Are you or your staff prepared to handle stress properly? In the last 6 months there have been several high profile incidences where police were called by Whites to make contact with Blacks, such as the May, 2018, incident where a White Yale university student called police on a Black person, who turned out to be another Yale student (Link to story here).
Also in May, 2018, a White woman called police on a Black family trying to have a BBQ in the park (Link to story here). And how about the April, 2018, incident at the Starbucks in Philadelphia? (Link to story here). Black kids get the police called on them for mowing the lawn or selling water on the corner without a permit , a black man gets the police called on him for wearing socks at the pool, and the list sickenly goes on and on of police officers being called to respond to friviolous calls, taking them off the road and putting them in ugly situations that did not and do not need police involvement.
I want to take a peek at what I believe is the root to all these unnecessary calls to police, don’t just stop at “The cause is racism”, look deeper – It was stress. I humbly believe that these White folks who called the police did so out of mismanagement of the stress they were feeling. Regardless of what triggered the stress in the first place, these are great examples of over reacting to stress.
We all learned that we human animals are inately wired for “flight or fight”. The body does not know what the cause or trigger for the stress is, whether it is real or imagined! The body only knows to flood the body with adrenline and cortisol. We know that in small doses the adrenaline rush is a good thing, it can keep you focused, alert, gives you extra strength. But what happens with stress overload?
Are you or your staff prepared to handle stress properly? It is proven over and over again that there is a critical link between what a person does in training and what they do under stress. Borrowing from one of my slides, let me say that the body can not do what the mind does not know. I believe that a person who has not properly and carefully thought about how they would react and respond to a stressful situation will either underreact, overreact, or just simply freeze. There is a reason that the military spends so much time training, going through the motions, learning how to adapt, improvise and overcome as a situation evolves. There is a reason why athletes spend so much time training, conditioning their bodies and their minds. There is a reason why people with certain hobbies are so proficient and efficient with those hobbies, it’s because they do/perform those hobbies over and over again, “training”, whether it is learning to fly fish, fly an airplane or hit a golf ball accurately and consistently!
Stress can be internally induced, such as by pessimism (a bad attitude about anything!), and by rigid inflexible thinking (maybe like racism?)
Among the cognitive symptoms of stress overload are inability to concentrate, poor judgement and seeing only the negative. No permit for selling water on the corner? Call the police. Wearing socks at the pool? Call the police. Sitting around at Starbucks waiting for friend without buying anything? Call the police. A child learning work ethics and trying to do the right thing inadvertantly mows part of your lawn? Call the police. All grossly overreactions to stress.
Are you or your staff prepared to handle stress properly? Proper training and consideration of how to react and respond to a stressful situation can pay off in saved lives, fewer injuries and little to no negative publicity. If you and your staff do not think things through, talk about it, brain storm it, walk through it, there is a high probability that you or one of your staff will either underreact, or overreact, or simply freeze and do nothing. In November 2017 a gunman walked into the First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and started shooting. A witness stated that there was “an eerie silence” in the church as the gunman walked around shooting people, taking time to reload from time to time. The silence tells us that no one was running and no one was fighting. Everyone froze under the stress overload.
Dynamic, realistic scenario based training with role players will give you and your staff what I call stress inoculation. You get conditioned to work and perform under some stress so that if you are ever in a very stressful situation the adrenaline shock to your body will not cripple you. You can only get so much and learn just so much from just sitting through a lecture presentation, or watching a how-to video, at some point you are going to have to perform in that situation or condition. If you have not practiced IN that situation or condition, you are more likely to not perform well and will either underreact, or overreact, or freeze and do nothing at all.
Are you or your staff prepared to handle stress properly?