Making Your Behavior Patterns Work for You

10121096-silhouette-clockworkHave you ever noticed that you have similar reactions to new opportunities every time one presents itself?

Or do your responses take you by surprise?

If you think you respond differently for every situation, think again.

The Way We Respond to Opportunities is Like Clockwork

People tend  to respond to new opportunities in the same way again and again… like clockwork.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t always make the same decisions. But the pattern of your responses is likely to be consistent.

To give you an example, here are the three phases of my response pattern.

Phase 1: Super Excitement

I get super excited. Immediately.

My adrenaline rush turns me into an excited child, eager to play. And I love that sensation! From that adrenalized vantage point, anything and everything is possible.

Phase 2: Anxiety and Panic

After a while — sometimes an hour and sometimes a day or two — my Lizard Brain starts yammering at me

What makes you think you can do that? You’re not qualified. You’re sure to botch it. Everyone will hate it and you. And you’ll fail.”

Wow. That’s tough stuff that my Lizard Brain dishes me.

But that’s what she does. Even when I’m supremely qualified for the task, Lizzie squawks. And often, she shuts me down.  At least for a while.

Phase 3: Get Working

But if I wait (and I’ve had to learn to do that), I gradually swing back to an emotional state that’s somewhere between my early euphoria and my “OMG, I can’t do this” phase. And only then, when I’m neither euphoric or panic stricken, am I ready to make a real decision.

What’s Your Pattern When Faced With Something New?

If you pay attention for a while, you’ll be able to identify the response patterns that are uniquely yours. And once you do, you won’t have to take them so seriously.

Perhaps you greet a new idea or opportunity by rejecting it out of hand. And then, gradually you turn it over in your mind until you think it’s worth a closer look. Or maybe you make quick decisions and once you’ve made them you seldom look back.

Whatever your bahavior pattern, you can be quite sure that how you respond to opportunities says more about you than it does the situation.

Good, bad, or indifferent, you’re likely to behave in the same way again and again.

Just today, I got so excited about something I almost jumped up and down with glee. And then a couple of hours later, I was sure I couldn’t succeed. And now, this afternoon, I’ve started to work on sorting it out.

Yup. That sounds like me.

But now I recognize the pattern and just watch it happen. I enjoy the exciting part. I suffer through the I-can’t-do-it part. And then I’m happy to get down to work.

That’s my pattern. What’s yours look like?

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What’s Your Behavior Pattern?

This week when you’re faced with new opportunities or anything else that’s new to you, play close attention to the pattern of your response. Write it down. And then notice if that pattern plays out in your life again and again.

Once you can recognize the pattern as you are doing it, you’ll no longer be at its mercy. You can simply watch it play out and smile.

What repeating patterns have you noticed in your friend or partner or colleague? We often see them more easily in others than we do in ourselves. Share your observations in the comments.