What would you do if you were alone and confronted with a very real threat to your personal safety? Typically there are three courses of action: fight, flight, or freeze.
You may think “oh it wouldn’t ever happen to me,” but that’s falling into the trap of what we call “normalcy bias.” In fact, this very thing recently happened to a Utah mother of six. Now, she’s sitting down with Austin Davis to discuss the terrifying encounter she faced and how she responded.
Shanna is an avid runner. She’s currently training for a marathon, which – if you know anything about running – you know requires a great deal of training. As a result, she typically runs six days a week.
With young children, the only time she is really able to train is early in the morning before sunrise. In Shanna’s community, most everyone knows everyone, so she’s always felt very comfortable running at this time.
But on this November morning, she happened to see a strange car that she wasn’t familiar with. Worse still, it pulled out from where it was parked and began to follow her. Shanna was understandably panicked, but she made sure to keep a cool head and get herself to safety.
Combatting Normalcy Bias
“I’m comfortable in my surroundings, but I don’t let my comfort put me on ‘relax’…”Shanna Birchett, Runner and mom of six
Even though Shanna was familiar and comfortable with her surroundings, she still keeps precautionary measures at the forefront of her mind whenever she goes out to run in the early morning. If you ask Austin, having this mindset works to your advantage – you’re familiar enough with the area to have a baseline, but you don’t let normalcy bias get to you. You’re not at such a heightened level of security that you’re nervous to go out, but you’re still capable of responding should a crisis arise.
While we can’t prepare for absolutely everything, and we hope the day never comes where you have to put these skills to the test, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. That way, you can not only protect yourself, but you can be a guardian always and a warrior when needed for those who matter most to you.
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