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Don’t REACT

We live in fast paced times. Everything is instant, now, immediate. The mobile phone in our pocket continuously prompts us to take action, usually for someone else. We have text, What’s App, email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter all streaming messages about instant gratification. We have become a slave to reacting instantly to any given situation. When we face a challenge we have become conditioned to instantly REACT.

In my experience REACTing can be dangerous! Often our state of mind is inappropriate for the message we are receiving. It might be aggressive or conflict based. Your thoughts immediately start thinking irrationally and we are prone to an instant outburst of feelings. Sometimes these outbursts are inappropriate and potentially more damaging to the situation.

Here is my 4 step ‘R Plan’ to help you stop REACTing

1.      RELAX – by relaxing we take away the immediacy and urgency of the situation. You might want to meditate, go for a walk, take some fresh air, exercise. Whatever works for you to get to a more relaxed state – and don’t rush this. It might take 5 minutes but equally it might be a few days. Have you ever looked back in astonishment about something that happened 6 months ago but feel like it happened yesterday? Yet projecting forward can seem a lifetime away. It all depends on your perspective – it’s all the same time!!

2.      REFLECT – take time to really look at the challenging situation you face. Put it in perspective. Talk it over with other trusted parties. What has driven the other person to create or raise this problem? How serious is it in the grand scheme of things? What are the real drivers?

3.      RESPOND – when, and only when, you are comfortable and ready, make a considered response to the problem. You are likely to feel better about it yourself and so is the other party. Make the response appropriate for the situation. Sometimes this may be facing a situation and not running from it. Be a Buffalo – they run towards and through a storm, thereby limiting their exposure. Cattle run with the storm greatly increasing the length of time enduring the discomfort.

4.      RESOLVE – there will always be some common ground to build a solution on. Look at collaborating to reach resolution. That way everyone wins. You will feel better and more confident in yourself and greater respect will be generated. This doesn’t mean giving in, whilst that may mean an easy first hit, it may prolong the pain.

So next time you face a challenging situation don’t REACT just follow my 4 step ‘R Plan’ and reach RESOLUTION faster.

I’d be interested to hear your stories of how this works for you. Please share your experiences.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn

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