Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Only a False Alarm

Today, the UPS man brought a package to my door. I disarmed my alarm system to open the door and receive the package. As soon as I closed the door, I rearmed the alarm system. This is my 'standard procedure.'

My alarm system has two modes. I can arm it with or without internal motion detectors. I intended to set the alarm without the interior motion detectors, since I was moving around inside the house.

It takes several seconds for the alarm system to 'arm' itself after being reset.

I accepted the package, then went into a back room where there are no motion sensors. When I came out into the main part of the house, the alarm went off!

My alarm is LOUD! Several sirens inside... more outside... it is LOUD!

As the alarm went off, my heart started to pound and I ran to the nearest control panel. I entered my code and cancelled the alarm.

It took several minutes for me to calm down - even though I knew full well that the alarm was not caused by any true danger.

I chuckled a bit about how long it took me to 'get it,' in my body, that this was merely a false alarm.

I laughed because I had another situation come up in my life today that I had a strong 'reaction' to but that didn't really warrant the strong response that I had.

I was hit with an unexpected requirement from one of my clients. It is something I have never done before, and was told I wouldn't have to do. Now, it's landed on my plate. I'm up against several serious deadlines, and have no extra time in my schedule for the next couple weeks. I panicked, and had an internal 'freak out' over the new request.

I stopped myself from 'reacting' in the moment, and still have yet to respond to the client. After many hours, and lots of reflection, I feel much calmer, and have planned a very balanced, assertive and reasonable response. I can assure you, if I'd acted when I first received the request, I would not have handled it this well.

I got the request just before I accidentally set off my alarm system this morning. As I reflected on my 'reaction' to the request, I realized that it was just a different kind of false alarm. I wasn't in any danger. No one was going to hurt me. The situation seemed overwhelming when I first got the request, but upon reflection I realized that I had a lot of options in regards to how to handle it. I now have a plan, and although I'm not thrilled with the situation, I feel calm, relaxed and confident that a mutually acceptable solution will be reached.

What a difference from where I started when my internal 'alarm system' was going off.

So often in life, we have a 'false alarm' inside ourselves when a situation triggers our fear! If we treat the alarm as 'real' and react accordingly, we will inevitably make our situations worse. If we can 'talk ourselves down' out of the reaction to the 'false alarm' we can think more clearly and craft a better response.

Next time your internal alarm bells are going off, ask yourself if it's really an emergency, or if this is merely a false alarm!