We were working with a major corporation’s marketing team recently, sitting in on their weekly team meeting.
They were convening bright and early on a Monday morning… And the tension in the air was palpable.
I could tell that many of the team members were feeling anxiety, stressed about all of the work they were needing to accomplish that week. Here at Stress Reset, we call that operating out of the Red Zone.
But a couple minutes into the meeting – just when they were about to dive into the work they needed to cover – someone paused, and shared something profound.
“Hey guys, remember how incredible last week’s meeting was? I left that meeting feeling so good – SO inspired! I ended up getting so much done last week, and I attribute that to how much fun I had collaborating with you guys in our last team meeting! I just wanted to say thanks for that.”
In an instant, you could see everyone’s face light up. The energy of the meeting shifted, and you could feel a collective unclenching happening.
The rest of the meeting was much more lighthearted. And, just like the week prior, they ended up having a highly productive week as a team! Not to mention morale was high – everyone felt listened to, included, and important.
Now you may be thinking… Why was that moment such a big deal? Someone shared a nice memory – so what?
There are two major reasons that that simple action could have such an impact.
We talk about individual habits a lot.
But team habits are an essential tool for creating a positive work environment, too. One that encourages creativity, collaboration, and an open flow of ideas. It invites the best version of every single team member to the table.
This “remember when” exercise does exactly that. It uses a recent positive memory the entire team shares, and transports them all back collectively to the feelings they had at that time… Completely changing the trajectory of the meeting they were currently in.
Which brings me to the second reason this technique is so major…
The brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary.
That’s why stress and anxiety can feel so overwhelming and real, even when you aren’t in present danger – your brain can’t tell the difference.
And that is also why asking your team to think back to a fun memory can change the trajectory of their entire week! For all intents and purposes, they’re being transported back to that actual moment in time, and re-feeling those emotions as if they’re happening in real time.
Here at Stress Reset, we work with teams to hone in on collective habits and individual habits that get people out of the Red Zone into the Green Zone. We love helping teams figure out what “feel good” habits will be the best fit for them!
I encourage you to try the “remember when” exercise with your team in your next meeting. Transport your team members back to a time when you all felt the most connected, excited, and collaborative. I’m curious to know how the tone of the meeting shifts – drop a comment below letting me know if you try this out!
The most frequently asked question we get about this idea is: How will I know it’s working?
Without a doubt, you will notice a dramatic difference within yourself. You’ll feel more spacious, calm, resourced, and engaged in everything that you do.
Taking care of yourself first expands your capacity for everything that comes next. It makes the work that needs to be done feel way more manageable. It gives you the energy, patience, and clarity to face the rest of the things on your list.
I want to note here that you will, undoubtedly, relapse.
There will be a morning where you panic about what didn’t get done yesterday, and you’ll jump right into your list first thing.
In that moment, have compassion for yourself. Self-prioritization is a journey, not a destination. You can hop back on the train tomorrow!
Over time, the guilt dissipates. It will become second nature to start your day with YOU.