Article by Anna D'Arcy, Life & Executive Coach, Seachange Now
Have you ever walked away from a situation or a conversation wishing that you could undo your reaction; that you could take back what you said or did? Elvis Presley was onto something when he sang “Wise Men Say only Fools Rush In” This is the difference between choosing to react or respond to things. Oftentimes we jump in with both feet (react) without considering the impact of our actions, either on other people or indeed on ourselves. If we add stress to the situation, this gets even more infused. Reacting is knee-jerk – an instinct; usually one with no filter. When we respond to a situation, we are far more composed. There may even be a mindful pros & cons list developed internally.
As a Coach I love working on the power of the pause with my clients. We focus on recognising the triggers when they arise & then come up with some tricks to help create a gap before responding. I find it so empowering and exciting to think that just by taking a breath, a matter of seconds, we have the choice to either react or respond to a situation.
In the current online work-world, we’re finding that people are rushing to action very quickly. The world of Zoom & Teams has become very task focused. Obviously we are all very aware of people getting fatigued by online meetings so there is the need to keep things succinct however there can be a downside to this. When we move too fast to action and don’t spend enough time on why we are doing something, inevitably we don’t get the outcome we were hoping for.
When our eldest son was 8, I went to his first parent teacher meeting since moving back to Ireland from living in Switzerland. He’d had a rude awakening to the local school system over there so we were really concerned as to how he was settling in. When I asked how he was socialising his teacher replied “Fools rush in & your son is no fool”. I was amazed! Eight years later I am still amazed – how did he get to be so clever?
Now, I am no fool either but I am definitely a rusher-inner! I have often found myself in situations where my hand is up offering myself before the request has even been finished. This is something that I continuously work on and I have resigned myself to the fact that it will probably be a lifelong challenge…as I sign up to another school social committee J So breathe, take that pause, regain your composure and as a team, spend time discussing the ‘why’ before you develop the action plan. It saves time & energy in the long run.
Have you found any good techniques to help you respond rather than react?