Deer In The Headlights


On Vancouver Island we enjoy one of the most prolific and elusive deer varieties, the Black Tail. In my family growing up it was almost expected that any new car would be christened, like a swinging champagne bottle on a ship, with the imprint of a Black Tail Deer as it would leap onto the road, freeze and stare down our headlights.

This was especially an issue during the Fall rut when buck common sense and caution is thrown to the wind in exchange for the breeding rights of a doe.

As a complete side note for the Australian readers who love us Canadians telling bear stories, our son-in-law from England has super-sized his Canadian car christening, while travelling 80 km/hour on a rainy dark evening and having a giant black bear run into his vehicle. The local game warden couldn’t locate the bear but the bear’s mark was left on the front quarter panel and his hair was embedded in between the wheel and the rim of the tire.
Back to deer in the headlights.

This expression describes a state of mind in which we are suddenly stunned by a moment and freeze, “staring at the oncoming lights unable to move.” Interestingly this “state of mind” can be a 3 second episode where we momentarily “black out” with a microphone in our hand at our daughter’s wedding to a full season (potentially lasting for months/years) of being unsure and unable to make definitive moves.

Sound a little like some of your life over the past two years? Imagine being an HR or safety director navigating the revolving rules, regulations and mandates, not being able to execute midterm planning or able to anticipate the next announcement. This has left a lot of professionals with deep chronic brain fatigue – “deer in the headlights.”

Our lives are fuelled with motion. Like a deer we thrive on routines and safe corridors. Commuting to work, delivering results, hanging out with family and friends, planning interesting weekends, dreaming about vacations.

Now take that wonderful routine or as the clinicians call it, “homeostasis” and plant yourself on the edge of your bed with a temporary fold away table with endless ZOOM calls with no clue what is going to happen next and you have just described a full blown 2 years of deer in the headlights.

Just before you think we can return to some semblance of “normal” lets super-size uncertainty this time with a war in Europe. And then how about an FED-Digital Currency or some other local, geopolitical or world-wide shocker.

I know this is metaphorical advice but work with me.

Take a breath, wash your face with cold water and get off the DAM ROAD before you get killed by the next on-coming crises.

Find your new friends, find your new safe corridors, find a new meadow, forest and stream and start living your life again.

And even though you may not have the seasonal impulses of deer during the rut; love, make love, have babies, raise families, coach sports, build woodsheds and have a good time doing it.

If we all take some of this to heart there is a possibility that we will find a new pattern of living that is not ruled by the next crisis.

Steven Falk

P.S. Don’t forget, People Can Change and The Power of Success is in TEAM

Learn How Think Like a World-Class Leader by leveraging neuroplasticity to benefit yourself and your organization. Understand your thoughts, manage your memories and stress.