The Pause Breathe Proceed philosophy is a never ending journey to understanding self. As you understand your self you can create the person you want to be.
Lesson Learned – The stress response creates chemical chaos in your body and you become reactive, selfish, and you do whatever you need to do to survive the threat. The problem is, humans can trigger the stress response without being in real danger causing reactivity. When you react in a way that feels wrong, you probably are.
I visited my parents at their timeshare in Ormond Beach, FL. Prior to my arrival my mother said that my job would be to get them a table by the pool every morning. They are elderly and cannot get down to the pool as early as I can and they need an umbrella. Tables go fast so I accepted my mission. The first day I easily accomplished this mission. The second day was a whole different story.
I looked over the balcony at 6:20 am and people were putting towels on chairs and tables to hold them. I threw on some clothes and raced down to the pool. Not a good way to start a vacation day but I HAD to get a table for my parents. At this point my stress response was on high alert. When I learned that some people could walk out of their room and save tables while the rest of us were locked out until 7:00 am I jumped the fence, yes I did. I had a mission. You are not allowed to “save” tables or chairs with towels so I moved some towels and took the table my parents sat at the day before. When the gate opened I had a very irate man sit next to me and tell me that I was at his table and I was moving. Well my younger self, stubborn and tough, in full stress response survival mode, came out. I did not Pause, I did not Breathe, I just Proceeded to sit there reading my book. He called me a bitch and eventually gave up. His wife sat at the next table and continued to share her opinion of the situation as her husband went to get coffee.
The truth is, I was wrong. This situation triggered my stress response, protecting my mom and dad from the sun and getting them a good table was my only priority. My fight or flight mode went straight to fight mode. I only thought of my parents, not the couple in front of me. As the wife continued to talk at me I swallowed my pride, Paused, Breathed and Proceeded to say “yes, you are right, this is your table, let’s switch”. She was surprised. Her husband was shocked when he saw his wife sitting at that table and he apologized for calling me a bitch. He wanted the table for his wife because the music was too loud for her at the other table so that had triggered his stress response. We both apologized and the day was good.
Pause – Pause, pause, pause! What is about to trigger you? Don’t react, don’t be mean. Learn how the stress response activates within your body and master it.
Breathe –Take responsibility for your actions. Be humble, understand and acknowledge what is happening within you, apologize if necessary.
Proceed – Don’t feel the need to win or be right, be humble and kind.