Fight - Even When You Want Flight
Sunday morning, I woke up to watch the Arsenal-Spurs game, famously known as the North London Derby. It’s a game where form goes out the window and these two arch-rivals go all out for bragging rights as to who is the best team in North London.
It’s a game that hasn’t gone our way in recent years and as I anticipated the stress and emotional rollercoaster I would go through over the next couple of hours, I debated staying in bed and waking up when it was all over. To just not have to deal with it all.
But then I considered what commitment is all about. What it means to support your team, your cause, especially when you’ve done it since the age of 9.
So, I changed my mindset. From one of concern and, if I’m honest, a little bit of dread, to one of anticipation, positivity and belief. I committed to be part of the experience and deal with the emotions, regardless of the outcome.
All this for a scenario where my “work” was to simply to sit in front of a television! (Yes, I’m aware of the silliness of the preceding words, though true soccer fans will understand…)
Which got me thinking about how we respond in far more serious, far more involved situations. When we’re taking on a significant role, initiative or project.
Because there’s a real tension every time we take on a big project. The bigger the initiative, the more tension we feel.
Of course, it’s a natural thing. Our bodies exhibit a stress response, releasing stress hormones including adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. This results in a host of physiological changes that prepare us for the situation at hand. For how we will respond.
Fight or flight. Those are our choices.
And, let’s be clear, it is a choice.
Are we going to bury our head in the sand and just hope it’ll pass by us, that maybe it’ll be over before we know it?
Or do we want to own it and get focused on managing the outcome as much as we possibly can, regardless of the result (knowing it may not go our way)?
There has to be only one option.
Grab the bull by the horns. Tackle it head on. Carpe Diem. Use whatever cliche you’d like.
We have no choice but to take it on. To try and control, to manage the situation. To try and sway the path towards as positive a response as possible.
In doing so, we just need to recognize that that tension, that knot in the stomach, that sensation is two sides of the same coin.
And that we need to focus on the positive, on our ability to do what’s needed to get us where we need to go.
Of course it’s ok to be nervous. But it’s not ok to capitulate.
Go towards it. Prepare yourself for the battle. Ready yourself to get through to the other side.
Because there, on the other side, is respect, resilience and, sometimes, redemption.
(P.S. Arsenal came from behind to win 4-2. North London is, and always will red!)