Do You Ride Your Emotions?
Or Are You At Their Mercy?
It was the start of a meeting with a potential new client - let’s call him John. John and I were sat discussing what was going on with his team and why some of the key people were avoiding communicating with each other. John said something along the lines of “well, I’ve brought you in Kay because it’s probably about all the touchy, feely stuff and I don’t do that”. “You don’t do that?” I said, (risking, I suppose, being shown the door). “Everyone does that John; everyone does that all the time, it’s what it’s all about.”
Someone explained to me once how emotion can be defined as ‘energy-in-motion’ and it then took on new meaning; one that really makes sense and to all those “oh, I avoid the touchy-feely stuff” out there, think about emotion like this – it’s ‘energy-in-motion’. At any given moment, you energy can quickly change to another energy and you behave differently. Something else happens and, depending how you decide to react to it (notice I said ‘how you decide’), then your emotion changes again.
As you go through your day, start to notice your own emotions and crucially emotions of others too (they’re on display - you just have to notice them). As you become more and more aware that emotion is driving everything and everyone, you will be able to understand so much more about other people and so much more about yourself.
Here’s a typical scenario that plays out every day for someone, somewhere (with the emotion in brackets).
Rushing to a meeting to avoid being late (excitement, fear) and you arrive just as the meeting is starting (anxiety, embarrassment). As you grab a coffee and your seat (relief, anticipation), you’re asked a question (surprise and fear again). Someone else chimes in to help you (relief and surprise) and you also gather your thoughts and add your opinion (relief and anticipation). The meeting carries on and you notice yourself relaxing (contentment and trust) and you’re asked to be involved in a new project (surprise and joy). You know it will be hard work with a lot riding on it and you say “yes, great” (anticipation, fear, joy) and you all agree to meet again in a couple of weeks to update everyone (anticipation, trust, anxiety). Off you go to your desk and pick up the phone to tell your partner about this opportunity (excitement and surprise mixed with anxiety).
Can you ‘feel’ just from reading the above, how much energy-in-motion is going on for you, just in that meeting?
We are constantly shifting and changing gear with our emotions and the more we understand about how they affect us - and those around us - the more we can start to take notice of where we are in our emotional journey.
We’re all in an emotional state, all of the time - the trick is to notice which emotional state we are in. Are we excited, relaxed, angry, frustrated, happy or sad? – and to know that we are moving in and out of these states all the time. We must then decide and find which is the most helpful, appropriate and resourceful state for us to be in, given what is going on around us. We do have a choice though and when we accept that we can no longer say “Oh, it makes me so angry”. It doesn’t. You decide to be.
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