Jason Redman discusses assessing your options in the face of adversity

Leadership and Change Management in Business | Part 4: Assess Your Options and Outcomes

In this series on Change Management in Business, inspired by some of my most popular speaking topic requests, we’re focused primarily on the importance of resiliency and what I’ve dubbed the Overcome Mindset as it pertains to personal and professional performance and leadership, especially in the face of change and adversity.

In short, the Overcome Mindset is about perspective, attitude and being prepared to get off the X, as we say in the U.S. military special-operations communities, and move forward, to survive and thrive despite the contingency for any adversity, even what I call life ambushes.

If you haven’t been following the series, you can get up to speed with Parts One, Two and Three as follows:

Part 1: Adapting Quickly As a Leadership Skill includes an introduction to life ambushes and my REACT Methodology.

Part 2: Recognizing Your Reality includes signs you’re in a life ambush and REACT Methodology’s first action step: “R.”

Part 3: In the Face of Adversity, Evaluate Your Assets features REACT Methodology’s action step two: “E.”

Over the decades, I’ve worked with hundreds of teams, organizations and individuals in the midst or aftermath of an ambush, whether personal, professional or military. And there’s one thing that elite teams and the most successful people do: They get off the X quickly. They accept the situation, plan a new course and move forward with everything they’ve got.

Jason Redman speaking about his REACT Methodology

While that may sound simple in theory, if you’ve ever had to endure an ambush you understand the common effects: Sometimes “everything you’ve got” feels like “absolutely nothing.” The X can be a dark, hard and lonely place, where you may feel pinned down and actually believe that you’re trapped, as if you’ve reached the end of your physical, mental and emotional strength and anything that ever resembled hope.

The mental-emotional tidal wave can present very real physical, biochemical and cognitive effects as the mind and body react by default mechanisms to the perpetual stress.

In this state, the burden can feel so overwhelming that the thought of giving up may be the only “relief” a person can imagine. It’s not uncommon for people in this state to begin unravelling or even spiral to the depths of profound self-sabotage.  

If you’re in the midst or on the verge of this, hold on; don’t let go. You simply don’t know any other way, but there is one.

Understand that in the midst of a life ambush you will feel utterly overwhelmed, and it will be hard to think in the time surrounding the initial blast, so identifying the best short- and long-term positions for survival in the moment will likely be a monumental challenge.

In the SEALs, we trained daily to be prepared in advance for ambushes and other adverse events. This required us to always have a plan ready to review and implement quickly in the event of an attack. We called these immediate action drills. Inspired by what I’ve learned and experienced in my Navy SEAL training, leadership and career, I’ve developed an immediate action drill for life ambushes. I call it the REACT Methodology. Learn it, live it and let it become your new default mechanism. Because being prepared to REACT effectively is a key to overcoming anything in life. This article focuses on the REACT action step “A” …

Assess your best possible options and outcomes.

Once you have a clear perspective and understanding of your position, as discussed in Parts 2  and 3, it’s time to assess your action options.

In a military ambush, some of the choices for survival include taking cover, attacking into the ambush, or flanking the attackers by moving to an advantageous position. In your situation, or a life ambush, you may have to find subject-matter experts such as attorneys, accountants, counselors, or pastors or priests to help with a plan. Or you may have to fall back to reorganize and reassess the situation. This step is one of the most critical and often is accompanied by a sense of urgency, causing people to choose quickly before they have had a chance to truly evaluate the ambush or crisis. In the military, we had a phrase for this: “taking a tactical pause to let the battlefield develop.”  This is just a fancy phrase saying we take a step back and try to see all the moving parts in the crisis and bring our team members, family, friends and subject-matter experts to help us assess the best options and outcomes.

Remember that in a crisis, we are playing chess, not checkers. We are focused on long-term movements and outcomes, and often we have to choose the harder path for the better outcome, or short-term pain for long-term gain. So as you can tell, the “Asses possible options and outcomes” action step is critical in the midst of crisis. Determine this, and begin to see your way out.

Using the best information available to you, identify and consider what options you can act on:

Option A ___________________________ Outcome __________________________________

Option B ___________________________ Outcome __________________________________

Option C ___________________________ Outcome __________________________________

Take the time now to assess your current situation or what might be poised to surprise you in the near future. And know that no matter what, you do have options. Begin cultivating your own Overcome Mindset with this series. (Or get my help getting straight to all of it with my Pointman for Life program, Pointman Planner or 72 Hours to Peak Performance or How to Build the Overcome Mindset online courses.) Then return for the next article, on the REACT Methodology’s “C” strategy, for how to quickly, effectively and decisively communicate to your support team.

Until then …

“Lead Always and Overcome All,”

Jason Redman

Since retiring in 2013 from my 21-year U.S. Navy SEAL career, I’ve made it my mission to transfer my military leadership training, experience and skills to helping individuals and organizations to lead and launch themselves and their teams to elite performance. I accomplish this through an array of speaking topics, courses, books and coaching programs I’ve developed based largely upon proven SEAL and special-operations mission-centric and leadership techniques.

How can I be of service to you or your organization?

For information about my speaking offerings, visit www.jasonredman.com

Nearly all the topics covered in this series are also currently or soon-to-be available in an array of coaching programs, online courses and books, including bestsellers “The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader” and “Overcome: Crush Adversity With the Leadership Techniques of America’s Toughest Warriors.” Visit: www.getoffx.com

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