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A Campaign for Perspective: 3 Lessons Learned During This Election Cycle

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A Campaign for Perspective: 3 Lessons Learned During This Election Cycle

Election Day. The day we’ve been waited for so it can all just ‘be over’. But here’s the thing. It isn’t going to just be over. The resulting energetic redirection of our nation has brought us to a new reptilian brain high, which translates devastatingly to an Emotional Intelligence low.

I now have another familiar and relatable scenario with which to illustrate an amygdala hijack. It took place at a dinner when two smart, rational people who admire each other had to be held down in their seats as they argued fiercely for their candidate. Most notable was that they were talking so loudly and passionately that they couldn’t listen to each other. It was the embodiment of a mental hijack, which implies the prefrontal cortex is disengaged.  

That episode will be illustrated in our upcoming DRIVEN workshops as we train professionals to master one of their greatest career challenges. As the corporate proverb goes, “Self-Regulation is the Jedi mind trick of Corporate America”. But besides the gained illustrative tool, I’ve also learned three big lessons about the ‘real world’:

Gossip is truly toxic. 

The first presidential debates left me exhausted and depressed. I felt myself being pulled down into a big black hole as the candidates tore at each other’s character and flung half-truths and blatant lies with vengeance. Where this type of display was exhilarating at the time, I found the aftermath mentally agonizing, leaving me hung over from the negativity. This type of talk is a form of gossip, from the candidates’ mouths, amongst family, friends and colleagues in the following days, and even on my beloved public radio station. My solution? I tuned out before the third debate. Taking it one step farther, I have remained election news ‘lite’ since then. This left me prepared to see the realities of human nature more clearly, because my catabolic energy has settled. Reason comes in the absence of exhilaration, which brings me to the 2nd lesson.

Compassion is the gateway to empowerment and wisdom. 

This lesson is provided compliments of Steve Almond from Dear Sugar Radio. In the October 28th episode, Steve’s wisdom helped me gain perspective from another woman’s eyes and logically conjure from the subject’s history why she would support a candidate who makes many people’s skin crawl. Misogyny, bigotry, fear-mongering and narcissism may ooze from the candidate’s pores, but as Steve frames it, the woman in question may see this candidate as successful like her husband and believes a successful business man would be good for the country or perhaps echo’s of her father who was a powerful figure in her life. Understanding an opposing perspective in this manner doesn’t equate to endorsing the other person’s outlook; rather, it’s using compassion to surmount the ignorance associated with blind criticism.

Women truly do have to live up to a different standard to succeed. 

Okay, this isn’t news to me or anyone else. Today’s gender biases, which have been perpetuated for centuries, just serve to magnify our deeply-imbedded instincts. BUT, thanks to the logic and promise of neuroplasticity, I’m stimulated to continue providing tools for companies and individuals to manage and thrive in the modern workplace. This means helping women AND men become mindful of our implicit biases, allowing for individuals to hone business skills for maximum impact.

I’m still glad that the election will be shortly behind us. My eyes are wide open to the reality of new challenges to manage. I’m grateful that I’ve given my brain and emotional energy a chance to refresh. My hope is that my fellow evolved Americans can do the same and treat each other with compassion and a desire for understanding during the transition of office. 

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