Dec 05 2015

Your Reaction? Your Response?

Are You Reacting


. . . or Responding?



When you make it a habit to choose to respond to problem people and problem situations instead of choosing to react, guess what happens?

  • You eliminate all possibility of ever over-reacting, and that’s a good thing if you own, operate, or manage a business of any kind.
  • It’s also a good thing if you are working your way up the career ladder or committed to creating an aura of professionalism, of peace and calm around your personal and work relationships, your friendships, your family.
  • It even increases your odds of preventing accidents, in addition to enhancing your personal performance, and overall health.

Unless you’re in an emergency situation, a calm and thoughtful response solves more problems more effectively than a frazzled or angry reaction. And you already know that choosing calm and thoughtful over frazzled and angry also helps ensure better and longer-lasting health.

Stop reading this right now, and close your eyes while you take a deep breath or two, and pay particular attention to the fact that it slows your heartbeat, helps you collect your thoughts, and increase your sense of self-control.

Go ahead. Treat yourself for ten or fifteen or thirty seconds. You might surprise yourself. Go on; I’ll wait.

breath cartoon

So now that you’ve jetted your self down a notch, do you feel or think any differently than you did ten sentences ago? Three or four breaths ago? And what does this post make you think about for yourself that you’ve either not been aware of before, or that you have gotten lazy about?

As today’s world swirls, it’s easy to simply forget how important the distinction is between reacting and responding and how rewarding it can be for you to take more deep breaths more often.

The bottom line? Your behavior –your words and actions– is always your choice. Your choice may not always be a conscious one and it could be one that’s the result of a choice you made long ago that’s come full circle to stir up your anxieties. But recognize it for what it is . . . you can choose to make things easy on yourself, or you can choose to make them hard on yourself. Why would you want to choose unproductive upset over productive calm? And, yes, you can choose courage!

More conscious choices come from more conscious awareness. There are many mental and physical tools available to trigger responsive choices. Deep breathing is one of these. Yoga is another. Regular exercise, visualization (imagining/projecting/”seeing yourself” achieve a task or solve a problem before actually responding), are two others. Having goals that are specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated, and in writing can also help you steer yourself in high productivity directions.

Don’t just think about all this. Try it!

Keep your head cool and your feet warm

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Nov 22 2009


“It’s not MY job!”


     Ever heard this before? Or is it just my imagination? Odds are someone in your business either says something like this, or has the underlying attitude but doesn’t express it openly.

     The person who rejects  awareness, spontaneity and (friendship / partner / spousal) intimacy also rejects the responsibility for shaping her or his own life. She or he is someone who thinks of him or herself as either lucky or unlucky, assuming without question that it’s meant to be and: can’t or shouldn’t be changed, or that only ______ can change it.

 Sound familiar? This is the same individual who

     routinely proclaims (or thinks): “It’s not MY job!”

     By contrast, the autonomous person  is concerned with “being.” He or she allows his/her own capacities to unfold and encourages others to do the same. These are the kinds of individuals who project their own possibilities into the future as realistic goals which give aim and purpose to their lives.

     They sacrifice  only when they are giving up a lesser value for a greater value according to their own personal value systems. They are not concerned with getting more, but with being more. 


My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”


     As a business owner or manager, and especially in today’s economy,  you really can’t afford to have people working for you with this attitude. E V E R Y person in your business needs to accept responsibility for doing whatever needs to be done whenever it needs to be done as long as he or she has the ability to do it.

     But this doesn’t mean that you need to be a shrink  with employees who evidence a not-my-job mentality. It DOES suggest that you may want to think hard about keeping this kind of person on payroll.

     If it’s a locked-in situation  and you can’t let go of her or him right now, set a deadline for change, explain it clearly and gently, then teach by example. Do recognize that it takes courage for someone like that to rise to the occasion, and reward any evidence of attempts with “pat-on-the-back” comments and encouragement to keep at it. 

     You’ll always get more of what you genuinely

appreciate, praise and reward.   

With special thanks to human relations/communications consultants Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward for the inspiration and adaptations from their classic book BORN TO WIN: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments    

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Input always welcome “Blog” in subject line or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! Hal

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