3 Ways To Stop Reacting and Start Acting

In our quest for efficiency, to stay on the ball, to roll with the punches, to keep up with emails, to keep the peace, we react. And it has a negative effect on our lives.

Reacting with an unoriginal response to a new job posting can sabotage a career prospect. Unconsciously cleaning the house when there is a problem we do not know how to resolve in our relationship does not solve the problem, it just distracts us from it. Sure, the house is clean and you feel good about completing a task, but the problem is still there, even if you – forgive the pun- swept it under the rug. Here are 3 ways to stop reacting and start acting.


On Career Moves: Apply for jobs in person

In our current exciting technological era, dropping off your resume in a mailbox seems archaic. Instead, we apply through LinkedIn or email our CVs and Resumes to the contact address on the prospective employer’s website. Outside of punctuation marks (which are usually discouraged in professional correspondence) emotions are missing from our resumes and CVs. Outlook and iMail do not notice that you are a breath of fresh air when you enter the room.

Emotional Intelligence allows us to identify our personal and other’s feelings and synthesize this information to guide our behavior. Author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman would argue that these non-cognitive skills can matter as much as I.Q. for workplace success.

So go ahead, drop off your amazing resume and portfolio samples in person. Ask the receptionist if the hiring manager is there, so that you can flash your confident smile and demonstrate your excellent interpersonal communication skills. Your honors GPA and volunteerism is fabulous, but face to face, Skype, FaceTime are the edge you need to standout in our digital domain.


Make Life Easier: Program and Plan


Following a program or a plan helps you feel competent and confident and boosts self-esteem. After listening to Ari Meisel’s webinar on the art of less doing, I stepped up my external-brain game. He recommends having constant, universal access to everything you know with the help of resources such as Evernote. While I like Evernote’s camera mode for taking a picture of something to attach to a note or reminder, I still utilize Outlook and iCal to plan my workweek and free time.

Ari also notes that errands are a waste of time and inefficient. Find programs or websites that help you gain more efficiency. For example, I’ve been using Amazon’s Subscribe and Save and two-months into my subscription service, I am hooked! No more running out when you run out of non-perishables. Items such as Ziploc bags, cleaning supplies, water – even chocolate (yes, please) can be delivered to your doorstep monthly or at the frequency you select. This frees up precious time for activities that you bring you joy.


Take Time to Think: Prioritize your values

In RomComs, often the man or the woman does something to mess it up (conflict) and their partner ignores them or confronts them (rising action). Regardless of the reaction, the decision to respond with silence or to challenge the other person is likely uncomfortable. Before you call, before you text, before you cry, before you yell – think about what matters to you. Extract your emotions (super hard) and think about your priorities.

Discern how you would feel if you acted one way. Then flip it and check out how you would feel if you acted in a different way. Waiting it out may not feel good at first, but after you sit still for a moment (aka mindfulness) you are better able to take cues from yourself instead of your environment. And that will help you make the best judgment.

 Do you act or react more to what life throws at you? Let us know below or tweet us @mscareergirl!

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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