Glasses clearly seeing trees

Navigating Chaos: Simplifying the Battlefield

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. 

President Eisenhower said this about plans and planning:

“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, pivot, or persevere.

How we frame up our circumstances is of utmost importance when we face times like this. What we behold is what we become. Said another way, we become what we behold. 

The lens through which we view our circumstances shapes how we think, feel, and act in the midst of chaos. What we choose to focus on will define the person we become.

“What we behold is what we become.”

Focus Like A SEAL While Navigating Chaos

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 window, SEALs are trained to pivot to this mindset so that 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 a “front-sight” focus. This requires defining the WIN, What’s Important Now, and narrowing our focus while navigating chaos.

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”.

What’s Front-Sight Focused?

Front-sight focus is the key ability to focus on “ONE” thing until victory is achieved. It’s focusing 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 navigating chaos, it’s vital we learn to shrink our focus to the things that really matter and eliminate the clutter that surrounds us. It 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 you sense chaos surrounding you and feel your anxiety increase? Do you need to change the lens through which you view everything going on inside and outside you?

Take Action While Navigating Chaos:

Here are 2 practical examples of what to do when you feel anxious or sense your mind becomes cluttered. They help to re-center your mind and simplify the battlefield:

  1. Thank You Walks 

Go on a 5–10 minute walk where you think about all the things you’re thankful for. Whether they’re big or little things, take time to express your gratitude verbally. It’s hard to be stressed or anxious when you’re reminded of how much you’re truly blessed.

  1. Implement an “Activation Trigger” 

Find a trigger you can leverage when you start to feel out of control and your anxiety rise. This is one practical way for you to reframe the chaos. 

An example of an “Activation Trigger” is the Five Second Rule from Mel Robbins. It’s simple. All you do is count backward “5,4,3,2,1” and make a decision to act or reframe your thoughts. This helps you take the power back through action instead of letting your thoughts overwhelm you to the point of decision-making paralysis. 

Take control of the narrative being told in your mind. Rule your mind or your mind will rule you. You become what you behold.

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