Bad Girl, Good Business

The 100 Years Club Installment #59: Triggers

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“Is this REAL stuff or is it YOUR stuff?” an executive coach once asked me.

He was referring to those little voices in our heads that send us into moods — good and bad.

Of course, those aren’t REAL voices, but they are triggers that can send us spinning into downward spirals or put us in great moods (sometimes without a basis in fact).

Like many of my creative and passionate friends (including some who are, like me, deeply insecure), we often react instantly and dramatically to situations, comments from others, and changes in the world around us.

As I age, I’m learning to check my “stuff” and dissect (and avoid, if possible) those situations that can bring me down and how I react to things people say.

I’m hyper-sensitive in group settings about how people speak to me versus their peers and (because of sexism and ageism) I notice differences and may blow them out of proportion (or not).

Intent versus delivery can be radically different, although sometimes biases are veiled within “jokes” or unintentional word choices or treating team members differently.

We also all need to pause and think about how the things we say and do may impact others.

This is especially timely because I’m moderating a panel later this month about intergenerational collaboration and stereotypes that we need to eliminate to build truly collaborative and respectful environments.

So, the next time a comment, action, or situation triggers you, ask yourself, “Is this REAL stuff or is it MY stuff?”

Sometimes it can be a little of both.

If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask for clarity.

And then move on!

The voices in your head can be noisy and disruptive and you need to clear more space for gratitude, self-affirmations, and growth!



  1. This one struck me: “We also all need to pause and think about how the things we say and do may impact others.” Gosh, if only. If only. Especially online.

  2. As a writer, there are things I write that might TRIGGER people. That concept is new to me, having lived vicariously through much gloom and doom. I believe the only way to deal with triggers is to stop, think, and ground ourselves. How can we stop agism for example, if we fail to present ourselves as a shield against it. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  3. Triggers can be hard-wired issues that are hard to escape. I’ve learned to identify them and be aware that I’m being triggered. That’s all I can do. After that, I try and go on.


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