Pausing in the Moment

To go through the process of applying consequential thinking, it’s essential to be able to really pause, even when you are emotionally triggered and want to respond right away.

For the pause to be effective, it has to create enough space that you can stop endlessly re-generating the same emotions with your thoughts. Consider this example:

Let’s say a coworker took credit for a project I did. When it first happens, my body is flooded with emotion chemicals that make me feel angry. Research says that it takes about six seconds for those chemicals to be absorbed by the body once they are released. 

But I get stuck in this cycle of triggering the same emotional response over and over with my thoughts: “I can’t believe that happened,” or “What were they thinking?” or “I’m right because…” So I keep fueling the anger and releasing the neurohormones associated with it.

In times like this, it’s essential to pause and reset your emotional center before making a decision about how to respond. But here’s the key: the pause has to be distracting enough. You have to really think about something else.

Barbara Fatum from Six Seconds offers some advice on what to think about to sufficiently distract yourself.

The Six Seconds Pause

The Six Seconds Pause is a trick that helps you to regain the balance between your thoughts and feelings. When emotions are triggered and outweigh your thoughts, you might find yourself reacting on impulse versus carefully weighing your choices and options.

The Six Seconds Pause requires that you think about something challenging. This brings in cognitive activity to help you not get caught up in the emotional moment. It ultimately distracts your focus on the situation and emotions. 

For example, when you find yourself in a situation where you are overwhelmed by strong emotions, try to: 

To hear what else Barbara Fatum has to say on this topic, visit: https://s3.amazonaws.com/6secus/eqlib/2_5B+Barbara+Fatum.mp4

Pay attention for opportunities to practice the Six Seconds pause this week. Notice the imbalance between your thoughts and your feelings.

In the heat of the moment, pause and practice one of the cognitive exercises described above. Notice what happens to your feelings.

Once your feelings and thoughts are back in balance, consider the options and choices you have in the situation? How might you see the situation from a different perspective?

Plan to share the six seconds pause with someone else and the new discoveries are making.

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Large To Small

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you are facing a problem, feeling so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to begin? Often times the consequence of a facing a large problem can paralyze our creative thinking and decision making. The idea of taking the problem and chunking it into smaller bites can help it feel more manageable and solvable.

Chunk It Out

Think about a current problem or decision you are facing. 

When facing a problem or decision, consider these three questions to help provide clarity on your options. Click on each TAB to reveal more.

As you consider this problem, what is within your control?

What can you influence?

What is important, but not something you can change or influence?

As you encounter a problem or challenge this week:

Practice categorizing what is in your control and influence, and what is not.

Pay attention to how this impacts your effectiveness, relationships, well-being, and overall satisfaction.

Pay attention to how this practice impacts your thoughts and feelings when facing challenges.

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Three Questions

Timing is everything. Right? I was recently in a conversation with a family member that was definitely stirring up some emotion in me. I could feel it, sense it, but didn’t really take the time to examine it. What was going on? What was I feeling? Why was I feeling this way? What was the wisdom in the feelings?

Before I knew it, I blurted something out. There was no thinking about it on my part. I didn’t consider the consequences of my words, and I certainly didn’t think about the timing of my words either. 

Before I knew it, I blurted something out.

As we grow in emotional intelligence, we learn to pay attention to what is going on inside…all those emotions that are stirring up auto-pilot reactions. With practice, we can learn to take a six seconds pause so that we can be more intentional and purposeful with our words and in our actions.

Three Questions

Justin Bariso’s article, These Three Questions Will Immediately Increase Your Emotional Intelligence, suggests three powerful questions to help you prevent saying something you might later regret., suggests three powerful questions to help you prevent saying something you might regret later.

Does this need to be said?
There are times when our thoughts don’t need to be shared. Maybe this is a time to just listen, to gather information, to see something from someone else’s perspective.

Does this need to be said by me?
Although what we have to say may be true and important, we are not always the right person to give the message. Consider whether or not you are the right source for the message. Is this something that would be received better by someone else? Or is this something that will be learned through experience instead?

Does this need to be said by me right now?
Timing. It could be everything in some cases. Timing gives us a chance to solidify our thoughts, opinions, and ideas. It also gives us a chance to consider the consequences of our words. Maybe what we have to say is important, but is it important in this very moment, or can it wait?

In your daily conversations this week, find an opportunity to push pause and ask yourself the three questions.

Does this need to be said?

Does this need to be said by me?

Does this need to be said by me right now?

While you have the pause button pushed, use this opportunity to also turn inward and pay attention to what else is going on? What feelings are you experiencing? What are your thoughts?

