When we are faced with a ‘fight or flight’ situation it can be very easy to choose the latter. By fleeing, we can avoid pain, losing face or feeling exposed. Whatever the danger, choosing flight over fight allows us the opportunity to fight another day.
Or does it?
What happens when we keep fleeing? Does it keep us safe or does it actually make us weaker? Does fleeing start to become a dangerous habit?
Recently, I was faced with this choice. I had been asked to run two sessions at a Careers Fair. The sessions were on topics that I know well, feel confident discussing and feel extremely passionate about. However, after only 2mins into the first presentation I realised that I was not connecting with my audience. To make matters worse, I didn’t have any PowerPoint slides to fall back on since I had designed a session that relied heavily on contributions from the audience. After 15mins, I started to appreciate how a comedian feels when they have told their best jokes to a stony-faced crowd.
There I was, in an events hall with a microphone clasped in my hand and a number of faces staring back at me. It was at that point that the ‘fight or flight’ reflex kicked in…
Rather like an episode of “Peep Show”, you suddenly become very aware of your internal monologue and sometimes the suggestions from this voice are not always helpful. But then something happens if you can just stand firm and get a grip. In that moment, you realise that what you do next will define something very important about you. So, I made the decision to fight, to carry on and to give my very best.
What’s the result of making such a decision? You realise something very valuable about yourself. You realise that the limit of what you think you can cope with is simply untrue. You realise that you are able to access strength and courage from somewhere deep inside you. You also realise that each time you make the decision to stand firm this courage becomes stronger.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Simple but very true.