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How to create psychological safety

by Shaun Kober
October 11th 2021

In this follow up episode from last weeks chat with @the.brain.guy Scott Robinson, I share some tools from one of the modules in my NLP Master Practitioner Course.

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just jumping in here quickly to let you guys know that I have recently created a facebook group for listeners of the lift train performed podcast. So this private forum is the place to connect with other podcast listeners and guest as well as to interact with myself and other coaches who have provided content for the coach's corner episodes. So in this forum you can ask questions which I can then answer in the group or I can use them for episodes, former Q and A sessions post relevant articles you can share memes. The goal is to create a network of like minded people um so that everyone can interact with each other. Um you guys, our listeners, the audience members can interact with a network of professionals in the fitness industry that have provided good quality content for the podcast. To gain access to this private group. All you need to do is leave me a rating and review what this does is allows me to bump up the ratings, draw bigger names, bigger guest to the podcast for your listening pleasure. Um once you've left a rating and review, take a screenshot of that, send that through to my instagram at coach underscore codes K O B es.

Once you've done that, go onto facebook type in live train, perform that group will come up, request access, answer the three questions and I will grant you access. Thanks guys much appreciated. You know what is up guys, welcome to this week's episode of the lift transform podcast on your host, Sean Cobra. During last week's episode, I spoke to scotty Robinson who is the brain guy on instagram. He's got a massive following for a good reason. He's able to break down very complex topics into easily digestible um snippets so that you can understand how the brain works. Um something that we spoke about last week was my NLP course, neuro linguistic programming. This is basically how you talk to yourself, the words that you use that create um certain states within your mentality. So what I thought I'd do today is share one of the modules that I did as part of my NLP Master practitioner course. So, um this is going to give you some practical tools and exercises that you can do throughout this session that you can then think about and apply to your life.

So we're going to go through my NLP master practitioner course. This is module five, which is criteria for psychological safety. All right, let's get started. So, before you consciously comprehend anything, you see, hear or feel your brain has already screened it for safety. This safety check is not something you have a choice about. If something threatens your safety, you have no choice but to respond information from the outside world enters through your senses and is routed through the amygdala or primitive brain prior to or at the same time the new import reaches consciousness. If the primitive brain perceives any threat from the outside world, it mobilizes your hormones and emotions to deal with it. A rush of fear and adrenaline surface instantly when your safety is threatened everything else you are paying attention to just became much less important. As long as your safety is intact, you are free to focus on other things. Emotional safety is no different to the primitive brain than physical safety. In fact, research has proven that the primitive brain experiences emotional stress no differently than physical stress.

When you feel emotionally unsafe, your brains first priority is to recover from the threat. If you're moving throughout your day feeling emotionally unsafe, you will find it very difficult to accomplish anything other than to figure out ways to reduce the anxiety. Developmental psychologist Abraham Maslow understood this in his legendary hierarchy of human needs. Maslow was clear the need for physical and psychological safety is fundamental. It trumps social needs and even self esteem needs. Imagine you discover that your spouse or partner might be cheating on you. You hear a nasty and unfounded rumor about you and your favorite social circles, you must be around someone who criticizes you constantly. A boyfriend or girlfriend threatened suicide. If you end the relationship, you discover your child is using drugs, you learn that a loved one is terminally ill, You get promoted at work which requires speaking in public regularly. You have no public speaking skills or you find yourself involved in a lengthy lawsuit.

None of the above examples involve any physical threat. However, all of them are emotionally intrusive and disruptive. It would be difficult to focus on other aspects of your life while these situations are in play. Now imagine being involved in several such scenarios at the same time. Or imagine dealing with a multitude of lesser emotional stresses as a way of life among work, kids, romance, social pressures, health issues, deadlines and endless to do lists. Modern life has become a chronic source of emotional stress for most people living in a state of chronic stress is interpreted by the brain as a threat to your safety. Emotional safety is primal. If we do not find a way to feel safe each and every day, we cannot accomplish much beyond reacting to the vague yet constant threats. Most of our life is geared towards reducing anxiety and getting to a place where we feel safe worse. Often we put ourselves in threatening situations in the name of personal growth. Too many personal growth advocates push people to break far out of their comfort zone, expand beyond your limits, destroy obstacles and succeed beyond your wildest expectations.

