1. Start to think differently.
Stop looking at others as the cause of your problems; be that your colleagues, boss, customers, the market, or macroeconomic conditions. The one thing you can control is yourself. You can move to a place that doesn’t feel overwhelming, exhausting, or constantly on the edge, regardless of what is going on around you.
2. Get a grip on how you feel.
When you’re faced with huge workloads, are you panicky and do you feel out of your depth? You may be justified in feeling that way, but it doesn’t help. You have to choose to get on board, attack, and enjoy the thrill of the ride. In addition, you must change how you feel about things. You cannot do any of that if you do not first accept that it is indeed possible to consciously control how you feel – in fact you are the only one who can.
3. Pay attention to your feelings.
This is essential if we’re going to choose how we feel. How are you right now – reading this blog? Ask most people and they’ll just guess. It’s not something you’ve probably ever really paid much attention to. Why would you? You’re way too busy trying to get ahead of your to-do list to stop and think about how you actually feel. When you do pay attention to your feelings, you may find it difficult to distinguish between different emotions. It’s not unlike tasting wine. Initially you can’t tell the difference between one bottle and another. Over time, your palate becomes better educated and your emotional palate can be similarly developed.
4. Pinpoint your emotions.
When we ask a room full of people how many emotions they can identify and remember feeling over the previous week, they usually manage around a dozen. There are actually 34,000 different emotions. We’ve identified more than 2,000 emotions in the universe. Are you on the planet of frustrated? Overwhelmed? Annoyed? Irritated? Or are you excited, exuberant, content or delighted? Ultimately, if you don’t know which planet you are on, you’re lost.
You need to know where you are, emotionally speaking, to be able to deal with the waves of pressure at work. By identifying your emotions every day, you’d notice a much greater level of emotional awareness, or self-awareness, within two or three weeks. You would also have significantly enhanced your emotional literacy… way beyond the 12 emotions most people can name. This can give you a significant competitive advantage, particularly since so few people have any degree of awareness, or control, of this dimension of who they are.
The reason that emotional awareness, literacy and control are so important in business is that emotions determine our behaviour. If your workforce is mostly on the planet of ‘disengaged’, they’re not going to do what you want them to do. They won’t deliver the results you want. If, on the other hand, they’re on the planet of ‘determined’, ‘relentless’ or ‘fully engaged’, you’ll see a whole different set of behaviours.
5. Encourage an environment of self-motivation.
One of the challenges of leadership is motivating the workforce. Imagine a universe where people are self-motivated, where you don’t have to exhort them to a better state – they turn up to work already fired up and ready to go, every morning. Imagine the results you could generate if everyone in your workforce was optimally motivated every day. That is exactly what can happen when people take ownership of their own emotional state. Leaders no longer need to drag, pull, push or cajole people as they are already operating from a motivated and energetic place.
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