Do You Fight, Fly, or Freeze?

By Crystal Wilson


Have you heard the phrase “Fight Flight or Freeze” before?  It refers to an automatic process in the brain that determines how we will innately respond in dangerous situations.  It is meant to protect us, to allow us to survive threatening situations.  As part of our subconscious brain, this is hardwired into us, which is great from a survival standpoint but here’s the thing - it’s been a part of the human brain since the period of time in which our survival was actually threatened on a daily basis.  But things like Sabertooth Tigers and falling boulders are less of a concern today than they used to be.  Daily threats to our actual survival are simply not a thing for most of us.  The trouble is, our subconscious still reacts to perceived threats in the same way it did to begin with - just without the tigers and whatnot. This can get...inconvenient.


The great news is that we don’t have to settle for all the crazy stuff our subconscious mind believes or makes us do - so we don’t have to be at the mercy of our Flight Flight Freeze response when it pops us in less than life-threatening situations.  Hooray!  


April and Crystal

Photo of Crystal Wilson (left) & April Burrows (right).


As we are continuing to collectively experience the ups and downs of navigating a global pandemic, there are so so many opportunities for our subconscious to take over and steer us into unhelpful behaviours.  This is, of course, on top of the already normal ups and downs of running a business. 


When this all started back in the spring, did you find yourself totally halting your business operations? That’s Freeze.  


When the calls for anti-racism work rang loud and clear this summer, did you find yourself pumping your social feeds full of content intended to make sure your colleagues and customers understood your stance?  Sounds like Fight to me.  


When your highest producing staff member accepted a position with a competitor did you get to work finding an amazing replacement and ensuring the transition went smoothly? Or did you stop in your tracks, mulling over and over what went wrong?  Frozen!


When your client questions an invoice fo you go into defence mode instead of trying to understand their concern?  Fight! Fight! Fight! 


There will always be opportunities for our subconscious to grab the wheel and steer us according to its beliefs and basic wiring.  And, there will always be opportunities to override those built-in tendencies.  We know how important it is, as a business leader, to know yourself and your tendencies.  It’s the only way you can be sure that you are the one in the driver's seat - that you are actually in control of your business and your life!   To help you get to know your own tendencies a little better, our team created a quiz for you - head over here to take it and learn what you naturally lean toward as well as how to move toward a more conscious stress response.