Emotional resilience, EQ, getting in touch with your feelings and emotions. The acceptance of EQ — emotional intelligence, as a legitimate leadership quality has been great for the concept of getting in touch with your emotions. But we all know it can take some time for a ‘new-fangled’ approach to trickle down through all parts of an organization. And in some very testosterone laden businesses, traditional male thinking and behaviour still reigns supreme – showing emotions make you weak and vulnerable, so don’t do it.
However, we are all eventually forced to face our emotions. I guarantee it. You can ‘leather-up’ for a meeting, ‘man-up’ for an input session, NEVER let them see you sweat and ‘work-hardening’ is a process in both metallurgy and rehabilitation from mental health
They Have To Be Addressed
Why? Because all we do is end up thinking about the feelings that we try to hide. We can change the subject, we take heartburn tablets for our churning gut and maybe even anti-depressants for the sadness of our mental state. We treat our emotions like an affliction to be medicated or ignored so that we can get on with our lives. But it doesn’t work that way. The proposal is that we stop ignoring our feelings and instead consider that they might be trying to tell us something – especially the uncomfortable ones. Big business wants an employee who is hard working, a logical thinker, amicable, non-disruptive, the proverbial ‘team player’. They are less inclined to hire sensitive people who use their gut to help guide their decisions. In the company of our friends and family, we don’t always make our true feelings known. If we think our feelings or opinions might be contrary to those of others, we may choose to ignore them.
In Spite of the Messages We May Have Received, it is Important to Experience Your Feelings.
It is empowering to experience joyful feelings and necessary to release negative feelings – why would we want to hang on to those? Research on emotional resiliency shows that in order to successfully navigate life, you need to be able to both name the emotions you’re experiencing and describe the feelings that make up your experience.
Trying to contain all of that unprocessed emotion takes its toll. Emotions can leak out in curt words and tones. They leach into other conversations and conflicts causing us to overreact. They surface as passive-aggressive behaviour. And when the conditions are ripe—when we’re angry, burnt-out, or exhausted, when something goes wrong in our life—that iceberg of emotions reveals its full mass, often to devastating effect. The pain and anger beneath the surface become visible, often in hurtful ways.
We Have Complex Lives
We have family situations, financial obligations we experience a myriad of emotional highs and lows throughout the day. Your body can provide some clues as to what you are feeling, although it is worth bearing in mind that the same physicality can be common to different emotions. For example, excitement and anxiety share some of the same physical elements: sweaty palms, increased heartbeat, and a magnified sensitivity to light and sound. But while anxiety might give you an upset stomach and shallow breathing, these are not symptoms that are a part of the excitement.
You are responsible for your own emotional health. Corporations are still wary of emotional expression. In my experience you are more likely to get written up about an emotional outburst, then you are to be informed that there are resources at your disposal. Mediation or
We are human beings and we have huge obligations, responsibilities, deliverables and not every day is a great one. Sometimes a whole week or even a month sucks.
But I can tell you that it’s a great deal easier to get in touch with your emotions before you are well down a path of
So I’m suggesting three things:
- If you’ve never investigated EQ or emotionality for yourself, make it a top 3 item of immediate personal development. I would encourage you to make it a public item of professional development too: a goal for yourself and your next performance review. You can’t separate personal and work (you might think you, but you can’t). Highly rated books on the subject are easy to find. Start with Daniel Goleman.
- Start keeping track of how you feel. When you wake, at work, at the end of the day, at home, etc. You are looking for a trend. Are you generally happy, satisfied, positive? Do you ever feel angry, frustrated, anxious, or cranky? Please know that anger is the easiest emotion to express. But it is rarely the real emotion (this is why toddlers resort to tantrums when they are actually feeling something else). Google a list of emotions so as to improve the depth of your emotional vocabulary. And when you see your emotional trend, think about doing some self-reflective work. Like journaling, working with a coach and/or mindfulness exercises. It doesn’t have to be gut-wrenching and soul spilling. It just needs to be learning what emotion you are actually feeling, the trigger for that emotion so that you can address and move on.
I am not a therapist, just a recovering corporate, non-feeling being. I feel better, sleep better and am better to be with, now that I am emotionally aware. Aware of how I’m feeling and how to manage those feelings and socially aware to pick up on the emotions of other people, to manage interactions successfully.
For your Team
- Investigate EQ for your team. Be a prolific leader in your organization. Emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them. You’ll find ways to relate, improving relationships and connections. Win-win for business and your team.
Unlike your IQ, your EQ is highly malleable. As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing emotionally intelligent behaviours, your brain builds the pathways to make them into habits. Before long, you will begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it.
If you’d like to investigate a prolific mindset and other self-reflective training, please check out our Power to Thrive training here
Now, I’ll never be a hugger. Although, when I ask you how your weekend was I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed your child’s hockey game. Or I am sincere in extending my empathy for your ailing parent and know that you came into work to have a productive day. Let’s start here.
GET UNSTUCK… TAKE CONTROL… MOVE FORWARD…
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Heather Mae Cavanagh is a communications and change management professional. An accomplished 25+ year track record spans advertising, finance, and marketing industries. She has parlayed her vast personal and professional experience into a successful coaching business, now focused on mentoring other high-achievers to shift their mindset and perspective to find their balance, uncover their resilience, improve their networking and ability to make critical connections — allowing them to thrive! Heather has a Masters in Leadership Studies, specialized in coaching & change management. She is also a trained Success Ambassador with Power to Thrive and Wealthy Woman Warrior.