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Everything Goes Through Neutral

Everything Goes Through Neutral

I was talking with a client a few days ago who shared with me what a challenging time this has been for her. Like many of us, she’s dealing with additional responsibilities at home as a result of her kids schedules, plans being blown up–because of the pandemic. She faces additional responsibilities at work related to managing virtual team and addressing her clients crises. And perhaps most impact we, she is faced with additional higher levels of stress and disorientation because of the result of feeling more limited and home bound, separated from physically separated from her support systems and deprived normal, healthy human physical contact.

The currents of these stressors are very strong, and it’s easy for any of us to be swept up in them and feel untethered and at times overwhelmed.

And each of us has the ability to assess where we are in the present moment. What do we need? What would help us feel better, feel more grounded at this time? Oftenit’s as simple as taking a few deep breath‘s, drinking some water, stepping outside for a few moments, or texting a friend (or simply looking at old text messages) just so we can feel the encouragement support of friends.

And with regard to our work, there’s great practical application

Let’s consider that our attention is our most precious resource, whether we are writing code, grading papers, or managing multinational enterprise. To what are we giving our attention, our time, our brain power, our experience? Is that attention being given purposefully, or are we (understandably) swept up in a crisis or apparent crisis, dealing with which urgent although not necessarily important?

Everything goes through neutral. But are we aware of it? Or we can just enough to recognize the opportunity we have to choose the right gear, the right level of RPMs/energy?

Every time we turn our attention to an email, a file, or an approach in conversation, we choose (Unconsciously often unconsciously) how we will participate. How much time, focus, and personal bandwidth will be put on this task? What gear are we choosing? And how much are we revving our engine?

Of course, the nature of our relationships, personality styles, and other factors play a significant part in how we experience the interaction. But the choice of how we engage is up to us, because, if we pay attention, we know that everything goes through neutral.

On every practical level, it’s important for each of us to understand what our “neutral“ looks like it feels like. For some of us, it’s taking a deep breath, or simply looking away from the list of tasks or emails to reset our perspective. Some of us will go for a quick walk, take a sip of water, meditate for even a few minutes, or – and I think this is a great one – just simply pause for 5 to 10 seconds before acting. there are many ways we can do this; the important thing is that we do it. We direct the response.

I’ve heard it said that one attribute effective leader ship is responding, not reacting. I think that connect well to this concept of going through neutral. And I encourage you to keep this in mind the next time you were approached by that difficult client, project from hell, or non-responsive team member.


As always, I welcome your feedback, and would welcome the opportunity to learn from your experience