In today’s episode we explore edge behaviour and how it relates to your comfort zone. Your edge behaviour is a fancy way of observing, “how you react” when you’re scared, intimidated or uncomfortable. I reveal the most common edge behaviours and also name common edge patterns. So get out of your head, into your heart and let’s learn about edge behaviour.
Hello and welcome to Conscious business.
Today we’re covering one of my favourite topics…. edge behaviours
Understanding what these are will make you more productive, more powerful, increase your EQ AND make you such a better leader!
It will help you recognize when you’re doing something uncomfortable, and also recognize when others are uncomfortable too, whether that’s a friend, your employee, a colleague or even your partner.
And to fully understand edge behaviour, you have to understand what your comfort zone is, and what happens inside your comfort zone and the impact of stepping outside your comfort zone.
So here’s a look at what you’re going to learn today:
1) First, I’m going to explain what edge behaviours are
2) In the 2nd segment we’ll talk about your comfort zone
3) In the 3rd segment I’ll give you examples of your edge behaviours
4) And in our 4th segment, I’ll explain how to use this knowledge of edge behaviours
So get out of your head and into your heart and let’s dive right in shall we.
Let’s kick off by defining WHAT edge behaviour is.
When we’re about to push out of our comfort zone, our edge behaviour shows up. So edge behaviour is really a fancy way of saying, “how” you react when you have to do something you’re scared of, when you’re intimidated, uncomfortable, stressed out or simply doing something that is new and unfamiliar. I sometimes explain it like a Tell in poker. If someone has a good hand, they might have a nervous tic that will give them away.
Edge behaviour can be conscious, something you do on purpose, or more often it is unconscious, meaning you AREN’T even aware that you are doing it. That’s where I come in. It’s my job to observe it, and name it when I see it.
Everyone’s edge behaviours are different, what I do when I’m uncomfortable is going to be different than what YOU do.
And the things that trigger edge behaviours are different for everyone.
What triggers me and makes ME uncomfortable is likely going to be different than what makes YOU uncomfortable.
But there are a few universal things that are likely going to trigger you to be uncomfortable. Public speaking is one of those things that MOST people are nervous to do, I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead, and she confesses that even to this day, she gets nervous public speaking.
Other common triggers are being vulnerable and having awkward conversations.
Just the other day I named this with one of my clients.
On their TO DO list was to have a courageous conversation with one of their newer employees who wasn’t performing up to par.
Here’s how the conversation went down, and see if this is familiar to you:
Me: So did you have that conversation with employee X about their performance?
Client: Ah, no, I’m still gathering data and talking to others who work with him
Oh, weren’t you doing that last week when we talked?
Yeah, but I want to make sure I collect enough data.
OK, last time we talked you told me you just knew that something was off with him
Yeah, that’s right, I know he’s not performing
ok, well my BS detector is going off right now, and I wonder if you’re using “gathering data” as an excuse to avoid having a courageous conversation. Is there any truth in that?
So what are you going to do?
Ahhh, I’m going to have the conversation
And this is why we hate to love our coaches, they call our BS and name our edge patterns.
We often procrastinate on things we are uncomfortable doing.
This is WHY it’s so important to get conscious about our behaviour and know what IS and what isn’t inside your comfort zone.
Knowing your edge behaviour is really important, for a few reasons. First, when you get really conscious about how you act when you’re being pushed out of your comfort zone, this will give you ideas of what you can do to make it easier or be more compassionate with yourself.
Second, when you become conscious of what your edge behaviour is, you know to always keep an eye out for it, because then in the future when you notice this specific behaviour in yourself, you will know that you’re doing something outside of your comfort zone.
In this episode we’re going to look at 2 things: edge behaviours, which are simple things you do in the moment, like a TELL in poker. Physical gestures or actions, almost like nervous tics.
And we’re also going to look at edge patterns that shows up when you are avoiding something, the example of my client avoiding having this courageous conversation with his team member about performance, is uncomfortable, so the edge pattern is procrastination, and what he seeks out is the comfortable behaviour of collecting data, which he loves to do.
So, to recap this segment:
Edge behaviour is “how” you react when you have to do something you’re scared of, intimidated by, uncomfortable by or simply something that is new.
Your edge behaviour can be conscious or unconscious, and my ulterior motive of this episode is to make your edge behaviour conscious.
