The STAR Process

For years I have used the STAR (Stop, Think, Act, Review) model as a school psychologist to teach critical self-regulation skills to kids.  I have revised the process for adults using concepts of Compassionate Communication, or Nonviolent Communication (NVC), which I believe can be used for better communication with yourself as well as improved communication with others.

The four steps can be used both for immediate problem-solving and more long-term exploration of an issue. They are Stop, Think, Act or Request.

1. Stop

Before we take action, we must first get a clear picture of the situation.  We can do this by making objective observations and clarifying our thoughts and feelings around the issue.

One way to do this is by understanding the difference between an observation, a thought and a feeling as described in nonviolent communication (NVC).

An observation is simply what you perceive without interpretation or judgment. E.g. “I see a dish on the coffee table”

A thought is something we add to our observation of reality. E.g. “That dish shouldn’t be on the coffee table.”

A feeling is our reaction when a need is met or not met. E.g. “It makes me mad when I see a dish on that table” (because it doesn’t meet my need for order, respect etc.)

Questions to ask yourself:

- What is going on?

- What am I thinking?

- What am I feeling?


2. Think

Once we understand the needs that drive our choices, we can explore new, more effective strategies to meet our needs. We can also start prioritizing our actions.

A need is a basic requirement that everyone needs to survive and thrive. E.g. Connection, Physical Well-Being, Honesty, Play, Peace, Autonomy, Meaning.

A strategy is one approach to meet that need. E.g. Meeting the need for love and play by going swimming with my son.

Questions to ask yourself:

- What needs are being met?

- What needs are not being met?

- What are some strategies that would better meet my needs?


3. Act

After you have explored possible strategies to meet your needs, it is time to pick one strategy and move forward with it.

Questions to ask yourself:

- What strategy do you think will best meet your needs?

- What are some next steps you can take to implement this strategy?


4. Request

It is important to know who you can ask for help, but it is equally important to consider how you ask.

When making a request, you share your feelings and what needs you would like to meet and ask another person for their help in meeting it. A request is made with the understanding that the other person’s needs must be met as well.

Try to avoid making your request into a demand, which implies that the other person has no choice in how they proceed.

- Who can support me in meeting this need?

- What can I request from them?

I put together this STAR pdf to use this process any time you'd like!

Sign up for my free Power Zone Toolkit: 7 days to More Focus, Energy, and Fun for ways to use the STAR process and other tools.