Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.
I wake up in the morning, slide out from my bed, placing my feet firmly on the floor before taking the first groggy steps toward the bathroom. Without a power button pushed, my conscious (the little voice in my head, the same one that is reading this to myself as I write it) comes to life.
My brain begins to try to simultaneously understand the remaining pieces of last night’s dream while looking forward to what this new day will bring. I stare into the mirror as I brush my teeth. I pause to claim a few wins before trying to remember what my calendar looks like.
The morning is off to a free and easy start.
Between curling my hair and applying some make-up I walk over to where my phone lays on the nightstand. I press the home button to reveal a message.
Hmm… I don’t want this message.
Without even being aware of it at the time, the sight of the message triggers a button being pushed in me. My little voice goes into action, instant frustration takes over followed quickly by resentment.
There goes that free and easy start.
Feeling defensive, responsibility falls to the way side and instead of erasing the message and continuing on with my morning I choose to respond. By choosing to respond I create another opportunity for a button to be pushed.
As we go about our days we are in many ways similar to a computer. The whole time we are “on” there is an unseen program running in the background. We have the option to intentionally push buttons to turn on programs and get an outcome we desire. Our lids open just like a computer to awaken our operating system. We go through the day encountering different things and in turn intentionally select different programs we have neatly stored away to help us through each situation.
All of this happens without anyone seeing anything and without a single word being said. It all happens in my internal (sometimes unconscious) operating system.
The sight of the message that upset me was an opportunity for me to either choose to be upset and let the button be pushed or not. To be extra clear, I had to first create the button and then allow for it to be pushed. There is no blame here; I am choosing to feel this way.
The key, in my opinion, is to become aware of what “buttons” we each have and learn how to turn them off. I cannot be upset by something unless I allow it to upset me. In other words someone cannot trigger (push) one of my buttons unless I first created the button and then allowed it to be pushed.
I have come to the conclusion that a lot of these buttons are created and even triggered by that unseen program running in the background (my subconscious). How much freer would I be if I could re-program myself to just turn off the buttons?
This journey has helped me become highly self-aware and has improved my ability to trust myself, which has almost entirely taken away my knee-jerk “shame” response.
Who is to say that the next part of this journey couldn’t lead to better control over my background operating system? Eliminating the buttons all together and therefore avoiding (as often as possible) the mental states of blame and obligation.
I am the only one who can say where my journey is going to take me.
You are the only person who can determine where your journey will take you.
Here is my intention and my commitment to practice for this week: When I am faced with something that would normally trigger a button in me, I am going to choose to turn it off instead. I will not allow the upset in the first place.
What buttons can you turn off today?
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.
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