(El Paso, Texas, Sept. 7, 2017)
Icebergs are our core beliefs and core values that serve as guiding principles for what we do and how we behave. We all have icebergs and they are not necessarily good or bad. However, there are times we are not fully aware of our icebergs, and this lack of awareness can fuel emotions and reactions that are not useful and undercut our resilience. It is important for us to identify and evaluate our icebergs so we can gain greater control of our emotions and reactions, especially during tough circumstances. Have you had a moment where your emotions and reactions got the better of you? Or maybe you simply acted out of character? These are common moments when it would be helpful to detect an iceberg.
A common example of an iceberg might be the belief, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” In evaluating this iceberg, the individual may decide she still values the iceberg and doesn’t want to change it. However, she may also recognize there are times that being overly rigid about the iceberg undercuts her effectiveness as a leader. For example, this iceberg may cause physical and emotional exhaustion, as well as Soldiers not being properly developed.
Icebergs can also be counterproductive and undermine our resilience by causing us to fall into thinking traps. Consider the iceberg, “The first impression is the last impression.” This could lead an individual to write off a new person based on the limited evidence of an initial meeting.
Icebergs are developed through our experiences, our surroundings and what we have been taught. When our emotions and reactions get the better of us, we should stop and ask ourselves questions that will provide a deeper understanding of our emotions and reactions until we can identify our iceberg. Questions leading to a deeper understanding may be, “What was the most upsetting part of that for me?” or “What is the worst part of that for me?” After detecting the iceberg, it is important to evaluate whether it is helping or harming in the situation and how you will have better self-awareness in how to effectively use that iceberg.