Act. Dont react.

I was having a bit of chit chat with @LearningGrump today about the way in which people react.

The question he’d posed was specific; “Are people really that pathetic that if you tell them they’re under-performing they threaten to leave the company?”

I sit with the HR Team in our office and see how people here react when faced with an *under-performance* rap and can confirm that it seems to be pretty typical to make *threats* of this nature. However I don’t think it’s pathetic. It’s a pretty standard human reaction. A knee-jerk reaction; a reaction that occurs when faced with a situation that feels like a personal attack on your integrity, reputation, values or intelligence.

Being aware of yourself, and specifically the consequence of your (re)actions, is what marks the difference between a reaction and a response.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you review the data in front of you, suss out the possible outcomes based on cold, hard facts, then there’s a good chance that your approach to resolving the situation will be calm, measured and pragmatic.

Whereas if you respond emotionally, without taking the opportunity to mentally count to ten, then it’s highly likely to be a complete car crash. You’ll most probably box yourself into a bit of a corner, end up in a situation you don’t want to be in and struggle to maintain any dignity.

We’ve all been guilty of responding emotionally – not rationally – at times. I’ve been accused of being the *Queen of over-reaction* at times in the past (no I’m not perfect) and you know what? I think some people might have had a point about the person I was back then.

However a few experiences have taught me that facing into something and proactively managing it, as opposed to simply having a bit of a hissy fit, means you get to the right result.

This whole running lark has been a great learning experience for me. Part of the reason that I am doing the London Marathon is because someone told me that I would never be able to do it. At the time I believed them and parked it as a stupid idea.

When I got the offered a place in January I did the sensible thing and slept on it. I thought about all of the possible outcomes. What would be the worst thing that could happen? What would be the best thing that could happen? And then I made a decision. Come up with a plan and have a bloody good crack at it.

Since then I’ve had various comments levelled at me – ranging from “you’re utterly mental” to “you won’t finish in less than five hours” – and most of these comments have come from well-meaning friends. Friends with no agenda, just an opinion that they think I should hear. And that’s fine – I’m not going to react to their opinion – it is their opinion after all, therefore it’s valid to them.

However what turns this situation into one that I will respond to, as opposed to one that I will react to, is that I know the facts:
• I came up with a plan (and a grand one it is at that) and have worked really hard over the last 9 weeks to build up my strength, fitness and stamina. In fact I think I’m fitter now than I have been for a bloody long time.
• I’ve made sure I’ve done all the sensible things – cutting out booze, calming down the social life and eating more healthily – just don’t mention the fags…. Three out of four isn’t bad right?
• I’ve sought out advice from lots of people – hard core runners, personal trainers and all sorts – and I’ve learnt a few handy hints and tips along the way that I’d never even have considered!
• I know that I’m physically, emotionally and mentally capable of doing this and have a great set of friends around me for when I have the odd navel gazing moment.

These days I’m still more than capable of having a *gob in gear, mind in neutral* moment as my Pa would call it, however I’ve come to realise that I am really bloody happy when I focus my brain, use my energy wisely, come up with a plan and crack on with the job at hand.

Reaction isn’t good for the soul.

One thought on “Act. Dont react.

  1. >Take TWO!Best respond to the above then! My wording was deliberately provocative as I wanted to see what response Twitter would come up with. I had 'line manager must be awful', to 'cos they can't handle the truth', to 'not turning up for formal meetings about it'! Interesting range, and helps inform me of some motivations.For me, it's a sign of weakness if that's your response. How does Bob expect to grow if he doesn't face the challenge and improve? Running away will solve nothing. But there are always underlying reasons and we need to understand them. Not at exit interview when the decision and paperwork is submitted, but earlier, when there is a chance to salvage the situation. Reactions are understandable. How we respond to them make the difference.

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