Simplify Your Battlefield – How To Deal With Chaos

What do you do when your plans go sideways? When chaos and clutter are prevalent and the fog rolls in?

We’ve all been there. Some of us are there now.

We’ve all had moments or seasons where chaos reigns and we struggle to maintain focus and forward momentum. Stress rises. Things break. We freak out. Blood pressure rises. Distraction settles in and we feel stuck.

I love what President Eisenhower said about plans and planning. He said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” In other words, once the bullets start flying, chaos ensues and we’re left to regroup and pivot.

The Navy SEALs have another way of framing up situations like this. When chaos is encountered in a combat scenario and plans go out the widow, SEALs are trained to pivot to this mindset so they can accomplish the goals of the mission.

Mark Divine, the author of The Way Of The Seal, speaks about how in the chaos of war, elite SEALs are taught to “simplify the battlefield.” That means we need to identify the next most important target and then put all of our energy into successfully executing that mission as we maintain what he calls “front-sight” focus. This requires defining the WIN – What’s Important Now and narrowing our focus.

Divine says, “Simplifying the battlefield is SEAL-speak for eliminating distractions. When we eliminate distractions, we can better see the simple, elegant solutions and remain front-sight focused on the right way forward”

Front-sight focus is the key ability to focus on “ONE” thing until victory is achieved. This is the ability to focus on the right things at the right time so you get the right results. This requires honing in to do what only you can do and de-cluttering the noise around you.

In the midst of chaos, it’s vital we learn to shrink our focus to the things that really matter and eliminate the clutter that surrounds us. The clutter could be in our minds or physical environments, but removing the clutter allows us to simplify our focus and eliminate distraction.

What is the ONE thing you need to focus on today that is the most important? What tactic do you need to implement and activate when sense chaos surrounding you and feel your anxiety increase?

Driving it to action:

Here is an example of something I do when I feel anxious or sense my mind is becoming cluttered. I use this to re-center my mind and help me simplify my battlefield.

Thank You Walks – I go on a 5-10 minute walk where I think about all the things I’m thankful for. These are big or little things and I just express my gratitude verbally. It’s hard for me to be stressed or anxious when I’m reminded of how much I am truly blessed.

Implement an “Activation Trigger” – Find a trigger you can leverage when you start to feel out of control and anxiety rises. You need a practical way to reframe the chaos. The one I’ve learned about lately and implemented is the Five Second Rule from Mel Robbins (great book). It’s simple, just count backwards 5,4,3,2,1 and make a decision to act or reframe your thoughts. Take control of the narrative being told in your mind.

Rule your mind or your mind will rule you.

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