What behaviours and attitudes we bring into the world in every moment?
Louise Evans, behavioral coach, corporate trainer, and author of ‘5 Chairs 5 Choices’ explains that all of our behaviours can be divided into major 5. She illustrates human behaviours with 5 chairs. Those 5 chairs define our life, who we are and what do we bring into this world. Those chairs define how do we communicate and what environment do we build around us. Those 5 are the choices we make every day.
When I saw this TED talk I thought that all of us during the day we experience all of those chairs probably. Depending on the situation we adopt different behaviours.
And then I remembered my previous work where I had to deal with difficult clients and their expectations. I remembered tough conversations when the services did not meet their expectations. And almost all situations were the same, but the reactions and the way they used to speak to me – that was very different. I remembered that some of them would show their disappointment but we would still be able to have normal conversation, with respect to each other. And there were others that were constantly unhappy. What was their constant behavior? Attack. No matter what – attack and complains. The same difficult situation – difficult responses.
So before we dive into those 5 chairs according to Loise Evans, my question to you is -what is your behaviour in the situation that really disappointing you? How do you express that to others?
And now 5 chairs by Loise Evans. Each chair represents our behavior and the way we communicate with ourselves and with others.
Chair 1 – Choice 1: The Jackal.
The main behaviour: attack.
Loise Evans explains that this is the chair where we misbehave the most. In this chair we want to blame, to complain, to punish. And to judge. We judge ourselves and others.
The more we judge people, the less time we have to love them.
Now my questions to you are the following:
1. In which situations do you act as jackal?
2. How often your response is the attack?
3. How does that influence your life and your relationships?
Try to remember the last situation when your jackal came out.
Chair 2 – Choice 2: The Hedgehog.
The main behaviour: self doubt.
According to Loise Evans, here we tend to be very vulnerable, where we protect ourselves from what we think is an “evil world”. We do not believe in ourselves here. The internal dialogue is something like: “I am not intelligent enough – I cannot do this, I am not capable, I am not worth it”. Fears of being rejected, fears of disappointing others, fears of failing. And we also play the victims here.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How often do I behave out of hedgehog chair?
2. What happens around me when I start doubting in myself?
3. What it is like to live out of hedgehog chair?
The highest form of intelligence is the ability to observe ourselves without judging.
Chair 3 – Choice 3: The Meerkat.
The main behaviour: wait.
Louise Evans explains, that when we are in this chair we are mindful, we observe, we pause, we are conscious. Here we are very curious. Here we have a choice. Out of here we can choose the chair we actually want to be on next.
For example our reaction to someone’s aggressive behaviour can be: “I wonder why that person is angry”. This is the waiting chair, out of this chair we are choosing our response to aggressor for example.
1. Are you familiar with this chair?
2. How often do you use it?
3. What does it bring to your life?
Chair 4 – Choice 4: The Dolphin.
Main behavior: detect.
As per Loise Evans, in this chair we become self aware, we know who we are, what we want and where we are going, we are not afraid to speak our truth. In this chair we also create the boundaries, but we do not give our power away. We become assertive, but not aggressive. We look after ourselves in this chair. Here we grow, we become free and powerful.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
Ask yourself the following:
1. What do I do in order to know myself more?
2. How often do I use this chair?
3. How do I feel when I speak my truth?
4. In which situations it is difficult for me to set the boundaries?
Chair 5 – Choice 5: The Giraffe.
Main behavior: connect.
Loise Evans explains that when we are in this chair, we display empathy, compassion and understanding. In this chair we put our egos aside and we listen to people and we care for them. This is where we are stepping into someone’s else shoes. This is where we connect with others.
The invite here is to embrace the different realities and the intention is to stay connected whatever happens.
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better”.
1. How does your giraffe look like?
2. What do you like the most about it?
3. What does it bring to your life?
4. In which situations and with whom you would like to use it more?
How to apply this during our daily life. How to find the balance?
As per Louise Evans, next time when someone presses your red button, the easiest way is to pause. To pause and to remember Chair 3, where we wait and observe.
What is the aim of the above exercise? It’s not about judging ourselves even more, after realizing how often we are in the jackal chair. This is about becoming conscious in our communication and at our behaviours every day, at work, with friends and at home. The aim is to observe and to get to know ourselves a little bit better, and out of there to consciously choose our own behavior.
This is about committing with ourselves to make this world, our homes and work places a little bit better, by choosing the right chair.
And below quote is my favorite, which reminds us about the choices we make:
Everything can be taken from man but one thing. The last of human freedoms – to choose one´s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
In what chair do you spend the most of your day?
I invite you to start observing yourself and your ways of communication with yourself and with others.
What changes if instead of the usual behavior you decide to choose another one?
Wishing you an amazingly mindfulness week ahead!