Jason Redman standing in front of wall explains how to recognize your reality as leaders

Leadership and Change Management in Business | Part 2: Recognizing Your Reality

In Part 1 of this series, I addressed the importance of resiliency and the Overcome Mindset in the face of change and adversity. I briefly referred to what I call life ambushes, which I define as any attack, incident, crisis or catastrophic event that disrupts your life — personal or professional. And we left off touching on Pointman Principle #4’s REACT Methodology, a simple but highly effective model for rapidly moving away from crisis and on to “moving the needle” forward in the ongoing mission.

On the battlefield, good military point men do constant risk analysis as they walk their course, always attuned to the indicators of threat and using them to avoid ambushes by either altering their course or being ready for those they cannot avoid.

As leaders in business, we, too, must be able to assess a current or potential crisis and develop a plan to move safely through or away from that point of adversity as quickly as possible.

Identifying the threat of an ambush in advance is a critical part of that aim. If we recognize indicators in advance, we can make immediate course corrections to avoid or lessen the impact and stay the course of our current mission.

But advance warning is not always available. So if you find yourself already “under attack,” your new, interim mission must become to survive and overcome the ambush and, as we say in special-ops, “Get off the X!”

In other words …

We must R.E.A.C.T. to Overcome.

When people first step into an ambush they are typically caught off-guard and may “react” in any number of ways, usually by way of habit, longstanding pattern or some other default. And not all habits, patterns and defaults are healthy and productive. It’s not uncommon for people to ignore reality, stick their heads in the sand, self-medicate to numb the pain, pray for the situation to go away, procrastinate the problem or spend lots of time looking for someone or something to blame.

But to survive and actually thrive, we must be more intentional, and even practiced for how to “react” when we most need to count on our default mode being solid. 

In the SEALs, training to be prepared for ambushes and adverse events required us to have a plan ahead of time that we were ready to discuss and implement quickly in the event of an attack. We called these immediate action drills. I have created an immediate action drill for life ambushes called the REACT Methodology. When a life ambush strikes, it’s time to immediately REACT!

If you are currently in a life ambush, whether an ambush of the mind or a full-blown major life ambush, use my REACT Methodology to assess the ambush and have a plan to move forward from it. Your first step: R = Recognition.

Recognize Your Reality

To REACT, you first have to recognize the reality that you’re in an ambush. It’s only through admitting the severity of your circumstances that you can begin to move forward. Recognition jolts you out of shock and denial, and it can bring clarity to the signs leading up to the ambush that you either chose to ignore or just flat out missed. By recognizing, you stop focusing on your own pain and misery and start watching things happening around you. Most importantly, you get honest about your current circumstances.

Are you currently in an ambush?

Rarely do life ambushes attack without warning. Most give signs or clues that we are entering a danger zone. There are exceptions, but even then often there were signs or indicators that we later realize we failed to heed. The problem arises when we walk blindly through life and miss, ignore or deny the indicators. (In my Pointman for Life programs, Pointman Planner and 72 Hours to Peak Performance online course, I provide assessments and instructions for analyzing these indicators and identifying life ambushes.)

I break life ambushes down into three categories to reflect their severity and effects:

Micro ambush – These are ambushes of the mind and can seem inconsequential, yet they are most insidious. For example: That little voice inside your head that continuously chants your so-called shortcomings and evokes self-doubt; or false, negative beliefs imposed upon you by others about yourself, your potential or your own life. You’re on the X in your own mind.

Mini ambush – These represent disruptions to our short-term objectives, including what we are trying to accomplish in the moment. They’re nothing catastrophic — your car breaks down en route to a meeting; your boss schedules you to work when you had planned a family outing, etc. — yet they can pull us down if we allow the negativity to affect our mindset, productivity and interpersonal interactions. 

Major ambush – These are the most potentially devastating or even deadly catastrophic events. They leave physical, mental, deep financial and/or emotional scars. For instance: an enemy ambush on a battlefield; the loss of a business and all the resources invested; the death of a loved one; a profound illness, injury or trauma. Major ambushes are life-changing events. But that doesn’t mean they’re life-destroying.

Being prepared to handle any life ambush to the best of your ability will be the key to overcoming. So take time in the days ahead to assess your own situation. Recognize your reality: Are you currently in or heading into a life ambush in your personal or professional life? Think about it, write your own notes about it, then return to my next post on my REACT Methodology’s “E” strategy for what to do about it. 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 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 available or in development in an array of coaching programs, online courses and books. For all of this plus great merchandise, visit: www.getoffx.com

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