This is a terrible setup that is destined to fail. Suddenly expanding beyond perceived limitations which are psychological protections, brings without fear of the unknown. That sends the primitive brain into a tailspin. And if it were possible to suddenly destroy your every psychological defense mechanism and wildly expand your boundaries to include all sorts of unfamiliar experiences. You'd experience an incredible rush of panic. A quest for inner peace as well as personal development should honor the need for emotional safety. You are wired for personal safety and your personal development plan needs to be equally wired. If not, you're picking a fight with your primitive brain, which is a fight that you will lose. All right? So the big question, if you go around trying to live within a comfort zone in order to create safety for yourself, how is it that you can make major changes in your life? How do you break through limitations? How do you expand your comfort zone to conquer and accomplish new things? It's a very good question. The truth is, most people do not change much in a lifetime. Most people often live their lives within fixed personality traits. Studies prove this.

What researchers found was that major personality traits were stable throughout life. The largest and longest studies to carefully analyze personality throughout life, revealed at the core of traits that remained remarkably stable over the years. The new studies have shown that three basic aspects of personality changed little throughout life. A person's anxiety level friendliness and eagerness for novel experiences. But other traits, such as alienation, morale and feelings of satisfaction can vary greatly as a person goes through life. These more changeable traits largely reflects such things as how a person sees himself and his life at a given point rather than a basic underlying temperament. One of the recently completed studies followed 10,000 people, 25-74 years old for nine years. Another involved 300 couples first tested in 1935. The studies are joined by new analysis of more than two dozen earlier studies of lifetime personality and a study of twins. That looks at the genetic contribution, personality traits like anxiety level, friendliness and eagerness for new experiences are core traits that determine which criteria are needed to feel safe.

Someone with high anxiety might require higher level of solitude or space or compassion. A person with a high degree of friendliness may require an active social life to create safety. Those were the low tolerance novel experience may need a ton of predictability in order to feel safe. Given that personality traits don't change much, neither do criteria for safety. Breaking out of your comfort zone may not be a viable concept. If you're going to change your life and achieve more than you should find a way to do it that fits well within your criteria for safety. In other words, don't jump out of a plane and then look for a parachute on the way down. Plan to take emotional safety with you wherever you go, creating safety first is what makes a thrill of accomplishing something possible. If you want to do something extremely challenging with your life? Say you want to climb Mount Everest. Do you think the people who climb mount Everest don't consider safety first. Do you think they don't plan months in advance? They actually trained for years in advance. They spend thousands of dollars on the right equipment, the right training, the right nutrition and so on. It's such a technical climb that it takes years of training and expertise to attempt surviving the venture is of primary concern beyond the accomplishment.

The accomplishment means nothing if you're going to die before you get to the top or you hit the top, but then you can't get back down. I don't think in terms of breaking out of your comfort zone. Start by honoring your comfort zone and learning to take it with you more of the time. What if your quest for personal growth began with the assurance that whatever you do, you'll feel safe along the way, creating a psychological safety zone, honors your psychological limits. All of us have these limits even though so many personal and spiritual growth teachings try to convince us that we don't, life is actually full of limits. There are limits to intelligence. There are limits to physical abilities and limits to the physical and psychological resources that you have. There is even a limit to your physical life on this earth limits are real. And when we push ourselves beyond them, it creates a tremendous amount of anxiety when you create a safety zone in which to safely live. Work and relate in a peace will come naturally. If you have your own mount Everest to climb? How are you going to create the safety mechanisms that will allow you to make the climb. If you don't have that safety, then your level of anxiety will be extremely high.

Your quality of work will be low and most of all because of the anxiety, you won't have any fun doing it. All right. So how to create a psychological safety zone. A psychological safety zone is defined by criteria in NLP criteria. Standards for evaluation, they are like values only applied to specific situations. For example, when you purchase a car, you use personal criteria to judge whether or not a particular model is desirable. Smart buyers have a list of things to look for. For example, you may be looking for affordability, economy, luxury style comfort status, shine speed off road capabilities, passenger capacity, payload, color and so on. Each of these examples is a criterion. Most people have a short list of criteria that need to be met in order to be satisfied. The more criteria met, the greater the level of satisfaction, the fewer criteria met. The greater the dissatisfaction. All right, So let's go through a little drill. So what I want you guys to do is pause the podcast and then on a scale of 1-10, rate your level of satisfaction with your car or another possession.

