A blog about leadership and confidence.

by Lisa Hinz     •      Leadership Development

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Are You Responding or Are You Reacting?

Responding or Reacting

I think we’ve all been there at some point – wishing we wouldn’t have let our emotions take over our logic.


And why do we do it?


Because it’s easier. It takes very little to no control to simply react in a situation. The brain doesn’t have to work.


A reaction is instinctive, instant, and emotional and is driven by the unconscious mind.


Instead of reacting, you can choose to respond, which is less emotional and more logical.


A response is considerate, controlled, and is a conscious choice.  Responding is harder because we have to put thought into it – it takes work.


There may be a variety of reasons why a person might want to intentionally use one over the other (not accounting for dangerous situations when you need to react to survive). However, take a step back, look at the situation, and imagine which might have a more productive outcome?


Here are five steps to help turn your reactions into responses:


1 – Pause. Pause and take a few deep breaths.


2 – Timeout. If you need time to properly respond, don’t be afraid to say that you would rather speak after having some time to digest what you’ve learned so that the conversation can be more productive.


3 – Triggers. Pay attention to your triggers. Someone can only push a button that already exists, so if you’re being triggered, there is a reason why. Identifying the trigger can help you get to the root cause of the issue and see your current situation from a different perspective.


4 – Ask Yourself:
-  How appropriate was my reaction?
-  What story am I telling myself that’s causing my reaction?
-  What else may really be going on here?


5 – Future Response. If this situation comes up again, how can I better handle it?


Once you react, you can’t take it back, so try to take a moment to think before you do.

Lisa Hinz Writing

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