A Key Moment is a triggering event or situation that presents a challenge and elicits or demands a response.  For example:

  • Your flight home on a Friday night has been canceled.
  • A co-worker fails to show up for the third time this month, meaning you have to take on some more of their workload.
  • Your child leaves dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Someone criticizes you for a presentation you delivered at a recent meeting.
  • Someone says something you feel is offensive.
  • Engaging in political or religious debates

Although life offers tremendous blessings, beauty, wonder, and joy, most of us need not look far to discover life’s adversities.  And those adversities, both on the job and in our personal lives, can and will impact our effectiveness as professionals.  Learning to manage and overcome adversities is critical for maintaining a healthy business and personal relationships and moving up in your organization.

We begrudge our adversities, wishing they would go away. Yet they do not, but rather keep coming at us in an unending series Key Moments. We often respond in a state of autopilot without a true awareness of the impact on our lives.  However, if we are aware, we are able to put ourselves into a powerful mental state from which we can make choices and respond rather than react.

When a Key Moment occurs we make a choice consciously or unconsciously about how we will respond. In large measure, the quality of our lives, our happiness, and our personal effectiveness are determined by how we handle these challenges. People who respond positively to their key moments grow in self-confidence and the assurance that they can influence and even master life.

On the other hand, people who respond negatively to such events gradually become pawns of life, sensing their efforts are futile.

Here is a closer look at what happens:

  1. Key Moment: A triggering event or situation, which presents a challenge or demands a response.
  1. Paradigm: A filter or lens made of a constellation of core beliefs through which we interpret our key moments.  Do we respond or react?  Do we respond on a conscious level or do we react in a “knee-jerk” manner?
  2. Meaning: The spin we put on our key moments; the conclusions we arrive at to make sense of what is happening.
  3. Feelings: What we experience inside our bodies following a key moment, such as shortness of breath, nausea or muscle tension.
  4. Behavior: What we do following a key moment. Our behavior can be positive and strengthening or negative and be weakening.
  5. The Pathway to Self-mastery (Good): When we choose to respond to a key moment by embracing reality, exercising responsibility, clarifying vision and acting with integrity.
  6. The Pathway to Survival (Not so good): When we respond to a key moment by resisting reality, disowning responsibility, lacking vision and reacting from fear.

A Moment of Choice is the awareness and personal power when we make a conscious decision to interrupt our negative reactions and follow the pathway to self-mastery.

How we respond to a triggering event on the job and in our personal lives will impact our satisfaction with our lives and those around us.