Leadership Skills # 2: Mind the Gap

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom”

Viktor Frankl

Instant reactions to situations always yield a different kind of result. The width of the gap between stimulus and response and our subsequent power to choose is dependent on our conscious awareness of it. How we respond, what we do, and how we behave then get governed by how wider that perceived gap is for us.

Create a ‘pause’

It is always great to slow down a bit and make decisions coming from a place of little more thought and awareness. It is necessary to detach oneself from impulsive thoughts and poorly thought-out actions.

One needs to STOP, BREATHE and NOTICE what you are experiencing in a non-judgemental way. For non-critical things, go back to them when you are ready. If something is stressful, give it time and space than you would have.

Honest Reflection

Start learning to recognize this space between stimulus and response. Learn to utilize his pause and to recognize what is really going on, as opposed to what you think is going on or perhaps becoming aware of something you had previously not even noticed. Increased awareness supports a decrease in stress.

It will be inevitable to avoid knee-jerk reactions but an honest reflection is more important. We can ask ourselves: What was going on for me at that moment? What did I do to contribute to that? What can I do now to improve the situation?

The more we’re willing to take an honest look at the circumstances, events, and conflicts in our lives, the greater our ability to widen the gap in the future. We need to empower ourselves to do that!

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