Learning to RISE from falls and setbacks

Learning to Rise is a process described by Brené Brown about getting up from our falls, mistakes, and facing hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and learning into our lives.

“When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending. When we don’t own our stories of failures, setbacks and hurt, they own us.”

We are emotional beings when something hard happen to us, emotion drives us. Those who learnt how to rise, immediately recognize when they are emotionally hooked by something. And they get curious about it.

If we don’t learn how to consciously apply this process we end up offloading our emotions onto others. This is especially important learning for leaders, not only for the sake of their people but for the sake of their own well-being.

There are 6 most common offloading strategies:

  1. Chandeliering – We think we packed the hurt so far down that it cannot possible resurface, yet all of a sudden something or someone triggers and we react harshly. For example a leader might maintain his stoicism and calmness in front of the customers or other people he wants to impress or influence, but the second he is around people over whom he has emotional, financial or physical power, he explodes.
  2. Bouncing Hurt – Pain is hard and it is easier to be angry and pissed off than to acknowledge hurt, so our ego intervenes. The ego likes blaming, finding fault, making excuses, lashing out etc. These are all forms of self-protection. The ego is also fan of avoidance, assuring us we are fine, pretending that it doesn’t matter, we adopt an attitude of indifference or we deflect, belittle with humour or cynicism. For example Whatever, Who cares? None of this matters anyway. I don’t give a damn.
  3. Numbing Hurt – We all numb. We all have different numbing choices like food, work, social media, shopping, television, video games, porn, and drinks. When we chronically and compulsively turn to these, it is addiction. We cannot selectively numb emotion. If we numb the dark, we numb the light. If we numb sadness, hurt, shame, we numb joy, love, belonging and happiness as well.
  4. Stockpiling Hurt – This is a quiet, insidious alternative by firmly packing down the pain, hurt instead of unleashing it on another person, we just continue to pile hurt until our body decides that enough is enough. The body’s message is always clear: Shut down the stockpiling or I will shut you down. I personally know this very well.
  5. The Umbridge – This is one of the most difficult offloading strategy to experience. Masking real pain and hurt by showing always cheerful and positive face to everyone and everything is counterintuitive. Because we don’t trust people who don’t struggle, who don’t have bad days or hard time. We also don’t develop real connection with people we don’t find relatable. That is why personal disclosure of self-struggles is a fundamental part of building trust with others.
  6. Hurt and Fear of High-Centering – One of the reasons we deny our feelings, the fear of getting emotionally high-centered – that is, getting stuck in a way that makes it difficult to go forward or backward. Recognizing emotion leads to feeling emotion. What if I recognize emotion and it drives out something which I cannot control? I don’t want to cry at work, they may label me mentally unstable. Getting high-centered can be the worst because we feel a total loss of control. We feel powerless. And it cannot happen in the corporate world especially if you are a leader.

So ask yourself:

  • Do I do any of these?
  • How does it feel to be on the receiving end of any of these?

The most effective strategy for staying with emotion instead of offloading it is a tactical breathing technique.

  1. Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your stomach, for a count of four.
  2. Hold in that breath for a count of four.
  3. Slowly exhale all the air through your mouth, contracting your stomach, for a count of four.
  4. Hold the empty breath for a count of four.

In short: In for four, Hold for four, Out for four, Hold for four.

By this exercise you are not only practicing calmness, but creating perspective and mindfulness while managing your emotional reactivity. Try it!

Source: Dear to Lead: Brave work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown

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