As we start this new month I wanted to chat about the value of examining the patterns, triggers and habits in your life and business. 

Let me start by asking you, what do you do when…
* You’re tired?
* Someone says no?
* Your spouse or friend questions the fact that you’re still doing this business?
* You miss an end-of-the-month goal?
* Your kids are disrespectful or challenging?
* Someone else in your organization hits the rank you’ve been running for and she started her business after you did?
* Something you were looking forward to gets cancelled?
* Your spouse forgot to pick up that dinner ingredient at the store?*Someone close says something hurtful?

There are three response options when things happen to us and around us. We can react, retreat or reset.   Which is your most common response to the situations above (or similar ones)? Reacting? Retreating or Resetting? 

Ideally, we want to reset…and the quicker the better.  When we reset, we stay in control of our emotions and are better equipped to move forward.  The retreat is the one we definitely want to avoid.  For our discussion here, I’m going to focus on reacting. 

First, why do we react?

Things that people say and do often hit a button inside of us…touching on things we’re already sensitive about…which causes us to react.  These can include old beliefs about ourselves and perceived weaknesses…raw areas, if you will.  All of us have these areas of sensitivity that can set us off in the right moment..especially when we’re stressed, tired, overwhelmed, hungry, etc. 

So you don’t think you’re alone, some of the things that hit a nerve for me include not being a good mom and thinking that others don’t think I know what I’m doing.  Even though I’ve worked on this for a while, these buttons still get pushed now and then.  

Years ago, I was sitting at my daughter’s violin lesson.  At the time, I was a full-time teacher, raising a family and had other responsibilities in church and the community.  I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep.  Can you relate? While sitting in the room with Rachel and her teacher, listening to the soft melodies of the violin, I accidentally drifted off to sleep.  As much as I tried to stay awake, I couldn’t resist the urge to close my eyes.  After a while, young Rachel noticed I was sleeping and thought it would be funny to poke my nose with her violin bow to wake me.  When she did, I reacted.  I got upset with her (of course, not until we left the teacher’s home).  Later, I realized that my reaction was coming from embarrassment.  A “good” mom wouldn’t have fallen asleep.  I was judging myself against the bar I had in my head of what a “good” mom would do…which was already a trigger for me.    

The reaction usually comes because of what we say to ourselves after other people stop talking, like I did after Rachel poked me with her bow.  If I think my husband is questioning something that I did, my brain can start saying, “He doesn’t think I know what I’m doing.” Or even as far as, “He thinks I’m an idiot”.  

What does your mind tell you when someone says no to your business opportunity? Does it say something encouraging, like “No worries. You got this. There are many more people who are looking.” Or does it say, “This isn’t going to work. I can’t build this. Who was I to think I could be successful?”.  If we’re already a little sensitive because some of our business activities take us outside our comfort zone, our mind can start really chattering.  But remember, other people didn’t say all those things.  You did.

Second, what is it costing us?  

What are your reactions costing you?  Are they costing you quality relationships, a calm and peaceful mind, business advancement, money? The cost of reacting is usually high…as is the cost of hiding.  Both are expensive.
What are your reactions costing you? 
Are they costing you quality relationships, a calm and peaceful mind, business advancement, money? Probably so.
The cost of reacting is usually high…as is the cost of hiding
Both are expensive.  
Here are some steps you can take to change how you are responding in these situations. 

1. Keep your goal (your why) in front of you.  When we keep our goals in front of us, the obstacles don’t seem as big and we are more likely to minimize the challenges instead of dramatize them.

2. Know thyself.  Know your triggers and notice your current frame of mind.  If you are hungry, tired or stressed, do a little reset (I have some tools if you need help with this) before you pick up the phone to have a conversation about your business. Be honest with yourself about potential negative reactions and mind chatter.

3. Be as present as possible.  This conserves your mental energy and helps reduce overwhelm.  When you’re focusing on business…focus on business.  When you’re at work, with your family or relaxing, don’t think that you should be working on your business. This way, you’ll be more refreshed when you sit down for business hours.

4. If you really want to make changes, a good question to ask yourself is, “How is this reaction habit serving me?” We only continue to do something if it is serving us in some way.  Or in other words, providing something for us that we need or crave…like validation, credit, self-esteem boost, etc. It’s the same for your family members and team.  You can also keep a record of situations and reactions that were less than stellar.  Notice any patterns.  What was going on and how could it have gone differently? Then, commit to make small changes.  If this is happening with your family or team members, you could enlist their support by telling them about the changes you want to make and being accountable. 

As you think about what triggers, patterns and habits you have, also keep in mind that everyone in your family, friend circle and business team has their own collection.  Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t know what they are.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they were written on their forehead!?!?! Ask yourself… How could their reaction habits be serving them?? As you interact with, attempt to motivate and build relationships with those around you, remember that you don’t always know what’s going on – and that everyone is different and reacts differently in situations.