As I was writing my last blog post about being “hooked” by emotional issues that come up when you are coaching someone, I thought that it is not just during coaching that emotions can hook us.
How often are your emotions present during your workday? Once emotions are present they can hook you, leading possibly to losing your center, reacting in an inappropriate way or taking offense. Emotional self-awareness is called for to avoid emotional hooks. Emotions can be a runaway train, but when you are aware and in the driver’s seat you can manage your emotions and avoid being “hooked”.
Have any emotions hooked you this week?
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When you are coaching, “issues” are bound to come up. By issues, I mean topics that evoke emotions, anxieties, strong opinions and the like in the person you are coaching or yourself. When issues are introduced, you can get “hooked” by your own reactions to them. When this happens, you as coach have to maintain an objective presence and continue your coaching with a focus on the person you are coaching, not yourself. This can be a challenging thing to do.
Of highest importance is your level of self-awareness. You need to be able to discern very quickly when your own emotions start coming into play. If you feel yourself getting hooked in a coaching conversation, pull yourself back and regroup. Find ways to do this as quickly as you can. If you find you cannot, suggest a short break. Then, return to the coaching with your focus restored. After the coaching ends, you can deal with what happened. Getting hooked serves no one and damages your effectiveness as a coach.
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Judgment comes naturally. It is an important ability when it comes to your own actions. Judgment of others, however, is a different thing. The judgments you make of others inform the actions you take and the strategies you develop. They had better be accurate.
Limited information, ignited emotions and internal biases can easily skew your judgments of other people and situations. Judgments must be seen for what they are; they are not facts, but your perception. Exercising caution and diligence in your judgment of others can serve you well.
Keep your judgments of others as objective as you can. Get the facts that are available, make them from a centered place and do not confuse them with truth. Judgments have their own power and are best arrived at carefully.
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Sometimes you can find yourself on the edge of something and feeling a bit unsteady. It can be an edge between two options, or decisions, an edge that you are starting to step off involuntarily or an edge of conflicting emotions. When you are teetering on an edge, gather your awareness; you don’t want to fall.
You can get yourself to an edge unconsciously and be surprised that you are there. Or, your actions can lead you there step-by-step. When you find yourself on an edge, best to regroup immediately, figure out what got you there and steady yourself. Then, you can take the action that is in your best interest.
Have you found yourself teetering on the edge recently? Did you get yourself back to solid ground?
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There are times in life when situations you have avoided, or been unable to focus on, come to front and center. Perhaps you have an interpersonal challenge with someone at work, you have not been up front about something when you should have been, you have hidden something about yourself or you have not prepared for something, you should have prepared for.
What do you do when the walls close in? A first suggestion is to breathe. Acknowledge what is happening and that you will deal with it. Accept the choices you have made that got you to this place. Then, get fully in the present moment. To do this, you may have to release some anxiety, fear or other emotions. Often your emotions make a situation appear to be much worse than it isYou need a clear head to decide what your next steps will be. Then, once you have cleared your emotions, focus and determine where to go from here.
If the walls close in (and I hope they never do) you can handle it best by being fully present, acknowledging your emotions and using your brains and hearts to determine what’s next.
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Each day, I work with clients as they navigate their work lives. Preparing to write this post, I thought about all the effort they put into creating a career that fulfills them. They focus on: keeping their skills up, interacting and communicating with others, negotiating effectively when they need to, staying motivated, maintaining balance, staying organized, keeping their emotions steady, getting to and from wherever they have to be, maintaining their self confidence and creating space for themselves and their creativity. It takes a lot!
Honor yourself for what it takes for you to make it through a day. What would you say are your strong points – where you’ve got what it takes? What are your weak points and what can you do about them? This is not a challenge, just a reflection. Recognize yourself for how well you are already doing. Kudos to you!
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The first hour of your morning can set the tone for your whole day. How do you get started in the morning?
When you wake up, you have the opportunity to establish your outlook for the day. A wide range of emotions is yours to choose from: optimism, expectation, happiness, confidence, worry, anxiety, overwhelm.
It really is a mind game. Will you let your mind run away into negative emotions or guide it into the day in a positive manner? Practices help – you can set aside some quiet time, find ways to release negative emotions (journal writing, physical exercise, being in nature) or do things you love to start your day.
Give it a try tomorrow – start your morning well and make the day a fantastic one!
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With the pace of life today, you do not have a lot of time available for contemplation or anticipating what’s to come as you go about your workday. You can easily find yourself in an emotionally charged situation without knowing how you got there. In this environment, what can you do to maintain your cool?
The best approach is self-management – managing your stress levels by not letting them get out of hand, developing your emotional intelligence and self-awareness, creating balance in your day and developing ways to handle your emotions, when your buttons are pushed or others’ emotions are running high. Sometimes, it’s about getting yourself out of a negative situation quickly, either to avoid it or to give yourself time to regroup before you deal with it.
Keeping your cool is essential to your effectiveness as a manager. Focusing your attention on how to do it is worthwhile and will serve you well.
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There are times in life when you are tired. You can be tired in a variety of ways: fed up, physically tired, out of energy for something or lacking inspiration. Usually, it does not take long to know you are tired. The problem comes when you try to ignore or override it. It behooves you to “listen” to your emotions and your body. They tell you things that your mind may be ignoring.
Are you tired? If you are, stop now and figure out what is happening. Life offers a lot more when you are in touch with yourself, than it does when you are tired.
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Sometimes, it can be very hard to let something go. Is there something you have been holding on to? You can hold on to many things after their time is up – things such as failures, relationships, grudges, anger and other emotions, destructive memories or regrets. As you hold on, you pay a price. The price can lie in distraction, emotional distress, over-thinking, inability to be fully present in the moment or stagnation. It can be a jail of your own making.
When you release something that is over or no longer serves you, you are free. There is room for something new. You can focus your attention on other things. It may take time to let something go, but it can also happen quickly, once you set your mind to it. The first step is recognition that it is time to release something. Then, you bring yourself to the present moment and a place of clarity about the situation and act – by declaring your intention to let go, doing something concrete to cut a tie or changing behaviors that support the current situation.
What, in your life, or work, is ready for release?
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