We all have different things that trigger our edge behaviour. And we have different edge behaviours that we gravitate to as well as edge patterns.
To fully understand your edge behaviour we need to talk about your comfort Zone. Just like your edge behaviour, we all have a comfort zone.
Yours looks different than mine, you might have things inside your comfort zone that aren’t inside mine.
And I might have things inside my comfort zone, that you don’t.
Either way, your comfort zone is this amazing treasure chest of expertise, wisdom, of skills, sometimes it includes natural talents and abilities that you were born with, or things that came easy to you. Other things inside your comfort zone may have been hard or kinda scary at first, but with your hard work, focus and dedication they now reside inside your comfort zone.
QUESTION: Why is our comfort zone so bloody important and why are we all talking about stepping out of it all the time?
Our goal isn’t just to step outside our comfort zone for the sake of being uncomfortable or learning in that moment.
The ultimate reason why we as coaches are obsessed with you stepping outside your comfort zone, is so that we can master these new things, and then they eventually those things get recategorized as something you’re now comfortable doing, which means that your comfort zone has been EXPANDED or increased to include more things.
So, our ultimate goal is to EXPAND or increase your comfort zone.
Because this is essentially expanding your total inventory of things you’re able to do, and this, my friend is what makes you powerful, because it builds your confidence.
And aside from boosting your confidence, the other advantage of expanding your comfort zone means that through the process you have built a strong muscle of mastering new skills.
and with a stronger muscle you can accelerate how quickly you build that next skill or habit.
I’m going to use the example of working out to explain what I mean:
Let’s say over the last year you built the habit of going to the gym regularly. Congratulations. Prior to this last year, you had never set foot inside a gym.
The cool thing is, you’ve not only managed to build a great habit of going to the gym, you’ve also gained intelligence of WHAT tactics helped you to build this new habit. So the next time you want to build a new habit you have a great frame of reference to build it. What were 3 things tactics that helped you start going to the gym. It could be:
1 – Doing research – rather than waiting around for the inspiration to go to the gym to randomly fall out of the sky, you could do research to find the right gym, research different programs or methodologies, and through this process of doing research you’re becoming an expert and therefore building your confidence and your investment in this new behaviour.
2 – A second tactic could be: making it fun – maybe there’s a certain class you go to each week that is a lot of fun, like a certain yoga or spinning class, so knowing that you were going to have fun at the gym helped you build the habit of going to the gym. Don’t ever underestimate the power of fun, or the fomo, fear of missing out factor
3 – And a third tactic could be accountability – this could be going to the gym with a friend, or maybe your gym keeps track of your visits and you can measure how many times you go each week, having accountability helped you build the habit of going to the gym.
So the 3 tactics that helped you build the habit of going to the gym were
making it fun and accountability
Once you know these 3 tactics helped you go to the gym, guess what> you can use this intelligence to help you build the muscle to do other things.
Now that you have a good understanding of what edge behaviours are and why they show up, let’s dive into exploring different edge behaviours.
As you’ve been listening, have you been thinking about what your edge behaviour is? I know there’s lots of you who have done this work with me as my coaching client, in a workshop, an offsite or maybe even on retreat. But it’s a good time to check in what your edge behaviours are, maybe they’ve changed.
When I started out years ago I had this tiny list of edge behaviours to watch for as a coach, and it seems like every new team I work with has new ones to add, so the list is always expanding
Here’s some examples of edge behaviours, that show up in the moment when we’re uncomfortable:
Now this is not an exhaustive list, but it does represent some of the most common edge behaviours we use when we are uncomfortable in the moment.
as I was naming these edge behaviours, which ones are familiar to you? Which ones are your “go to” behaviours?
I find most people have 1 or 2 that they commonly use.
A couple notes about this. A question I get asked all the time by teams, is, are all these things edge behaviours, do they always mean that I’m outside of my comfort zone. And NO, they aren’t. Fidgeting is a great example, sometimes you fidget and it is edge behaviour, or sometimes you fidget because you’re just bored or antsy and there’s no emotional charge in it.
Now you know what edge behaviours to look for in the moment, let’s also talk about edge patterns, which are ways of acting when you are faced with doing something you don’t want to do. I used an example earlier with my client, when he was faced with having a conversation about performance with one of his employees.
What was his edge pattern?
