23 Jan

Let’s talk Emotions!

Did your pulse just race, or did you just flinch inward? 

Yeah I know the topic of emotions can cause adverse health reactions because for those of us in business this is one of the biggest sinful topics!

But we have to move the needle on this conversation, by bringing emotions back into the tool kit of leadership and teamwork.   

We all have them, we all experience them, and yet they are the least understood, valued or appreciated resource system we have.  Rather than being beneficially utilized we slam most of our emotions into the closet and lock the door.  Sure we’re okay with happy and joyful as long we’re not too happy or joyful but sadness, frustration, panic, resistance, and anger are treated like thieves in the night, apprehended and arrested for showing up. 

But what if those emotions ( all of them) could be turned into a road map that delivered you to your goals, and objectives faster, easier and with less drama?  What if you were capable of taking those emotions and the information they are experts in delivering and used that knowledge as the intelligent data that they are? 

Yeah what if????

Emotions are nothing more than data and sometimes data tells us information that is not convenient and sometimes that date is information that is difficult to implement but none the less, its valuable information that is just waiting to be mined, curated, sorted and profited from.  The key in all this extraction is in understanding the steps needed to fully utilize all that information.

1) Recognize what you are feeling.

This step often confuses people; because they spent most of their lives quashing their emotions that when they feel anger, frustration, sadness, or panic, they’re not actually sure which one is showing up. This is common, because often a bundle of emotions get crushed together causing an over loaded reaction which ends up feeling like a blast of wind through our body.  

Several emotions can show to different stimulus that is happening at the same time.  For example let’s say you’re having a conversation with a group of coworkers when suddenly an ill-timed and offensive joke is made, that triggers anger but also guilt, and embarrassment.  

What happened?   

The joke sparked an angry offense to your values, but guilt crept in from social conditioning about even being angry, and embarrassment shows up because this all goes down in front of a group of coworkers.   

So now what?

2) Make a conscious response verses an unconscious reaction

Remember the first step is just observing that this is happening within your body.  Observe how your body feels, (tight, shallow breathing with the desire to flee) which all happens within a millisecond which feels like an hour.  Once you observe its happening you are capable (again with practice) of making a conscious response verses an unconscious reaction.  

You are capable of choosing to speak up, walk away or laugh it off, but the difference now is you have made a mindful responsive choice which you can now own and take your power from instead of blaming the jokester for causing an ill fitted unconscious reaction. No one else is ever to blame for how we respond or react to a trigger that sparks an emotional rebuttal or action.  That trigger may be explosive in its immediate effect, but there are always options available if we can just learn how to recognize and use them.

When we respond from mindfulness we are reducing overwhelm and the impact hormones have on our brains which can hijack our thinking and impede our conscious choices.  When we are mindful we allow the emotions to move through us extracting  the information they offer such as a boundary being crossed from anger,  an awareness of “I did something bad” from guilt and feeling exposed from embarrassment.  When we pay attention to our emotions they can prepare us to act decisively, and helps us select the best helpful action for the situation that restores our own power and increases our competencies.