Understanding Triggers and the Power of SCARF

It’s the world’s challenge to provide safe and affordable food, Kay Kuenker, entrepreneur and consultant told delegates at this year’s Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference (West). And, according to Kuenker, women must be involved in addressing this issue.

“Women are showing that every imaginable discipline or role in that can be fulfilled by a woman,” she told RealAgriculture’s Debra Murphy in an interview. “But the point I emphasized was that the skills that come naturally — those soft skills — to women are what are going to be critical — are critical to solving challenges that are so multi-faceted, like feeding the world.”

So what’s holding them back? Kuenker says two of the biggest challenges for women, will be overcoming self-confidence issues and the fear of speaking up. And, just like their male counterparts, women also have the opportunity to better understand reactions to “triggers,” and help get the best performance at work.

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She cited Dr. David Rock’s SCARF Model, an acronynm she says he calls “the five social domains of human existence.” The letters stand for: status, certainty, autonomy, fairness and relatedness.

The acronym helps with the first step in mitigating an emotional response, or, as Kuenker describes “to recognize what trips your trigger.”

When “triggered,” she explains, our energies are going to survival, giving up some of the capabilities of cognitive function. Recognizing what is causing that, can help shift the limbic system back to a more “toward state.”

Other things Kuenker suggests doing is looking at the issue from a different perspective, and practicing mindfulness. The internet is full of resources to help with these challenges, and Kuenker suggests reading Rock’s book: Your Brain at Work.

“These concepts hold wherever you are in life.”