What sets you off? Frustrates you? Clouds your vision so much that what you know you should do goes out the window and subconscious reactions kick in?
We all have triggers and they bring out the worst in us at work because triggers are the things that make us feel ignored. Undervalued. Unappreciated. Sometimes they go deeper and hit at our core, and then we feel shame, worthlessness, guilt.
Naming our triggers is critical to professional growth.
I know mine. It's taken years to figure them out + be humble enough to accept that this is who I am and these triggers have an impact on how I behave. They are:
- Being excluded from a decision
- Having my intelligence challenged
- Feeling left out
By knowing our triggers, we can shut off negative responses at the source, because we're able to label exactly what is wrong. Instead of snapping at someone or ignoring them (my two most common reactions when I am triggered), when I feel the urge to behave that way, I take a few seconds to identify WHY.
And the answer is always that I've been triggered.
Which usually means I'm feeling that someone isn't listening to me or respecting my intelligence, but sometimes I have to admit that I'm feeling left out and want to take it out on the other person.
The danger is that most people don't know (or won't accept) their triggers.
I see it daily, and here's what it looks like:
- Shutting down in a meeting, refusing to say anything else because the group isn't listening
- Pushing for ideas too hard and purposely causing friction and calling others out in order to not be seen as the one who messed up
- Not answering emails on purpose because of the fear that the answer is wrong
- Interrupting and challenging everyone in a meeting because that's equated with being the smartest or most important
Understanding your triggers takes a combination of maturity and humility. And it starts with this question: What are my self-doubts? When do I feel at my lowest?
Another indicator is your personality style. I love the DISC assessment, because it's easy to interpret and put into action. And knowing what quadrant you're in gives insight into the behaviors that could set you off (so if you're struggling to peel away the layers of your personality and the baggage of life because it feels too scary, start with DISC).
Self-awareness is critical to professional growth. It's also critical to keeping yourself from flying off the handle andbeing a jerk and calling your boss a crazy person in the next team meeting. Because I can guarantee that won't help you grow professionally either.
Tess Ausman is the founder of CLT Leads, LLC, a virtual leadership development company that transforms overachieving young professionals into confident, self-aware leaders. She is passionate about the soft skills that it takes to grow a career: self-awareness, empathy, and a healthy dose of humilty. Check her out at www.instagram.com/thecltleads too.