Rebrand Negative Auto Responses
Updated: Apr 15
What is an Auto Response + How Does it Affect Both Your Personal Life and Business?
How do you rewire negative cycles or self-sabotage in your personal life or business, when your auto-responses to them happen so quickly!
Quick Summary if you're in a rush.
What is it? > Basically your initial response or reaction to any given situation
What does it matter? > It can cause unwanted consequences
How do I rewire it? > Stop between thoughts/feelings and action to choose a different path
KMD Spin: A small reminder that big internal changes are hard and take time
We're in a Constant State of Reaction
Without realizing it, we're in a constant state of reaction. As we go about our day, go to work, run errands, interact with friends, family, coworkers, we are constantly being exposed to possible points of tension that might ignite a negative auto-response. Whether consciously, or subconsciously, we're reacting to every scenario we face, every moment of the day. The impact of these responses can be detrimental to our health, wellness, and satisfaction in life and business if they are always negative.
What is an Auto Response?
Basically your initial response or reaction to any given situation. Something "bad" happens in your life, someone rear-ends you in traffic, your dog chewed up important documents, you didn't close the sale, or a networking event didn't go the way you wanted.
Does it ruin your day? Does it affect the way you show up at work? Do you hesitate from pitching, speaking at events, or meeting new people because of it? Worse yet, do you come home, yell at your family, or get lost down the bottomless pit of self-hatred?
What's the Sequence?
According to Psychologist, the typical sequence of a subconscious response are as follows, but I added in Feelings (because it's an important distinction) and my suggested solution: Rebranding (aka. shifting) your perspective!
What's it look like? Trigger > Thoughts > Feelings > Action > Consequences >> Rebrand it
The event that incites the negative thought.
The negative feedback loop that feels like it's never going to end.
The emotions that are caused by the negative thoughts.
The physical actions you do because of what you're feeling.
The outcome of your actions.
>> REBRAND it
As hard as it may be, you can actually stop this cycle in its tracks by reframing your brain immediately after the trigger event occurs!
In Your Personal Life
Our personal traumas and struggles are what turn triggers into actions and actions into consequences. They aren't all obvious so important to recognize this cycle when it happens.
If your child throws a tantrum, your first thought may be that you need to control the situation. You could feel frustrated or angry that your kid is screaming so you snap and yell back at them. That leaves you feeling shameful and regret for acting that way.
>> RE-BRAND IT
Instead of letting that negative cycle continue, acknowledge the process and the fact that you are working to disrupt it for the future.
In Your Business
Sometimes in business the triggers seem like they are everywhere and the consequences are not easy to move on from. This is a space where rewiring your auto-responses is imperative!
You've been working hard on a potential customer, but you didn't close the sale. Your immediate thought may be that you're not good enough so you feel your insecurities seeping in. That might make you hesitate to continue working and ultimately hold you back from making more sales.
>> RE-BRAND IT
Instead of going down this negative path, re-frame the situation in your brain to an opportunity for learning and growth that you will keep in mind for next time.
Shift the Sting
You know that physical feeling of shame? Ya the one where your chest feels like it's wrapped in plastic and has fallen to your legs? That's what we like to call "the sting." Messing up SUCKS.
What doesn't suck is using that feeling as a motivator to NEVER FEEL IT AGAIN.
How to Do This
It's the moment between the thought and action that you really need to be aware of. That's the moment where you stop, you give yourself grace, you evaluate, and REMEMBER THE STING.
If you're able to take this time to stop and choose a different action than the one you would normally take out of anger, you will eventually rebuild a new habit, and a new auto-response. Where maybe before your automatic response was to self-criticize, maybe now your new auto-response will be, "Oh oof, oops, but that's okay. I'm okay." See how much nicer that feels?!
KMD Spin: But Don't Forget, Friend...
You are doing the best you can, and that is GOOD! Sometimes we forget that "doing your best" is not the same thing as being graded with an A, rated 5-stars, it's not a test to pass, or a level to hit. It's something that will be flexible and ever-changing depending where you are in life.
What your "best" looks like if you're going through a rough spot in life right now is going to look different than it would if you were feeling on top of the world, with everything going great, and no other issues. Obviously! But sometimes not obvious to ourselves.
So give yourself grace, time, patience, and slowly work toward rewiring those negative auto-responses over time.
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About the Author
Kat Mai has over a decade of design experience, specializing in Brand Design + Strategy. Kat's created brands for businesses involving beauty products, health and wellness, retail and food products, consultants, social media influencers and more. Kat lives in sunny San Diego with her daughter and two pups. They enjoy traveling, camping, hanging out at the beach, eating all the foods, doing puzzles, and watching history documentaries! To learn more about Kat and her Brand Identity Process, check out katmaidesigns.com.