“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
As a business owner or leader it is essential to choose your response rather than being on “automatic pilot.”
Some years ago I watched a programme about the secrets of the “Super Rich.” It focused on the experiences of Richard Block and David Quayle. They co-founded the very successful B & Q chain of do-it-yourself stores in the UK.
After selling their stakes in the company, Block and Quayle, like many entrepreneurs, went on to create other businesses.
Their responses to the challenges they faced post B & Q were very different. At the time of the programme Quayle had recovered from some unsuccessful ventures and generated even more wealth. His response was to take full accountability, recognise his errors, and adapt his strategy.
In contrast, Block complained and blamed exogenous factors for the failure of his business. He chose to attribute the problem to the weak economy. He did not acknowledge his poor business decisions and he didn’t learn from his mistakes.
As Viktor Frankl recounted in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, we can choose how we respond to any circumstances, even the most harrowing conditions in a concentration camp. If we behave as victims and blame everyone else or external factors we will not survive.
Questions for reflection:
What is your typical response when things go wrong?
Do you acknowledge your role or are you defensive, finding excuses and people to blame?
Do you allow your emotions of anger and frustration to hijack how you engage with others?
Steps you can take:
First build your capacity to choose a different response by becoming more self-aware. We explored several ways to accomplish this in “Business success lies in knowing yourself”
However, this may not be enough to expose your blind spots. You could ask for feedback from colleagues or partner with a coach.
You need to manage your energy and emotions. You can practise the thoughts and actions to shift from victim or destroyer to the more solutions-oriented healer or warrior.
Also changing our responses is not only about our thoughts and emotions.
As Aboodi Shabi explains how we hold and move our bodies also impacts how flexible we are in our responses to different people and challenges.
Caloni, Sylvana. (2015). Emotions and Motivation
Frankl, Viktor E. (1985). Man’s Search for Meaning. US: Simon & Schuster
Shabi, Aboodi. (2016). The Body of Learning
Strozzi-Heckler, Richard. (2007). The Leadership Dojo. US: Frog Ltd
If you would like to explore how to acknowledge and manage your emotions to become a more successful and engaging leader contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me +44 (0) 20 7226 3611 or +44 (0) 79520 68133