By Obi James, CPCC, ORSC
We all get triggered. The difference between one successful professional and another can lie simply in the way they deal with pressure and their ability to stay cool when triggered. According to George Bernard Shaw, “Self-control is the quality that distinguishes the fittest to survive.” This is particularly true in the corporate world.
Neuroscience helps us appreciate exactly what’s going on in our brain when we get triggered. With this knowledge, we are able to find ways to help us stay cool in these stressful situations.
Let’s take some time to explore being triggered. One of the key areas we help our clients explore as part of our leadership development coaching program is their values. Values represent those things that are important to you. People have different core values and just as companies take time to (or at least, should) identify their values, so should individuals. Values explain why one person loves their job and someone else in the same role hates it. When our values are aligned to the work we do, we experience job satisfaction and fulfillment. On the other hand, when our values are stepped on – be it in the workplace, by our partners or by our children, we lose our cool. We get triggered.
What’s Happening In Our Brain When We Get Triggered?
Our amygdala, part of our limbic system plays a key role in processing emotions, identifying threats and activating the well-known ‘fight or flight’ response. This leads to the release of various chemicals that result in the biological responses we recognize such as increased heart rate, feeling flushed and tense etc.