Respond vs React: How Knowing the Difference Can Save Your Business

“When you react, you are giving away your power.

When you respond, you are staying in control of yourself.”

                                                                                                                – Bob Proctor

To understand the difference between reacting and responding, we must first understand the meaning of each word. attributes three meanings to each:

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If I’m being honest, sifting through each meaning of the two words can get confusing. In the first listed meaning of “react,” it states that to react is to act in response to an agent or influence. Therefore, we can only conclude that to react is to respond and likewise, to respond is to react. So, what’s the difference?

Let’s take a look at the third meaning for respond. “To react favorably.” So, yes, to respond is to react, but it is to react favorably. The connotation here is that to react could be seen as having a slight negative connotation. When we react we are acting on a primal instinct and it’s almost always based on emotions. There is a reason it’s called a “knee jerk reaction,” and not a “knee jerk response.”

On the other hand, to respond takes thought and logic. Viktor E. Frankl says, “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 freedom.”

So, How Does This Knowledge Effect Your Business?

No matter the business you’re in, you’re going to have to work with people at some point, if not constantly. This is especially true for business owners and people in Network Marketing. Not only are you dealing with customers on a daily basis, but you’re also communicating (hopefully!) with your upline, downline, customer service, and corporate leaders. The way you present yourself both by your appearance and attitude can drastically define the success of your business.

There’s no getting around it. At some point or another you are going to have a run in with someone. It may be an unsatisfied customer, a disgruntled team member, or perhaps just someone who doesn’t click with you. How you handle these situations will define who you are as a leader and business professional. Let’s take a look at an example of a situation that can go one of two ways.


Let’s say you have a team member on your downline who constantly asks for help and you do your very best to help them every single time, but they just don’t take your advice and when they decide to quit they say it is because they haven’t been given the proper training to succeed. Frustrating, right? You’ve invested countless hours to helping them succeed and the truth is they just didn’t want to put in the work, and now they’re blaming you for it?

You might be thinking “Bye! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” but there is a better way to handle this situation. You might instead say,

“I’m sorry, Jane, that I was unable to provide you with what exactly it was that you needed. And I’m sorry to see you go, but in the future, if there is anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, if you need help finding another company that you feel would suit you better, let me know. I have a lot of contacts.”

Though your knee-jerk reaction may have been to spout a few smart remarks and write them off, you would be unnecessarily burning a bridge. You should NEVER burn a bridge if at all possible. You never know when you will need to cross it one day and you wouldn’t want to have to cross shit creek—without a paddle, no less.

In Conclusion

You can not control how somebody else will handle a situation, but you can control how you handle it. Always strive to take the high road and it will pay off. It may have no effect on the individual you’re dealing with, but there is always people observing you. Set a good example for your team and the people around you. What you put out in the universe is what you will get back, so always put out positive energy.

Remember: you are your own brand. How are you representing yourself? Why should people do business with you over the thousands of other consultants out there? Never get so comfortable where you are that you forget basic professionalism.


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