Ever been in a conversation and tuned the other person out because you were busy crafting your reply? Ever felt like you're having the same argument over and over again? Ever played out a fight "scenario" in your mind even before you have entered the conversation? (ie. "they are going to say this (point), then I am going to say that (counterpoint)") Ever been pissed off and called a friend to vent, and nattered on for 10 minutes without taking a breath? You're not alone.

Our bodies are smart. We have primal instincts and pre-programmed strategies (fight or flight) for avoiding danger that have kept us safe from harm for centuries. It's what has allowed us to survive and evolve. In this day and age, where most of us in the developed world are safe, (as in, we won't be eaten by a lion any time soon) these instincts that have historically worked as survival mechanisms for physical danger now work to keep us safe from emotional, mental, and social distress. For example, when you were a kid (or adult), were you ever so embarrassed you thought you might actually die? *nods head*

The reality is that our body is giving us signals and messages all the time. We just aren't always listening to it. What we are often listening to is that small voice in our head that tells us not to go down that dark alley alone at night, and that also tells us if we aren't wearing the right outfit to the party that we aren't good enough. #whytho

What if we paid attention to our bodies more? What if you could turn down the chatter of the small voice, slow down, and truly listen? To yourself, and to others? This is the difference between reaction and response. Reacting is a knee-jerk, shoot-from-the-hip way of handling biz that usually ends with a result you hadn't intended. Responsiveness is when you are truly listening - letting others finish a thought, paying attention to how you're feeling in your body, taking time to let the small voice chatter wash away and then bringing your true thoughts to the table (not the auto-reply that comes up fast and furious). Reaction uses a part of your brain that is automatic - no new solutions are made here - which is why you may be having the "same fight" with no resolution at the end.

When we listen (to ourselves and the other) with the intent to fully understand, we can create new outcomes, solve problems, collaborate effectively. In order to do so, we've got to draw awareness to when we are in reaction, stop it, and create a new way forward based in choice. There is no better feeling than standing in your truth and being clear, and when you listen with the intent to understand, you give others the space and the opportunity to that too.

The responsibility can be with the listener.

xo Syd

For a deeper dive into this and more concepts and tools to help you communicate better, create clearer goals, and live your life on purpose, check out the Lightyear Leadership Level 1 course I am offering in 2018.

Sydney Guevremont
Sydney Guevremont