If you don't have a car. All right, then what you do next is make a list of 4-5 criteria for satisfaction. Within a car. Do this by asking yourself the question, what is important to me in a car? The next step is to determine how many criteria on your list are currently satisfied. Step four, see how well the list explains your level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. So this criteria apply to everything. We need to evaluate cars, homes, careers, family life, relationships, everything each of us has standards for evaluating what satisfies us, whether we are aware of these standards or not. So, emotional safety is subject to criteria. This is the key to creating a psychological safety zone. When you are consciously aware of your criteria for emotional safety, then you can carry those criteria with you and enforce them. It is ideal to have someone help you with this as an objective perspective may be critical to getting the criteria right, But you can begin to explore the issue right away. So this is a drill that you can do with a partner, a family member, a friend, whatever.

All right, So here are two ways that you can discover your safety criteria. Simply ask yourself what you need to do to feel safe in life. Write down a list of 10 things, Then narrow it down to the essential 4 to 5. Your top 4 to 5 values. All right step to identify a time in your life, like a specific memory or a time period. When you felt emotionally safe immerse yourself into the memory until you begin to feel how safe you felt. Then begin talking or writing about the experience. Then identify the key words you use to describe it. These are your criteria. All right. I'm gonna give you guys some examples of uh some of the criteria that is written on the page in front of me. You guys will need to find what works for you. But this is an example of different people with different lives, different personality traits that have different safety criteria. All right. So the first example, I remember the time in college when I worked at the car wash. Everything was so simple.

Then I went to work which was virtually pressure free. I did my job and I went home. I studied a bit messed around with my friends, my friendships was everything back then. I didn't care about having a lot of money or a fancy car or whatever. I was content to just hang out with my friends. It was all about the fun of being alive and it was fun. Nothing to worry about. I always had the time and space somehow to do stuff. I enjoyed best of all life seemed so predictable. I knew what I had to do and when, so I didn't have a lot of worry about the immediate future in a funny way. I made a lot less money but enjoyed a lot more freedom. So the words that have been highlighted that may serve as criteria for safety in an ongoing way for this person, um, is work, simplicity, study friendship, contentment, fun time space, predictability or freedom. Of course. How you define each criteria is up to you now. What constitutes fun for example is different for everyone. The point is those keywords may be critical for your emotional safety.

They are criteria. So those words describe what made you feel safe. Here's another example. The time I felt most safe was during my recent run for office. I was so immersed in a meaningful message and so passionate. I knew what I stood for and I knew who the enemy was. I was never quite sure I was going to win, but I thrived on the challenge. For me. It wasn't about winning or losing, but whether or not I rose to the challenge, it is like knowing your calling in life. I knew my calling and I knew what I believed and I knew what I was willing to fight for every single day. Everything seemed so clear and the path ahead was well defined and it was simply a matter of replying myself. So this examples from someone with a different personality, okay, this person in order to feel safe, needs immersion in something meaningful passion, standing for something challenge are calling, belief, clarity, a defined path and applying themselves and so on. All right, here's another one. The final example is when my husband was alive, I do remember how safe I felt. We had such a connection like no other I've ever experienced.

It's like we knew each other's thoughts and didn't even need to speak. I missed that connection. We always respected each other to respect was important and we always said our love would never survive without respect. one life was easier when I had companionship. I mean real companionship I had someone to take care of me and someone to take care for. That was our commitment, you know to take care of each other who shows that kind of commitment anymore without it, I could never have felt safe. Not at all. Now this person in order to feel safe, needs connection, respect, love, companionship, someone to take care of and someone to take care of her as well as commitment. All right, so those are some examples. Now, what you need to do is finalize your list. So when you have a list of several criteria to choose from, start to narrow it down which criteria can you easily eliminate and still feel safe. Are the criteria that are nice to have but not necessary for you to feel safe and secure. When you have a list of 4-5 criteria that you consider absolutely essential you're there.

Okay, so here's an exercise with your list of criteria, evaluate several major situations in your life, including work relationships hobbies, personal habits and so forth. Identify where and when you are operating outside of your criteria for safety. Now consider how to bring any problems into alignment with your safety criteria. Okay? This is how you bring fulfillment. This is how you bring contentment. This is how you align what you're doing with your values, which then creates your psychological safety. All right, that's it for me today guys. Hopefully you enjoyed this exercise and you got something out of this podcast episode. Any five star ratings and reviews are much appreciated. Much Love Guys. Piece

How to create psychological safety
How to create psychological safety
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