Sometimes you might experience what Daniel Goldman calls an “Amygdala Hijacking”. Your amygdala is the part of your brain that is linked to emotions and aggression and controls fear responses and the secretion of hormones. It’s “hijacked” when you experience an emotional response that is immediate and overwhelming and that part of your brain basically takes over. It happens to us more than you might think and could be at the root of some outcomes we don’t intend. Learn more here:
WATCH THIS: Loved this 4-minute video that explains what happens during an Amygdala hijacking. We perceive a threat and we go right into fight, flight, or freeze mode to protect ourselves. It sometimes could take hours for us to regain our full intellectual capacity. Important to know for us but also explains what might be happening to our team members or clients sometimes.
READ THIS: Article from Psychology Today that outlines how leaders are affected when their amygdala takes over. Turns out your IQ actually goes down and the options that you see to solve the problem you are presented with decrease as well. Any strong emotion, anxiety, anger, joy or betrayal tips off the amygdala and impairs the prefrontal cortex’s working memory.
TRY THIS: A series of questions designed to reduce the attack (see details about why these questions work in the article above): What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What do I want now? How am I getting in my way? What do I need to do differently now?
I have found that even the best among us experience these hijackings. When stress levels and stakes are high, they can occur more often. I find it most helpful when I am aware that it’s happening so I can reduce the effects they have on the situation I’m dealing with. Your potential to reach the level of leadership you aspire to may depend on your ability to deal with and reduce the occurrence of hijacks.
Only champions read to the bottom of these articles, so YOU are one! Keep learning, keep growing, keep striving to set the example for others you serve. They are counting on you and I know you can reach your potential.