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The Five "P's"
by Dr. Dale V. Atkins, May 2011

There are moments in our lives when we feel "hit" with something that we feel requires an immediate response. We may sense some urgency that indeed may not really be there, or some personal assault to our ego that we cannot abide. So we act in response to whatever happened without processing the event, the feelings, the experience.

Some of us say or do something in a knee jerk fashion and that response may or may not serve us, the other person, or the situation well. Likely, with hindsight, we conclude that responding after having given more consideration would have been the better option.

With the exception of VERY FEW instances, most of us do have the "luxury" (although we don't really believe it at the time) to consider a response before offering the first one that comes to our head. For many reasons, we often respond too soon and in doing so, we miss opportunities for reflection, growth, awareness and perhaps equally important, changing patterns.

If your goal is to come out with the best "dig" then stop reading now. The goal is not to destroy, belittle, demean, or defend, but rather to communicate with the best chance of connecting and moving forward as you increase the opportunity of being understood and understanding the other person's point of view.

In order to do that you need patience and perspective. It is virtually impossible to gain perspective without patience. Perspective requires taking both a step back and a few deep breaths while you open your mind and heart to possibilities. This is what is called a called a "win-win."

First, Ponder.

Then Process.

Create a Plan.

Perfect the plan. Practice different scenarios for what your response will evoke (think out of the box for this one).

Then present what you have created.

Likely your mood will be calmer than when you first considered whatever it was in the heat of the moment. Your "new and improved" response, because it is thoughtful and considered, is more likely be received well.

No one wants to engage while feeling on the defensive. It is too difficult to reach understanding, develop empathy, and create harmony when content and affect (tone, body language, attitude) give the impression of an unwillingness to cooperate.

Keep in mind that your goal is to increase the chances of communicating effectively, respectfully, and finding a viable resolution for all involved.

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