Well it was procrastination and avoiding, wasn’t it?
He was defaulting to something he is overly comfortable with, collecting of data, as a stall tactic to avoid doing something he didn’t want to do, having a courageous conversation.
And I want to share a few other edge patterns to watch out for, but before I do that I really need to explain something. You see, I consider myself as somewhat of an expert in these edge patterns, and I know them really really well, because I catch myself using them all the time. So, don’t be hard on yourself, this is simply what happens with our unconscious behaviour. Everyone indulges in them sometimes.
A few other edge patterns in addition to avoiding are blame, or using excuses about WHY you can’t do something,
Lighting a dumpster fire:
This is a super sneaky one. It’s when we shine a light on a problem somewhere else in the company, that has existed for a while, maybe even for years, and we all of a sudden escalate the need to address it
Shiny Object Syndrome, when we move on to prioritize a new task or project to get away from what needs to be done
Retreating to your comfort zone, that’s an edge pattern, we focus on something you know how to do and can do easily.
An edge pattern that drives me the most crazy, is going dark, and just being completely MIA and unreachable, I used to have a boss that did this to me all the time, he wouldn’t approve something, but he wouldn’t tell you NOT to do something, so you just never knew where you stood.
So there’s lots of examples of edge patterns, ways we react when we’re avoiding something that is really uncomfortable.
So to recap this segment, there are many different edge behaviours, that are like tells, how we react in the moment. And there are also edge patterns, how we react to situations where we’re trying to avoid something.
So now you know WHAT edge behaviour is, you know what your edge behaviour is and your edge patterns ….. what do we do with all this information?
Well, two of the most powerful ways to use it is with yourself and with others.
Let’s start by using it with YOU!
Once you figure out what you edge behaviour is, and it shows up, you use this as intelligence to know that you’re heading outside of your comfort zone.
I actually name my edge behaviours when they show up, and say, there’s my nervous laughter.
Or if I’m avoiding something I will name it to someone, hey I’m feeling a lot of resistance to do this project because of xyz, can we build an accountability or create a deadline for it, so I don’t try to procrastinate on it?
If it’s a comfortable environment that you’re in, with high trust relationships, you can try naming your edge behaviour, it’s a powerful way to name what’s going on with yourself. It’s a really safe way to name that you’re hesitant about something. Think about it, we wouldn’t often say, Oh this is something I’m really nervous about, but if we name the edge behaviour, it’s letting us be once removed from the fear and nervousness.
I also think it is a great way for YOU to be a leader and educate others to understand their own edge behaviour. When they observe YOU naming it, they will learn from your great example, and likely apply it to themselves.
When you notice it, you know you’re outside of your comfort zone.
A second powerful way to use it is to notice edge behaviours in others. So when we went through that long list in the last segment, there were some that you likely use, and the rest of the items are ones you can use for others, see if you can start to observe for edge behaviours in others, and then depending on how well you know them, you can respond accordingly. If you have a solid relationship with them you might want to name it. I wouldn’t accuse them or say hey, that’s nervous laughter you just demonstrated, is this uncomfortable for you? But you could ask them, Hey, is that and edge behaviour for you?
Or if you think they won’t respond well to you naming it, then you can just keep this intelligence in your back pocket, and whenever you observe that they’re nervous, you can treat them with empathy accordingly, asking questions, offering help or other options.
Basically, what I want you to remember about Edge behaviour is that it is intelligence, it helps you know that either YOU are operating outside of your comfort zone, or someone else is and you want to support them.
And it’s time to start wrapping up this episode on Edge behaviour.
I hope you enjoyed this episode and really take the time to understand your edge behaviour and also potential behaviours that show up in others.
The more you become more conscious about it, the more you will become empathetic to other people and help to empower them.
Remember, soft skills are like hard skills, there is a process of mastery, just like everything else we do, it’s like building up a muscle.
We ALL have fear, no matter where you are in life, how “successful” you are or accomplished you are, we all have fear about something. But the things we are all afraid of, are different. What’s scary for me, might not feel scary for you.
So, I want to leave you with an inquiry. I want you to think about your relationship with fear. Do you see fear as a green light, red light or maybe amber?
What IS your relationship with fear? Knowing what it is, being conscious about it and how you react when you’re facing something scary is really something strategic to know about yourself, Because FEAR, afterall, is just your greatness in disguise.