Emotions can be tricky since you experience your own and then you have to figure out someone else’s too. That’s where the powerhouse trio of Compassion, Kindness and Respect come in. Great assets to have in your corner no matter what challenges come your way. But first you have to become the master of your own emotional landscape.
In this article are FIVE TIPS you’ll get that will totally elevate your skills toward becoming a master of your own emotions.
Why does it matter?
Well first off, emotional reactivity can stress you out. And at the end of the day where would you rather be – exhausted or energized? Exhaustion leads to stress which then leads to health challenges from all the wear and tear on your system over time.
If you’re feeling energized then you’ll be much more available to actually having a life instead of fretting over work so much. At the end of the day, how would you rather feel?
BONUS TIP: Want more energy at the end of your day? Master YOUR EMOTIONS!
Some other benefits you’ll have:
- More resilience and flexibility as a leader!
- Inner resources to shift your emotions in the moment
- More awareness of options to choose for yourself
- Increased self-determination
- More curiosity to explore other opportunities for yourself and others
Plato, clearly a man ahead of his time, declared more than 2,000 years ago that emotions underpin learning. And since humans tend to be at times slow learners, neuroscientists didn’t bother to explore the area of emotions until the 1980’s.
Since that time, a large body of research has uncovered that learning and emotions are bi-directionally (what a great description!) connected in higher and lower cortical brain areas. In other words, learning and emotions are intricately intertwined! And if you’re in business as an entrepreneur, leader or as part of a team, you are constantly thinking. And, learning to manage your unique emotional rollercoaster is an unrefuted tipping point to success.
How would work and life be if your emotions fostered you to have more impact, fulfillment and ease?
Across a multi-diverse spectrum composite of your work and life, most likely you at times experience an unpredictable sense of “What’s going to happen next?” There is an unfamiliar landscape of emotions right now churning around you in many forms. For example, take a look at the current divisive political climate in the United States and elsewhere. Then add the weather, cash flow, triggered reactions and traffic to the mix. It’s a mish-mash of emotional highs and lows.
In the current business culture, a typical approach has been to formulate a business plan based on a more traditional capitalistic style. In today’s utilization of technology in business, most have felt a climate change in more ways than in global warming. Dependent upon your industry, diversity might be pretty much nonexistent. Leadership models from the “top down” are outdated and it clearly shows up in the rampant disengagement of employees found in corporations and even in small businesses. A recent Gallup poll found that 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job! Profit before value is not seen as a surefire expansion mode any longer. To summarize, doing business as usual isn’t working as well, these days.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may also experience obstacles which push you into an emotional push-pull struggle about how to stay in business on a daily basis. Profit and cash flow can certainly add to your emotional stress. If you’ve experienced competitors cutting into your business profits and growth or even in luring key employees away, that causes some real fear factors of “fight or flight,” survival-mode emotions to take over. This can overwhelm you to experience burn-out mode as the stress impacts you both physically and emotionally.
When anxiety takes over, your brain is wired to default into a fear-focused limbic system response and that results in the autonomic nervous system dysregulation of your emotional system. The autonomic nervous system acts or occurs involuntarily without conscious mind control. So, stress hormones being released due to stress is an example of this.
Think about how when you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, everything seems to work better in a more positive and easier way somehow, doesn’t it? You’ve probably left stress, anxiety and worrying at the door at least for a little while, right?
Getting back to how your brain works, stress emotions leave a huge toll on your current internal operating system and block positivity, innovation and clear-thinking. Stressful emotions also distract you when you need to be focused and supported by all the executive functions that keep you in business like organization, problem solving, planning, time management. This can be best attributed to the bi-directionally Limbic System which is where interconnecting brain regions process emotions, learning and memory.
“When we are in the grip of craving or fury, head-over-heals in love or recoiling in dread, it is the limbic system that has us in its grip.”
― Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
As a human, you’re basically wired to enjoy life. However, when the unfamiliar or unpredictable “stuff” happens like a glitch in cash flow, someone on your team quits or you lose a client, your emotions and stress hormones get triggered! When your stress hormones go haywire that impacts you having a quality work and life.
How can you foster a positive emotional takeover no matter what gets in the way?
Appreciate and acknowledge the fact that as a human you get to have a wide range of feelings. Feelings are not static! How you approach them is a huge key in developing an astute Emotional IQ.
TIP #1: Try having compassion, kindness and respect! When triggered emotionally by someone else, try having compassion for them (and for yourself) and see what shifts!
TIP #2: Interrupt your usual pattern of response or reactivity! Take action to have greater awareness about what is really true (not your story about it!) will help you to take positive action to shift the outcome when something is emotionally charged. OWN IT!
TIP # 3: Invite in the precept that all of your emotions are welcome! There are no wrong feelings. Each feeling you have is uniquely a part of your own experience.
TIP #4: Ask for support from your team and others! Share concerns about any obstacles or challenges and let collaboration bring in novel ways to connect to the bigger picture. That’s the best way to create new outcomes and also a great way to reduce any stress you might feel at having to “do it alone.”
TIP #5: Choose a growth mindset! When you recognize that challenges and mistakes are opportunities to learn instead of experiences to avoid, you encourage flexible thinking along with new possibilities showing up.
Becoming a master of YOUR Emotional IQ can feel like a pretty bold move at times for you to take. It definitely requires a bit of self-confidence to pull it off. Getting out of your comfort zone, to really step up to playing a bigger game, is all part of the journey for you to fully step into being the awesome leader you already are. How does that feel to know that you already have a great capacity to lead your own emotional reactions towards more desirable outcomes? And it’s not just thinking about yourself in that approach. The outcome will also feel really rewarding to others too!
“Leadership is not domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.”
― Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition
One of our clients, “Steve,” was really uncomfortable to learn that he was being put on a project team with “Diego” who had a notorious reputation as a really difficult person to work with. Steve liked order and disliked conflict so much so that he often missed opportunities for promotions because his team leaders didn’t really see how capable he was. He escaped under the radar and was often passed over. He was hiding out to avoid stress but really what was happening was he was feeling more stressed with the circumstances.
Feeling frustrated and disengaged in his job, he wanted more growth and challenges. Instead of ducking out of working on this project team with the challenging Diego, he dove in head first. Although uncomfortable, he used new skills as he tested out his own emotional IQ to pretty confidently “rock the boat.” He adeptly challenged Diego when the need arose which yielded innovative results that surpassed any of the ideals the project targeted. Steve became a well-noticed part of the team and promoted to a leadership role!!! And he and Diego found that they were a pretty great team together! So it doesn’t have to feel like work!