assets to becoming more authentic and integrated leaders.
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin.
The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!