What Are Your Triggers? More Importantly, What is Your Response?
They’re the things that set us off, and the things that we know, probably from repeated experience, will threaten to set our days, our agendas, and our emotions off the rails.
Do you know what your triggers are?
And, more importantly, do you know what you do in response, when you recognize that those triggers are happening?
Trigger, response. Same trigger, different response. Different trigger, different response.
That’s what’s on our mind this week at ABG: the triggers in our professional lives that threaten to upset our balance, like the frustration of dealing with a challenging co-worker, or anxiety over a big presentation, or the stress from the burden of a heavy workload, or multiple late-night events that disrupt our sleep, eating and exercise routines.
How do we deal with those triggers? They happen. They’re a reality of our lives. So what’s the best way to manage them?
Let me tell you a story.
Last weekend I was triggered. Like, in a big way. I’d just learned something about my business that was very unsettling, which is another way of saying I felt threatened, which is another way of saying I was afraid.
Fear was the trigger.
My adrenaline kicked in immediately and with a rush, as it’s naturally meant to do as a response to fear. I thought I’d “work it out” by going for a bike ride but that only added the adrenaline of hard exercise on top of the adrenaline of fear, effectively compounding the problem. Now not only was I triggered emotionally, but my heart and breath were racing from the physical exertion as well.
I parked my bike and tried a different response. I approached my husband (bless his heart), who is also my mentor in the business, and asked him for a few minutes of his undivided attention. He was working in the yard and needed a minute to finish what he was doing. I paced the driveway in the meantime, hands on my hips, breathing heavy, looking down at the ground.
“Let’s go inside,” he said. I followed him. It was cooler there. We sat down. We looked at each other for a few moments. “Tell me,” he said. I did. I vented. Eventually… I assessed. (That was the turning point.) I identified mistakes. He listened, and asked questions. Together we hatched a plan for what to do next.
Here’s the thing. The trigger didn’t go away after that conversation. It’s still there. It’s still unsettling, and it still needs to be addressed. But the adrenaline of it has died down, which creates space and energy for a rational, considered response.
So a whole lot of things happened here, both in terms of trigger/response and in terms of strategies to be mindful in a difficult situation: body scan, compassionate listening, and breath awareness, to name a few.
What to hear the irony? Earlier that week I’d spent two days in Washington DC at a Google-initiated training called Search Inside Yourself, where we learned the neurobiology of mindfulness and all the ways to put it into practice. Even so (even so!), I experienced the whole gamut of trigger/response, bloody guts and all.
So what’s the takeaway?
Being mindful doesn’t exempt you from being triggered.
I think the differentiator is in the response: in awareness, that is, in reading the situation, and in processing the adrenaline of the trigger.
There’s the state of mindfulness you’re in when you’re triggered. There’s the imbalance of the adrenaline of the trigger. And there’s the practice of a mindful response.
Does that make sense?
What are your triggers? And, more importantly, what are your responses to them?
We’d love to hear. In fact, your sharing your triggers/responses in confidence will help us with our session on exactly this topic ("Old Triggers, New Responses") that's part of our first ABG conference in Brooklyn, New York on September 12. Click here to register your interest.
Meet the Tribe!
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Melanie Young, Host The Connected Table Live & Fearless Fabulous You (both iHeart)
Years in Industry: 28
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
My biggest challenge now is not letting any stress get to me and making sure I keep everything in balance to stay healthy. My tipping point was being diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in 2009 after living on a steady diet of stress and unhealthy eating for most of my life. After more than a year of living chemically and surgically I decided I did not want to revisit Cancerland again. There are too many other places I’d like to be free to visit and enjoy in good health.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
I eat a vegetable-focused diet and cook more meals at home (well, David does the cooking!). I really don’t take many supplements. Just Vitamin D3. I think the right nutrient-dense diet will suffice, provided you stick to it and do not skip meals. We both try to take daily walks and practice yoga. I am convinced daily exercise, even a 30-45- minute brisk walk, makes a world of difference. And I am passionate about getting plenty of sleep. Usually seven hours is fine. As for wine, I ask for spit cups even at the best lunches and dinners. I drink at least one glass of water for every glass of wine. And, I have ‘dry days’ where I just drink water and herbal teas, especially when I am prepping for a press trip.
Regarding stress: If something is eating at me, I reframe the situation and let things go. I have walked away from many stressful situations that I felt were toxic, even if it meant giving up a large project. I find writing my blog very relaxing.
I believe staying health is not only managing what you eat but also managing what is eating at you. The healthiest diet and lifestyle in the world will simply not work if your stress hormones are choking you.
This Week's Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
What is Imposter Syndrome? - Scientific American
"Can’t take a compliment? Feel like a fake? Convinced you’ll be unmasked at any moment? Welcome to the secret circle of high achievers suffering from Impostor Syndrome."
Study Finds Drinkers Have Different Mouth Bacteria Than Nondrinkers – Wine Spectator
"When it comes to having a healthy smile, most wine drinkers are concerned with what wine does to their teeth. But a recent study on alcohol and oral health has focused attention down to a microscopic level."
Let's Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! page.
Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines, in Champagne, France, July 5 to 7 (Cathy)
Australia Decanted event in Lake Tahoe, CA July 22 to 26 (Cathy)
Bâtonnage Forum in Napa, CA July 28 (Cathy and Rebecca)
TexSOM Conference in Las Colinas, TX August 11 to 13 (Rebecca)
Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference in Cape Town, October 17 (Cathy)