How Do You Choose To React?

In January, I participated in a common blog activity where I share my #oneword that will launch me into the new year (What Are You Prepared To Do?). It’s a good exercise, and, admittedly, this most recent year has been tough. Yet I recently read something that sparked me and thus I’m embarking on a new exploration where, at the end of the year, I reflect on the learning I’ve done with my #oneword.

My focus in January was on the idea of RESPONSE. And while I imagine the totality of responses that have been generated these last twelve months is likely similar to any other year, it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’ve had to listen and manage and learn. I’ve had to act gently when I was frustrated and lead bravely when I was unsure. Those who’ve read or followed any work by Dr. Brene’ Brown know of her adoration for the Man in the Arena. Well this year, I think each of us has been kicked and knocked down and faced struggles all while daring to be great for those we stand alongside. Yeah, I’m declaring it right now – we’ve earned it.

And so it was on a recent trip that I had a friend lend me her copy of The Gifts of Imperfection. There are many pages I dog-eared and lots of quotes I wrote down, yet the section on calm is what resonates with me today. She defines CALM as “creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity.” In practice, she says that she tries to be slow to respond and quick to think. I love that.

Connecting with others and making yourself vulnerable is hard. And in those moments where you look around and others are looking to you – well – game on! You see, it’s right at that moment that we have the opportunity to choose how we will react? How will we respond? When I’m at my best, I find that I most honor my commitment to a response by slowing down. It’s not weakness or indecisiveness. Rather it deserves to be seen as a strategy – slow on the outside while thinking quickly on the inside.

I understand this isn’t breakthrough science and that many are likely practicing this. Yet it was a helpful reminder to me as I rumbled with my #oneword challenge for 2021.

Thinking about when you’re at you’re best, what’s a practice or behavior that you’d like to replicate more often?