What patterns are you noticing about your feelings and thoughts in these moments? What triggers are you noticing?

If you are answering NO to any of the three questions above, what are the consequences of holding back?

Share your observations, insights, and learnings around these three questions with someone this week.

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Seeking Multiple Perspectives

The Situation

The Vice President of our department called a meeting. Just a week ago, he presented a problem and asked us to take some time and come back with some possible solutions. I was ready.  I had what I thought was a perfect idea. I already ran it by several of my colleagues, and they were all in agreement. This would work.

Then there was my nemesis. Don’t get me wrong, I considered her my friend outside of work, but at work…we just didn’t see eye to eye.

I presented the idea with full confidence. My colleagues and the VP showed equal enthusiasm…and then it happened.

Ms. Nay Sayer dropped her pen on the table and sucked in air like it was her last breath. (She did this every time she was going to disagree with someone.) I knew it was coming. She pointed out every flaw in my idea and every reason it wouldn’t work. 

Annoyed. Irritated. Frustrated. Disappointed. Did I say annoyed? These are the feelings that ran instantly through me. Sadly, she was right. How did I not see what was so clear to her?

It took me longer than it should of, but I eventually realized I needed to proactively seek out her perspective on my innovative ideas. I needed her perspective. Her precise, analytical, critical thinking. And well, she needed me too.

Seeking Multiple Perspectives

Identify a current challenge, problem, or decision you need to make. 

1

Focus
Describe what is happening with the situation.

As you reflect on how you are describing the situation, where is your focus? Is it more towards the rational facts and information, or does it lean towards the human element of emotion, feelings, and response to the situation?

Click on the TAB below that DOES NOT match your focus to reveal what someone with the OPPOSITE focus might consider.

Rational Focus notices details such as facts, data, trends, cause and effect, etc.  A person who has a rational focus will help you to see the who, what, where, when, why, etc. of the situation.

Emotional Focus notices impact on others including their reactions, feelings, body language. A person with an emotional focus will pick up on the feelings experienced by others and respond to the emotions in a way that connects with the other person.

2

Decisions
Now with that same situation in mind, what options do you have? Take a minute to list at least three options.

Did your options include evaluative thought with empirical evidence to support your choice? Or, were they more creative and innovative with a bit of risk attached to your choices?

Click on the TAB below that DOES NOT match your decision-making process to reveal how someone with the OPPOSITE approach might enhance your current perspective.

Evaluative Decisions are thought out with research and careful precision. A person who makes evaluative decisions are likely to take less risk and require more time to consider the possibilities. If you seek their input, they will help you think through all the details that may lead to a negative result.

Innovative Decisions are generally more creative and out of the box thinking. A person who makes innovative decisions is not afraid of taking risks or making mistakes. They learn from their misses and they try again. If you seek their input, they will help you brainstorm and see the problem from many different perspectives.

3

Drive 
Finally, what actions are you most likely to take to resolve this issue?

Are your actions more practical and short-term focused on what can be done right now or are they more idealistic and future-focused?

Click on the TAB below that DOES NOT match your drive to reveal how someone with the OPPOSITE drive might see things differently.

Practical Drive puts things into action.  This is the “make it happen” person on your team. They are likely very organized, create lists of To Do items, and know how to move at a pace to get things done. This person can take your vision and execute it into action.

Idealistic Drive is more future focused. They are dreamers, visionaries, and strategic thinkers. This person will create the big picture, helping you to see where you are headed.

If you haven’t already, review your Brain Brief Profile with your Coach to better understand how the emotional and rational parts of your brain are working together. (If you have not taken the Brain Brief Profile, ask your coach, or send an email to info@EQuipStudios.net.)

Identify an opportunity to solicit input from someone who has a different style from your own.

Be intentional about how you want to feel as you hear input from a different perspective. What feelings will help you to really hear the new ideas? What thoughts will help you to experience those feelings?

Practice seeking multiple perspectives throughout the week. What are you noticing about yourself? What feels right? What feels challenging?

Where in your life is there opportunity to seek multiple perspectives right now?

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What is Consequential Thinking?

Apply Consequential Thinking is about pausing to think through the potential result of your behaviors before you actually act on them. When you do this well, you consider how a particular decision:

Annabel Jensen identifies three core questions to consequential thinking. They are:

1

If I do __________, what might happen?

2

Instead of doing _____________, how many other possibilities can I identify?

3

Which of these possibilities will generate the most positive outcome?

Complete the Practice Sessions in this module to learn how you can apply consequential thinking to anticipate the outcomes of your decisions.

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