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How to be far less flappable

[ 0 ] June 30, 2017 |

You know how some people can change your mood, just by being around them? Some people spread happiness like grass seed. On the other hand, you might be feeling fine until you run into Mr. Pit of Despair. If you’re not careful, you can absorb his mood and feel like you’re wading through tar for hours afterward.

My friend’s mom is like that, only with her it’s anger. She’s had a several major losses in the past few years, and her response is always the same: fury.

unflappable seagull at Niagara Falls

“Canada 2011” by ohhenry415 on Flicker. CC BY-SA 2.0

My friend was visiting her mom. She had her two young daughters with her, and she noticed that they were picking up the anger. Soon everyone in the house was in a rage about every tiny thing that happened.

Isn’t it amazing how often this happens, and we don’t know what to do about it? A lot of times, we don’t even consciously realize what’s happening. All we know is we feel awful. What’s worse, it feels like we’re at the mercy of these feelings, and we never know when they might ambush us next.

I certainly felt that way for most of my life. A few years ago, if you had asked me what I wanted most, I would have told you: to be far less flappable. Not totally unflappable—I’m a feeling person, and I wouldn’t want to give that up completely. I just wanted to be less flappable. I knew I was wasting a ton of time and energy feeling awful, and I wanted a way out.

If you think about it, the ability to control your responses to people and circumstances is a superpower.

If people and situations no longer have the power to throw you into rage, pain, or despair, then you are powerful indeed.

When my friend was telling me about her kids raging around like their grandmother, I realized: I rarely react that way any more. Sure, I still get upset sometimes. (I’m not much of a rager; for me, it’s mostly irrational despair.) But I experience far less of that than ever before, and even when it does happen, I can shift myself out of it in minutes instead of days or weeks. I got my wish: I’m far less flappable.

How does it work? In my experience, it boils down to three parts:

  1. Understanding yourself and your default reactions
  2. Noticing when you’re triggered
  3. Consciously deciding how you want to show up (shifting away from your default if necessary)

The third part is the most mysterious to most people. Let’s say you’re around my friend’s mother. If you’re not consciously choosing how you want to be, most likely you’ll pick up her anger and start responding angrily, too. But if you notice that you’re feeling angry and that’s not really what you want, you can make a conscious choice to shift yourself to a more positive, more powerful state.

For example, my friend knows how her kids react by default, and she noticed that they were being triggered into anger during their visit. Once she listened to their concerns, she could have pointed out that everyone was catching their grandmother’s anger, and they didn’t have to—inviting them to make a conscious choice. And then, she could have helped them shift.

How would she help them shift? In this case, the simplest approach would be to ask questions like, “What do you really want?” and help them find ways to get parts of that, even if they can’t have exactly what they asked for.

You can do the same thing for yourself. For example, if I answer “What do you want?” with “a week alone in a cabin in the woods,” I may find that what I really want is a little rest and solitude, and a nap will get me many of the same benefits. I decide to take a nap, and I feel a lot better.

Notice that it’s not really the nap or the vacation that makes me feel better.

It’s changing the focus of my thoughts and reclaiming my power over my life and feelings.

This is just one example, and you can learn to do it for yourself. It’s possible to shift yourself out of despair, fear, sadness, apathy, anger, or even resignation, and move up to generosity, possibility, wonder, creativity, or absolute passion. The specific angle you take depends on where you are and what you want to shift to, but the model is the same.

It gets faster and easier to control with practice. That’s the journey I’ve been on for the past year, although I had no idea I’d end up here when I started out.

If you’re interested, I’d love to offer you the same kickoff process I went through, in a package called the Transformation Starter. The first part is a one-of-a-kind assessment that offers a window into your perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, so you can deeply understand yourself and your default reactions. It’s done online, and it takes less than 20 minutes.

Once you take the assessment, we’ll get on the phone and do a deep dive about your results, what they mean for you, and how to get the most out of what you’ve learned. If you want more support moving forward, we can talk about that, too.

When I started working with my coach almost a year ago, we began with this process and it blew me away. It showed me so much about myself that I hadn’t been aware of before, even after years of self-examination and personal development. This deeper understanding of myself and my default reactions became the key to the massive transformation that followed. It wasn’t just about becoming less flappable. What I learned gave me the tools to choose how I was showing up in every area of my life. That has changed everything.

I want to offer you the same opportunity; that’s why I’ve created the Transformation Starter package. After this week, the price will be $250, but in celebration of this new offering, you can save $160 and get the package for only $90 when you use the discount code JULY4.

To get it, click the button below. Then enter the discount code JULY4, click “Update Cart,” and check out.

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Love and peace,

About Cara Stein: I'm a Breakthrough Coach and Creative Director On Demand. I'm also an idealist who has stopped trying to play it cool. I offer alignment, clarity, and unshakeable belief in yourself—and then I help you bring your vision to life with great sales copy and graphic design.

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