Vigilance – Its a Practice
Vigilance: the “V” in DRIVE
One of the 5 elements of the RedShift DRIVE Self-Awareness and Change Leadership Model, and key to shifting identity, in the mindful/practical dimension is Vigilance.
A while back I talked with 2 women who worked, under incompetent managers in a toxic culture, for the same very large and continually reorganizing financial firm. Both hated their jobs, but although their perspectives on the day to day experience were similar, their feelings were different. One woman was seriously depressed, stressed, anxious and negative. The other was cheerful and easygoing. Those respective feelings reflected how each of them responded to her work situation based on what she believed about her work situation.
One identified with “My job is killing me.” and the other with “I can still find ways to be valuable and feel good about what I do in a rapidly deteriorating work environment.”
Mainstream advice is typically about taking action and changing the external. Get out of there and get another job. That may work out fine but in the example, the woman who believed that her job was killing her would likely find herself repeatedly at the mercy of intolerable workplace conditions because she’s not practiced in realizing that her beliefs shape the experiences that result in her misery, stress and suffering.
Cultivating vigilance chops isn’t difficult when there’s willingness to accept personal and cultural creative power and to have faith that what results is always right, even if its unexpected, not understood or maybe even unpleasant. Its not about putting on a cheerful face when what you’re really feeling is rage at the moron you work for and then responding by spending the rest of the day bad-mouthing the jerk. That’s the kind of response that leads to the dead end that completely inhibits individual, cultural and organizational growth and development.
You develop the vigilance habit through non-resistance to life (including work) experience, wanted and unwanted, moment to moment. When you’re open to it, you receive the incoming feedback you need about going the right way and avoiding dead ends. When you’re open to it your outgoing self-expression is naturally influential and non-toxic, even when it challenges the status quo.
How and when do you start? In any moment in which you want to feel less bad. Allow yourself to be still. Remind yourself that this moment is your point of power. Breathe in the incoming and breathe out the outgoing. Notice the inner shift. Smile, thank yourself and continue on your way.