“Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Do you label events as “good” or “bad” and have predetermined responses to both?

Have you ever acted on your anger, said something you didn’t mean, or did something you later regretted?

Whether you react or choose to respond can be the difference between moving a conversation forward or escalating emotions to a place where useful conversation becomes impossible. We always have a choice as to how we show up and who we choose to be regardless of the situation. However the perception we each have about our past or possible future, if left unchecked will unknowingly influence our communication in the present. Therefore, the difference between responding and reacting in stressful situations can be profound.  

Watch the video as I discuss Communication Mastery. Come explore when you react to events that remind us of our past. Learn 3 key steps you can begin to use to respond to stressful and challenging situations in a way that serves you and everyone around you. Learn why communication mastery is one of the top success habits.

“When you REACT you are giving away your power. When you RESPOND you are staying in control of yourself.” – Bob Proctor

Let’s get clear on the difference between a response and a reaction.

Reactions are instinctual and based in your past. They can be born of your beliefs, values or fears. There’s no filtering process when you react in a situation, you’re basically running on auto-pilot. In other words, when you react, you do and say things without thinking first and don’t consider the implications of what you do or say.  You are being run by your emotions.

Responses are more thoughtful. When you respond, you first reflect and consider the possible outcomes of your reply before speaking. You may examine the pros and cons and consider what would be best for yourself and others to move the situation forward.

Here are 3 simple steps you can use when you notice you’re triggered. 

1- Stop And Simply Breathe. 

As soon as you notice a shift in your energy and a change in your state, take a deep breath. Take the time to become aware and experience the emotions you are feeling. Pause and allow the intensity of the emotion to begin to dissipate.  Often when emotions are high our ability to be rational and communicate effectively is greatly diminished.

2- Label Your Reaction And Ask Yourself Why.

What are you feeling, perhaps it is anger, frustration, worry, or fear?  Take a moment to name the feeling for yourself.  Is it the event that has brought about your emotions or is your reaction triggered by a previous or similar past event. This awareness is key because emotions are often tied to something below the surface and is being triggered by the present event. Your ability to respond and communicate from a place of power requires that you take time to become self-aware. For many this practice takes time.

3- Shift Your Internal Dialogue And Choose A Powerful Response.

After the process of self-reflection, you are now in a position to move from reacting to responding. To powerfully respond is to choose to manage your internal chatter. It is when you are able to communicate or act in ways that move the conversation forward and encourage open and honest dialogue. 

Learning to respond, is the secret to navigating life’s most challenging situations.  It can be the leverage needed to win a sale, be seen as your company’s most valuable asset or finding the patience to listen to your child at the end of a long day. 

P.S:  This week pay attention to the situation where you are tempted to react. Use the 3 steps to begin to master your communication and strengthen your ability to respond.