CONSCIOUS LEADERSHIP – THE ROAD MAP: STEP 7 – The Gift of Moving from Reaction to Response by Artemis Evangelidi

Working on our self-awareness so that we may be present and awake in each moment of our lives, is the cornerstone of the Conscious Leader. One cannot be ‘asleep’ and conscious at the same time. This fascination with our minds – the endless streams of thinking, the nostalgia for our past and a yearning for our future – is what results in a reactionary way of being. But we know that choosing to respond to all of life’s experiences instead of merely reacting to them, is what will allow us to live aligned with the attributes of the Conscious Leader.

Moving from reaction to response is something I talk about time and time again and most people have a hard time recognising that this is how they spend most of their lives. Unfortunately, the unconsciousness of our experiences is more prevalent than we think. Let’s say for example, that you are driving, and a fellow driver turns to yell at you for moving too slowly on the highway. Without you needing to actually do anything, the sound waves of the persons’ yells are received by the auditory nerve and the sight of the angry person waving their hands at you, makes its way to the optic nerve. Both of these sensory nerves transform the sensory input into electrical signals, sending them through a highly regulated and efficient system of neurons to the brain where through the release of neurotransmitters, the brain is told that something is going on out there and it needs to do something about it. The brain, in return, ‘decides’ on a course of action and issues instructions via the motor neurons to speak or move, whilst an emotional reaction is felt throughout the body – such as anger, frustration or guilt. Was any conscious thinking involved in this process? No. The brain makes a decision to fire up whatever reaction it chooses, based on what it has done in the past.

Past programming is literally a wiring of the brain so that it follows a course of action that has been tried and tested before. A course of action that has been obtained over years of observation, experimentation and oftentimes, peer pressure from the social environment. And so, we move along, unconsciously unaware that our actions are not the result of our actual desires and wants, but as a result of an outdated program in desperate need of an upgrade.

Choosing to be in the driver’s seat of our lives requires that we step up and reprogram our hard wiring in the way that we want – in the way that is most aligned with our values, our passions and our purpose. Choosing how to respond to the angry driver requires that we firstly be present – aware of the stimuli being received so that we can override the brain’s decision-making process and give our own instructions as to how to respond. Instead of reverting to yelling back a justification or feeling sad about the altercation, we can decide to respond in a manner most suited to keeping ourselves in a state of joy, calm and equilibrium.  We may choose to smile and keep going with our day or apologise and move on. 

That then leads us to the next step in this process – releasing any ruminating thoughts around the experience. Instead of thinking about it for the rest of our drive, coming up with great comebacks we could have said or feeling angry that we were hard done by, when we choose to respond, we can then feel whatever it is we are feeling and let it go.

Our time can be filled with consciously received, life affirming experiences, or exhausting energy depleting interactions. How we fill our time is a matter of choice, but only once we have chosen to become conscious. 

If you would like to have a taste of the awake, conscious and responsive way of being, book in your 1 hour Living & Leading Consciously Realignment Session with me today – details can be found here:

Artemis Evangelidi

Artemis Evangelidi is a former lawyer turned author, trainer and conscious leadership consultant based in Melbourne. She runs conscious leadership workshops for individuals, companies, students and educators around the world.

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