Word-Of-the-Week #968: Emotions

February 23, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Emotionsstrong feelings.

How often do you have strong feelings? Are you comfortable with asking yourself why you feel the way you feel?

This week is another great one from Steve Straus, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING.

Principle: Emotions 

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.) 

“Reactions to this S3MC seem to be binary, either agree or not like it at all. So be it. I sure didn’t like it when it was first revealed to me. Upon awakening to its wisdom, I found levels of peace and freedom not previously available.

All emotions are internal.

Nothing makes you happy. Nothing makes you unhappy. No situation makes you fearful. Or joyful. Nothing outside of you causes you to have the emotions you experience. All emotions are internal.

The external situations may indeed trigger your emotional response, but they do not cause it. What you experience emotionally is the result of your conditioning, beliefs, and past experiences. All emotions are internal.

And that is the most wonderful news.

Instead of attempting to change your external world – really, really hard and highly prone to failure – you get to notice every emotional response you experience and choose to keep it or not. You can do simple processes to change and improve your emotional responses. You can become emotionally competent.

All unuseful or negative feelings are our own, and there is no longer looking outside of ourselves for their resolution. All emotions are internal.

Coaching Point: How does that make you feel?
(Trick question! It didn’t ‘make’ you anything.)”

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This week’s focus is all about strong feelings. What was your reaction when you read that emotions are internal? Agree or not like it at all?

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Word-Of-the-Week #884: Emotions

July 15, 2021 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #884: Emotions 

Emotions – strong feelings. 

Do you work with/for people who are genuinely concerned about your feelings? How aware are you of their feelings?

This week features another timely Neil Senturia article, “When someone at work is having a bad day, do you care enough to ask why?”

“How you doing”? The verb “are” is missing because this is how the meat butcher in Brooklyn talks to his customers when they come in the door. Linguistic accuracy is irrelevant here. What is critical and significant is that he cares enough to ask. It is the importance of “emotional acknowledgment.”

Alisa Yu, Stanford PhD candidate, has written a paper exploring this issue and her conclusion is that “it is a powerful technique which leaders can use to build trust with their employees.” Seems obvious to me, but when Stanford checks the box, I feel validated.

The power comes from the simple act of listening to the emotions of your employees and listening includes looking. When Nicole, my assistant of 29 years, is unhappy, I can see it. Then I say to her, “You seem unhappy, is there anything I can do?” She will deny feeling unhappy (she does not want to ever appear weak), but just the act of my acknowledgment is a soothing behavior. It is an unspoken dance we have. Twenty-nine years, let’s just call it compatible neuroses.

It is important here to note that even though you may notice someone’s feelings, that does not mean that they are in the mood to deal with them. You can’t turn responses on and off like a faucet, but often it is enough to simply indicate your awareness.

Nota bene: Your awareness must be presented in an authentic manner. It cannot be delivered on your way to lunch. When a leader is genuine in expressing concern for the employee, good and powerful things can result.

Yu says, “The worst thing leaders can do when employees are feeling bad is to do nothing.” I have a client on the management team of a big company, and he feels dismissed and unappreciated by the CEO. I suggest that he confront the CEO and share his “feelings.” My client rejects that idea, saying it would get him fired. I do not share that point of view, but if telling the CEO about feelings is cause for termination, then he should quit anyway.

I have another client who was promised “an ownership interest” after four years. It seems the CEO has terminal memory loss, and my client is at a crossroads. He decides to go out on his own, and he quits. The CEO is astounded and angry, “How could you leave me like this?” But the key to the puzzle is simple. The CEO has been tone-deaf emotionally for the past two years, so what does he expect?

Yu says, “When you acknowledge emotions, you humanize and validate the person being acknowledged.”

The key for the leader is to learn how to recognize emotions correctly. They are often subtle and nuanced, and you need to work at seeing the body language as well as the words that signal discomfort. The fact that you are aware and share that awareness does not obligate you to personally solve the problem. But it is meaningful to simply tell the other person that you are involved and engaged in their larger human world, beyond just the work they do.

On a personal note, I was recently “treated shabbily” financially by an old friend. My nature is to not let things fester, and I called him on it. He did not change his point of view, but I felt terrific that I had at least expressed my feelings. You need to remember that there are always two sides to emotional acknowledgment, and you can only be responsible for one of the sides.

One of my techniques for the exploration of feelings is to “act out” both sides of the dialogue. Like a tennis game between you and the other person, I try out some of the dreaded words — “I would like to discuss my role in this project” — and then pretend to be the other person and then what they might say, back and forth, with different sentences and points of view. I literally stand up and perform the entire interaction, each time with a different set of “if-then” possible answers. The result of this improvisation is that it makes the demons less fearsome and the possible paths to an understanding or at least detente, more likely.

Rule No. 671: How you feelin’?

This week’s focus is on dealing with emotions. How comfortable are you in expressing your feelings? Do you feel that leadership is genuine in expressing their concern for you? Do you trust that they have your best interest at heart?

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