Showing Up: Part II

Happy New Years everyone.


A new year to start fresh, open a new chapter while closing older chapters, an time to let go, embrace, reevaluate, recondition, and reset. Don’t just make 2014 better, make it different.

Today’s post is the second of a two-part post that highlights the two ways we Show Up for life and in our work. If you missed the first part, you can check it out here. The second one up is:

#2. Default Autopilot

The alternative to prepared spontaneity is showing up on Default Autopilot.  Most of us easily fall into this way of operating and it works for us because we show up conditioned like well-oiled machines.  Mornings at the office look and feel the same; we know what to expect. Our output and productivity at work is the same because you’ve built up a high competence in your work such that you can do it with your eyes closed. Conversations at home and with your friends sound the same because you know what to expect.  Through a default autopilot mindset, you’ve built up a tolerance and a level of comfort to the work and life around you such that it becomes automatic.

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Default Autopilot is a mindset.

In DA, routine habits take precedence over creativity and purposeful action. It gives rise to constricting patterns as you become used to showing up as you always have despite repeated unwanted results. We have virtually no awareness of our thought pattern and how they control our behavior. Default Autopilot makes us feel like we have no choice because we’re locked into a certain perspective and pattern of thinking. It limits our potential, is a high trigger for stress, and narrows our thinking.

A quick personal story of how the default autopilot story usually plays out. After college graduation with my business degree in tow, I assumed the usual 9-5 job. It was a great position for a new grad working for a great company, Stony Brook University Hospital. My work was straight forward, day started at 8am everyday, lunch break at noon, chit chat with fun co-workers, paycheck the 1st & the 15th, 45 minute traffic-filled commute to and from work, dinner at home, and then off to bed to do it again the next day. This pattern showed up in many other jobs since then. Pretty simple right? I knew what to expect, I created a routine; it worked. Except it didn’t.

Showing up on autopilot is easy and that’s why so many of us do it. We play the role, go through the motions, we become content and then we forget. Forget that we do have a choice. We forget that we can choose to see and do things differently. 

Choosing ignites Change. Change ignites breaking the pattern.

We can choose the course of our workday by breaking up the pattern in small bites.  During Monday morning’s status meeting, maybe you might break the autopilot pattern by injecting 3 different ideas to spur productivity for the department. Or maybe for lunch you may take a mind-clearing walk around the block. And maybe instead of the knee jerk worry you have of making the wrong a decision, you can choose to see a different perspective and a more positive outcome.

Default Autopilot is a mindset. The choice is yours.

Keep me posted on how it goes