Respond with Intention Instead of Reacting

Posted On: October 23, 2022

Have you ever wished you had been able to respond with intention instead of reacting?

We have all been there – it leaves you with a feeling of dis-ease hours later that you just kick yourself for and wish you had handled that interaction with more thoughtfulness.

Sometimes working across cultures or as an expat shifts us off autopilot. When we pause to reconsider different pathways, we open up possibilities both for ourselves and our conversational partner. As we move throughout our life experience, we continue to be challenged by our assumptions of ourselves and others and how we can intentionally interact with others rather than respond to grow and evolve as individuals in the workplace and in our personal lives. Let’s see how we can welcome those challenging discussions with intentional responses rather than knee-jerk reactions which don’t serve us or a shift forward in our relationships, teamwork, and project work.

Just consider how those discussions would change if you could respond with intention, thoughtful awareness, and mindfulness rather than run on autopilot.

Not only would the outcomes tend to shift to more of a partnership, we would be giving ourselves a fresh perspective and not assuming something of the other person that is not true. Our narrative about others is not their truth. When it is possible to create an intentional interaction, we both (or all) can walk away feeling better, with more ease. No more walking away with thoughts arising later of “shoulda, woulda, coulda,” but a feeling of I did the best I could in that moment without running on autopilot. We both walked away with a different understanding where we both can feel better about the conversation and the days ahead of us when we have to bring up this or other similar topics again.

Wouldn’t that be freeing?

How would that change your story?

How would responding with intention instead of reacting shift your perspective about being at work?

How do you think this would impact others’ impressions of you, their impressions of interacting with you or coming to you with their thoughts, ideas, or concerns (rather than maybe always waiting for you with trepidation on both of your parts)?

I am sure it would create a new atmosphere that empowers you and others on your team. Let’s see some strategies on how to make this happen through several YouTube videos that I have compiled.


Video Tutorials that Highlight:
How to Respond with Intention Instead of Reacting

Click the links to see the videos on YouTube. Many of the quotes or insights below are extracted from the video linked in that section.


Video 1: React vs. Respond, Rick Sessinghaus PERFORM For Success (5 minutes)

“When you start to choose how you want to respond rather than react, you will start noticing how things show up differently…”

  • Your external world should not dictate your inner world
  • While our external environment may not change much from day to day, but your response to it certainly can…
  • “We have preconditioned ourselves that I’ll let other people control how I feel and think….”
  • We already have a stress reaction to certain aspects…
  • Can we think ahead to respond in a different way?
  • How can we have a clear intention?
  • How will that help us to show up differently?
  • Understand how you want to behave in advance rather than the ‘wait and see’ approach….
  • How can we place our attention on what we can control vs what we can’t control?


Video 2: Responding vs. Reacting: Managing Emotions at Work (3 minutes)

“When we react to a situation or a person’s behavior we are letting our emotions get the best of us. This generally results in the other person becoming defensive and moving either against us or away from us, and in these instances, our ability to build trust and influence goes down. Responding, on the other hand, involves recognizing how you’re feeling, but choosing to respond in a way that’s consistent with the outcome that you want.”

“First, think about situations or instances that trigger an emotional reaction in you. Once you have that situation or common situations in mind think about how you feel and what you’re thinking in those instances. Also, consider how you react. What’s your gut-level emotional reaction and what kind of outcome does that generally produce. Then, as an alternative, consider how you might choose to respond differently that may lead to a more positive outcome.”


Video 3: REACT or RESPOND by Gaur Gopal Das (5 minutes)

Would you like to be a soda can or a bottle of water (under pressure)?

It’s interesting to notice the reaction of the people in the audience when the speaker shakes the soda can and before opening it, the people shudder and/or move away, but do not do that when he does the same thing with the water bottle. How do we want people to think of us before they encounter us- like the soda can (an unpredictable predictableness that makes other feel scared or reluctant to interact with us) or a water bottle (this person seems calm and level headed under stress)?


Video 4: Stop Reacting & Start Responding (Awaken To Unconscious Patterns), Morcie Anderson (15 minutes)

Three steps to respond with intention instead of reacting: Pause, Observe, Consciously Step into the New You (Use visualization to create the outcome you desire in both how it looks and how it feels.)

Turn off autopilot and step into awareness.


Video 5: How To Respond Versus React, Bill Crawford, Ph.D. (6 minutes, Start watching at 3 minutes)

“What concept or emotion do we want to sponsor? What are we trying to accomplish here? … That response can go a long way [for] us [in] creating the life we want …becoming more influential in our life and the lives of others. It has us thinking about how we want to say something before we say it.”

  • How can I say this, so the other person sees its value?
  • Is what I want and what the other person wants congruent?
  • How do we want to be? What do we want to be?
  • Who are we when we are coming from our best?

How to get to this? – Make a list of your 20 best qualities/characteristics when you are at your best so that you can focus on your intentional outcomes.


Video 6: Stop your emotional reaction in an instant with this powerful technique! By Inner Mastery

How to use power phrases to respond rather than react

Video 7: A Simple Trick To Respond, Not React | Hindi Training Video by Shabda Alankar AMLS

The host shares insight and a powerful story in Hindi that helps us dive into the concept of taking time to pause to respond rather than react.


Video 8: How to RESPOND vs REACTING to Negative People! – Preston Smiles

“A lot of us spend our time being drugged by our emotions. We spend our lives interpreting the things that happen to us and we run all over the track … but if you can respond, if you can have your wits about you when hell is crashing all around you then that’s a powerful place.”

“We spend a lot of time trying to even the score and prove a point no matter what the cost is, leaving metaphorical dead bodies in our wake.”

#selfcoaching #respondnotreact #awareness #thoughtawareness #beintentional #createspace


Video 9: Control Your Reactions (Responding vs Reacting), Roxy Talks
(Warning: There could be swearing in this video)

Why do we continue to believe the negative about us, but hesitate to believe the good?

Do you want to stay on the pathway of what you already have, or do you want something different?

“One of the requirements of being our best versions is not letting our doubts, fears, worries, insecurities, beliefs, even circumstances from our 3D worlds stop us on our path.”

“Listening to the doubts, listening to those old stories about you doesn’t get you out of the reality and the current trajectory you’re on… we can’t allow ourselves to think the thoughts that keep us in our current reality anymore…we must begin actively choosing higher quality thoughts in every single moment..”

Often we mold people into the narrative we have written for them, even though they have no intention or understanding of that narrative. “…this is why you keep getting the same old thing over and over and over is because the role has been written, the program is still running and you have not changed it so the people in your life the circumstances around you they must fit the narrative that you are still telling…”

How can you witness your thoughts rather than experience them?

Just remember: You Are Not Your Thoughts!

#selfmanagement #selfregulation #selfcoaching #respondnotreact #awareness #thoughtawareness #beintentional #challengeeverythought


I hope some of these videos resonated with you and you were able to find some nuggets of wisdom that will help you on your journey to intentional responding.


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Image credit: @lifeforstock at freepik


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