Outsmarting your inner fox

I wrote recently about the killer words ‘It’s very difficult’ and how our inner fox can convince us that potential opportunities are just too hard to grasp. What you need to know is that foxes are not only good at disguise but they are really persistent too. Sometimes it’s a long game we need to play. Losing a point – when for instance one of your team, or even your boss derails a major project by imparting the wrong information – can lead to you crumbling in despair. This however does not mean that the fox is triumphant and the game is lost.


My all-female executive team client, for example, found they had more power they had previously recognized. Unfortunately, beginning to use it triggered major resistance from the very person they were needing to influence. At our last team coaching session all the old vocabulary around the impossibility of the situation started to re-emerge. We explored together how to keep alive the new collective mindset around power and ease and revisited the power of the subconscious mind. They collectively rehearsed their approach to any new situation to ensure much more of a second nature response.

future quote (1)

Here are some great tips which we used to turn this situation around and outsmart the fox:

  1. Recall the times when you have solved difficult situations in the past. Remind yourself that success rarely follows a straight-line path and that usually there are obstacles to negotiate, tunnels to construct or diversions to follow. There is usually a way to get from ‘it’s very difficult’ to ‘how can we?’
  2. Allow yourself to get mad. The anger that bubbles up when your version of reality and the outside world do not match is there for a reason. Its purpose is both to alert you the fact that your needs are not met and to create the energy to make the changes you need. The conflict of current reality with vision releases our energy and creativity to bring the vision into reality, to restore order in our minds.
  3. Allow your natural creativity the head space it needs to really do its job of visualization by creating a system:
    • Write down how you want to see yourself in the future, describing, for example, how great you are at public speaking.
    • Write it as an affirmation e.g. Presentations are easy and enjoyable for me: my passion and my authority really shine through
    • Use positive words only – we move towards what we picture and need to visualize what we want, not what we don’t want.
    • Write in the present tense, as if they the goal is already achieved – our sub-conscious becomes active only in the ‘Now.’
    • As you read, see the picture in your head. Make it as detailed and colourful as possible. Even better, see the image moving.
    • Now imagine what achieving your goal will feel like. The more emotion, the quicker the change.

The key is to think about the future as though it is already accomplished. Listen to successful people. They talk as if the building is already built, the game won, the fox outsmarted.

pollyYou may well accuse me of mixing my metaphors now, but as I was writing this I suddenly remembered a story I used to read to my children. It is ‘Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf’ by Catherine Storr. I can’t remember all of Polly’s tactics, but I do remember she remained convinced of her ability to outsmart the wolf. I’m going to retrieve it from the loft now and find out ….

Click here for more information on the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams.

© Move Ahead Global 2014









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