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Space between stimulus and response

Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 5.3

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

— Often attributed to Steven Covey or Viktor E. Frankl

Listen to this episode to find ideas to honor that space (and hopefully stop putting your foot in your mouth).



Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Denise] Hello and welcome to Two for You. Have you ever had the situation where someone says something and you instantly respond? And later on you look back and you think, wow, why did I respond that way?

[Lori] Ever or how many times today Denise?

[Denise] True, this happens a lot with many of us. But taking that time to understand, know what happened between that stimulus and response is really important because that's where you have the power to choose what's next.

[Lori] I love that too, that the frame of the power, that the power between the stimulus and the response is, that opportunity, an opportunity to choose, the opportunity to choose your emotions. It's an opportunity to shift the direction of the conversation or the, shift the energy in the room.

And along with this, Susan David talks about this as, as emotional agility. It's an opportunity in this complex, this difficult situation to choose your emotions and to pivot, right? To move forward, to notice them and shift what's happening for you.

[Denise] And why do we think it's important and why we're taking the time to talk to you about it, is that by understanding what happens between the stimulus and the response, you can better cope with everything else is going on around you. But within yourself, you can stay calm and you can choose the right response, a response that is more positive and more productive for the situation at hand.

[Lori] So that sounds great because we have these complex situations all the time. But how do you do this, right? And so the first thing you do is to name your emotions. And that sounds so simple, but the second part of that is not just the name, the first thing that you're thinking about, but really to go further and try to give two or three additional names to that emotion that you're feeling.

And what that does is to help you to really drill down, to recognize what's really underneath and what's going on for you.

[Denise] This month, take the time to recognize and take control of that space between the stimulus and response. So you can be a better leader, a better community member, a better person as you live and lead with intention.

Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

Reviewed in 2021

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