20.09.2020

Response-ability - more than taking charge

young woman with arms crossed

The last weeks have made an impression - life has changed for all my friends and acquaintances. Suddenly home office, financial worries, the loss of the freedom of movement and usual possibilities, more pressure at work, loss of the main content of work - all this and much more.
Which competence helps us to deal with this better?

[In der Blog-Übersicht wird hier ein Weiterlesen-Link angezeigt]

I remember the first days after the massive restrictions and their effects - at first fluctuating between the need to quickly find replacements for the activities that had been lost and the knowledge that clarity is needed right now. Sometimes optimistic (my favourite bias), then back to the start - no clear winner for two weeks! What is important here?

To develop new perspectives is one of the most enriching things, it opens your eyes. The prerequisite for this is clarity and the awareness to be able to create options yourself. The word "responsibility" helps me here.

Dismantled into its individual parts, we get "response-ability". So it's all about the ability to find responses - responses to newly emerging questions, changes or challenges. It is then our decision which of these we finally choose.

This approach enables us to realize that there is something in between an event, a new situation or a rapidly changing environment and our response to it - this is what we need to recognize in the very situation. We don't have to follow the usual paths, we don't have to react as we always do. We have the choice.

But what helps us to develop more options in this gap between stimulus and response?

Here are the three most important factors:

  • Self-perception - we have had many good opportunities to observe ourselves in recent weeks. What do we do? How do we react? What are typical patterns?
    Here it is important to act as non-judgmental as possible - instead of "I am angry / discouraged / ..." it helps to perceive one's own emotions neutrally ("I feel anger / lack of courage / ..."). You quickly learn to define yourself less through certain emotions, but to see which emotions occur in which context.
  • Imagination - this central (and not digitizable) ability distinguishes us to create new possibilities in our head. Maybe alone, maybe with a partner - in any case, we can imagine how our environment can develop and what we could do differently on our part.
  • Judgement - which option fits? On the one hand, this is a question for our very personal values and norms - thinking clearly means knowing and formulating them as well as possible. On the other hand, it helps to know which unconscious factors shape our judgment. These thought patterns and biases are also individual - it opens our eyes to see how they actually guide us.

In my experience, these three factors help immensely to create new possibilities and to make the most appropriate choice afterwards. We can sharpen them by focusing on them and developing them in time. Pro-activity therefore also means more than initiative - it is about taking responsibility for ourselves in order to create "response-ability".

Over the years (as well as now) this approach has often helped me to develop new perspectives - I tell you a few of them in the free webinar "Decide better in the crisis".

It's up to us to learn from each crisis and to prepare for the next one in time - because it's coming for sure!