PAUSE. REFLECT. ACT.
Every day our emotions and instincts kick in to guide our responses to a variety of situations. Sometimes our instinctive reactions serve us well, like when we start running to make an approaching train or say yes to a friend's last-minute dinner invitation.
When it comes to most professional challenges, however, knee-jerk reactions do not serve us. We need need tap into our thoughtfulness, resourcefulness and strategic thinking abilities in order to create thriving professional lives.
How do we do this? We pause. We reflect. We choose.
Before responding to a situation, take a moment to pause and allow for a thoughtful response. A pause can come in the form of a breath, taking a sip of water or shifting your physical position. Simply pushing your chair back from the conference room table during a heated meeting can create a bit of space for you to reflect.
After pausing, do a quick three-point check in. This can take just 30 seconds once you get into the habit.
Unsure about what feelings and needs are motivating you? Check out the Feelings Inventory and the Needs Inventory, courtesy of the Center for Nonviolent Communication. Familiarize yourself with these inventories so you can better name feelings and needs in the moment.
Having trouble connecting with your strengths? Write a list of 5 career experiences that you are proud of AND identify the strengths you displayed in those experiences. How do those strengths support you in any situation?
Now that you have paused and reflected, you can make a conscious choice about how to respond. Chances are you will make a more empowered, effective choice than if you had just relied on instinct and emotion.