Cheri Fredrickson - Leadership Development Coach and Trainer - The Transformative Leader, LLC

Response-ability - aka My Ability to Choose My Responses

choice responsibility
Event + Response = Outcome

"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." 

Victor E. Frankl


When most of us think about responsibility, we think of it in the traditional sense, as defined by Merriam-Webster:

Responsibility – noun 

  1. The quality or state of being responsible: such as
    1. Moral, legal, or mental accountability
  2. Something for which one is responsible: BURDEN

Another (possibly more useful) way to think about it is the ability to choose our responses or response-ability. What an empowering notion! All too often we blame the events in our lives for the outcomes we get. You have probably heard people complain about the economy, the weather, the political situation, that annoying client, their difficult spouse… the list goes on. Maybe you’ve even noticed yourself complaining about these kinds of things. But did blaming the events ever really help? Did it get the results you (or they) wanted?

While it is true that these things have an impact on us, my question to you is, “Are the events in your life responsible for your results?” Or is it possible that there’s more to it?

If external events were the deciding factor in determining our results, then no one would be successful in times of economic difficulty, weather challenges, difficult relationships, or anything else. For every seemingly impossible challenge, there is someone who is successful when faced with those same challenges.

Event + Response = Outcome

What makes the difference? Is it luck? Are the stars aligned in their favor that day? Or is it possible that they responded to the events in their lives in a way that led to the outcomes they wanted? Each and every day people face the very same events and end up with very different results. I believe the most important factor when it comes to achieving the outcomes we want is our response to what is going on in our lives.

We may never be able to control everything that happens. But we can always choose our response to what is happening. In my Canfield Training community, we teach a formula: E+R=O or Event + Response = Outcome. Our response is our point of power! We always have the ability to impact our outcomes! Is that exciting, or what?

It is your response to events, more than anything, that determines your outcomes.

If you are pleased with the results you are getting, keep responding in the same way. If, however, you are not getting the outcomes you want in some areas of your life then take the time to think about and evaluate your responses. It can be helpful to ask yourself, “How might I respond differently in this situation?” or “How are my actions, right now, creating the end results I desire?” Phrase your question in a way that pulls you forward in the direction of what you want in your life. Then listen to the (sometimes subtle) messages that come your way.

With that information, you can make choices that are in alignment with the outcomes you want for yourself. By choosing your responses wisely, you embrace the power to create the life of your dreams.

Wishing you the confidence to choose the responses that create the results you desire.


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