“The safest place in a bad storm is the hard truth”.
Admiral Stockdale

(NOTE: A second Polarity Map from our Public Library of Polarity Maps, appears at the end of this Cliff’sNOTE. It’s based on the Stockdale Paradox from Jim Collins, book Good-to-Great.)

I was inspired to create the Polarity Map below after a fantastic session of the DC Neuroleadership Group breakfast that Wendy Swire and Tamara Hamilton sponsored this morning.

The Two Poles of the Polarity:
Eustress/Challenge AND Eustress/Opportunity
(BTW: “Eustress” is the good kind of stress. It keeps us on our toes. It makes us more aware of and sensitive to our surroundings.)

Greater Purpose Statement for Leveraging Eustress (top of the Polarity Map)
This is when you’re rocking it = “Stress Success — Learning and Growth in the NOW!” 
(i.e., You’re doing both Eustress Challenge + Opportunity really well. GO YOU!)

Deeper Fear (bottom of the Polarity Map)
When Challenge AND/OR Opportunity get taken to extremes — becoming Pollyanish and/or Distressful. (i.e., These lead to being “Overtaken by Circumstances” and it’s just, YUK…And, it happens.  Below might help if you’re there.)

TWO BIG Questions for You:
Question 1) What Early Warnings can clue you in that you you’re getting into Pollyanish or Distressful territories? (i.e., See lower two quadrants. If you can track those to make sure they don’t happen for too long – You’re GOLDEN!)

Question 2) What are your Action Steps that will help you gain or maintain the benefits of both poles?

A few high-leverage Action Steps and Information, below, may help…(these are Action Steps that work for BOTH poles of this polarity):

#1– Slipping into one or both of the downside quadrants is easy to doso, try forgiving yourself and others when it happens.

#2– The best time to be aware of your Challenge and Opportunities is “now” — being present in the now…It’s not easy, but it is effective. 

Flipping between POLLYANISH and DISTRESSFUL (See downside quadrants) is a “binging-and-purging” between lower quadrant dysfunctions. This isn’t what you want, so that’s why the invitation for Early Warnings are important (Question … Remember the simple polarity of Inhale and Exhale — it’s there for us and that’s a good thing, yeah — we’re alive! LOL  😉

And, staying in one or the other or both downsides won’t work sustainably over time. In fact, both downsides together over time pretty much guarantee suffering health-wise, be it — emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health suffering. You need Early Warnings that are earlier…

#3Your body doesn’t differentiate between big or small stresses.

The effect is the same. What’s worst is the accumulation of stress that comes from normalizing the downside dysfunctions of all stress — that creates impairment, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Again — Early Warning Signs! Don’t wait or overtolerate!

#4Hello? Did you forget? — you’re AMAZING!!  You know it…I do, too. You’ve done this before–managed hard times — right? You have more control and influence than you think — or maybe it’s time to think about the control and influence you do have?

Still experiencing downsides? Alrighty, that’s OK…. Downsides don’t have to last forever… And, here’s an invitation for you if you’re stuck…Stay there for a bit — explore the sadness, madness, etc. — but set a time limit for yourself about how long you’re going to allow yourself to stay in one (or both) downsides. If you stay stuck too long – you get into what’s called “learned helplessness” (not OK). When the “time’s up” alarm goes off — take a big long inhale and exhale and BUCK-UP buckaroo –and get the “H” out of there…  😉

#5Still need support? Involve others. Get a coach, a good friend or family member. Or, in a worst-case, therapist. Bottom line, don’t try to go it alone.

#6 — Lastly, some uninvited tough love … stress can’t be “out-smarted” or “out-kinded.” It’s not enough to be smart or kind to yourself and others when stress knocks at the door — you need both to address “Cortical inhibition” (experts call it that, not me). Basically, it’s when you’re not functioning at your best and it’s often behind lots of not-so-smart or not-so-kind decisions that end up gut-punching you mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually or in a worst-case — all of the above. *For  more on those as a “multarity” — HERE YOU GO!)



The Polarity Map is a Registered Trademark of Barry Johnson and Polarity Partnerships, LLC. Commercial Use is Encouraged with permission.