Your Personal Response

Your Personal Response: (Audio)

In a flash, the schedule was overwhelmed. Before you know it the mind was melting from too many pieces of the puzzle in play. It was no longer a simple day, it was full blown overwhelming.

Amazing, isn’t it? Your day gets started like normal and before you know it the crisis of all crisis is flooding your world. Only, it’s not just one big thing, it’s like all the other little tasks woke up in the middle of the night saying, “Feed me, Seymour!” Do you get the connection? Nevermind. You just had to be there!

I’ve learned that in a moment of being overwhelmed with life that it’s time to put a Halt on all activity and revamp! Of course, emergencies automatically go to the top of the list, then, with a priority system in place everything else sort of lines up. From top to bottom, you squelch the lower items from demanding attention and tackle the most important ones first.

This happened overnight. Maybe there was a hint of it late last night. It seems the computer was draggy, the internet connection was boggy, and nothing felt like it should. You know. Controlled! Operational! Flowing like hot lava! Then, the morning, nothing was working like it should. Computers. Phone. Tablet. Windows and Apple devices overwhelmed with S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G…and I could not put my finger on the problem. Websites would barely open, and then go into a permanent wait status. Rebooting every device, including the modem, failed to solve the issue.

So, your logical brain kicks in and says, “Identify the symptoms, perform diagnosis, and take the necessary repair steps.” In that order. No distractions. Symptoms? Noted and described. Diagnosis? All reporting tools point to a possible issue. Repair? Just one little kick in the proverbial pants and the system is back to normal.

About 2 hours later, of course. Now, I’m ready to face the day. Repaired. Recovered. And behind…

  • If all of this happens while you are driving 70 mph down the freeway, your reactions are different, the mind works faster as the adrenaline kicks in, and your car responds to how you choose to handle the crisis! They never allowed us to test this in driving school, did they?!
  • If your child falls back on her head and runs screaming down the hallway with blood pouring down her back, and you are babysitting and cooking, well, momma mode kicks in. You become everything needed for the moment with no qualms about your actions! That’s how my bride reacts!
  • If your boss calls you to the office and you know in the pit of your stomach something negative is about to happen, then you buck up and face it like a bull in a china cabinet! No rolling over and playing dead for me! Fight back! Yep…I’ve had to do this several times!

I’m just saying, we all have a reaction system. With a little forethought, we respond better than if it’s the first time with no training! Sometimes we over react and it’s negative. The obverse is equally true, we under react and get trounced by the situation.

Each of us, different from everyone around us, learn how to respond by example from someone else. Whether a better or worse example, we learn how to do, or not to do. It’s either taught or caught. Our responses seldom come from a natural place where we just seem to know what to do every time.

Back in the early 1980’s, I took over a department and it was my job to conduct a morning meeting that had a reputation for being negative and harsh. Slice and dice and feed ’em to the fishes, or at least that’s the way some felt after being hammered on by others. My first morning, I was determined not to let this happen. But it did. Negative. Someone throws something. Words and emotions flare. I dismissed the attendees, canceled the meeting for several days, analyzed the problem, found support for change, installed some corrective actions, called everyone back together, set some new ground rules, and never experienced the problem again.

If only life was this easy! But it can be. Here are three things to consider for a better response to your problems.

Control the emotional response.

Emotions are normal, and according to many, they are the positive part of creativity.

“Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.” ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

Still, they are indicators to how we accept or reject situations. Controlling the emotions, allows you to revert back to logic and reason as you deal with problems. I may not be able to hide my emotions, that blush of red will flash in my cheeks, but the way I deal with the problem is logical as long as I do not let the flush consume my response.

Dig for Facts

I’ve often taught there are 40 sides to every story. You only get one side of a story when you ask one person for their view of the facts. And they will give you their view, opinions, and solution! You will need to dig through these to get that one person’s facts and separate them from their emotions.

But you do not stop with just one set of facts. You keep digging, looking for all the nitty gritty. It’s like Jesus asking his disciples for the view of who he was to the crowds. (Matthew 16:13-20) It’s easy to tell what you think everyone else is thinking. Right? You’ve done your surveys, you read the body language, you listen to the words, and you flood your own mind with what you think everyone else thinks…

But what do you know? “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts,” says Joe Friday on every episode of Dragnet as he and his detective partners attempt to solve the crime of the week. Maybe this should be a mantra behind our desk as we attempt to get a handle on the facts needed for the current crisis.

Think before speaking.

Again and again, we know that too often we are thinking about how to respond while the issue is being put before us. A lot of brain calories are draining away because we do not attempt to hear out the situation, think it through, and then respond with all the facts. And not just emotions.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” ~Napoleon Hill

I understand attorneys are good at getting to the bottom of an issue by leaving silence on the table as a tool to get the person they are interviewing to keep on talking, and thus giving them more ammunition to win their case. Why someone on the interview stand does not simply refuse to be bullied into talking and revealing some fact without thinking through their words is a total mystery to me. It seems that the Perry Mason’s of the world know how to get people to talk before they think.


Our personal response to every situation needs to be managed. Learning the power of saying “no” to yourself can be a game changer! Knee jerk reactions should not be tolerated by any of us. Someone gets hurt. Someone loses. What if it’s you?