Sunday, November 05, 2006

React or respond

This often comes up in my coaching sessions - clients have reacted to an event and we discuss how to respond in a more measured way. Reactions tend to be emotional; often triggered by other things than we have actually seen or heard, and such a reaction doesn’t always give us the result we want!

Now I like to think to think that I walk my talk as a coach, but I must confess that there are a couple of situations to which I react badly, and one of these is when my email fails to work. My usual reaction involves screaming, swearing and shouting – not a pretty sight and certainly not useful or productive.

A couple of weeks ago my email went down. The day before, one of my clients had been telling me how he had lost his wallet just before departing on holiday, and he had chosen to respond calmly instead of reacting badly as he usually would, so he’d been able to start his holiday in a peaceful state of mind (albeit four hours late) and without upsetting his family.

Inspired by this, and knowing that I could react as usual or respond, I made a conscious choice to remain calm. I wrote down details of the error message and researched this on various relevant websites. When this moved me no further forward, I spoke to BT (again staying calm and also being polite), then I asked a colleague for help and he was able to identify that it was a problem with the anti virus programme. Instead of worrying about all the emails that I knew would be piling up, I chose to be pleased that I knew what the issue was and had therefore made some progress. The following day, I had several very long phone calls with various technical people, again making a deliberate choice to be calm, polite and not to worry. Eventually the problem was fixed and I was able to send and receive emails again.

What a difference in how I felt! I was full of energy, and was in such a good place emotionally; easily able to work through all my emails and reassure my husband that all sharp implements could be replaced in the kitchen (he’d moved them as soon as I said 'my email has gone down.')

So the next time something happens that could potentially wind you up – take a breath, choose how you’d like to deal with this situation, what results you want, think about the benefits of responding instead of reacting, remind yourself that you will feel so much better, and respond accordingly.


Post a Comment

<< Home