Valuing your feelings and the lessons they teach you throughout your executive career
In today’s business culture, it’s prized to be logical. We don’t put much emphasis on our feelings, especially in the workplace. When we’re talking with team members, we want to know their thoughts on a topic but we rarely ask how they’re feeling about it.
Many of us have been taught to dismiss our emotions at work. But no matter how much we ignore what we’re feeling, it doesn’t go away. Feelings are valuable, you need to pay attention to them, especially at work.
The English language has around 3000 words to explain our feelings. In the EQ code and as part of our executive leadership coaching programs we put them into four categories: love, happiness, hurt and safety.
Every emotion is a flag. None of them are good or bad, they’re all just signals.
One of the things we discuss with our executive coaching clients is that the first feeling programmed into animals is safety. The moments when your fight, flight or freeze response kicks in. If you feel anxiety, overwhelm or stress in the workplace your safety response is going off in your body when it shouldn’t be. This happens because the human body is programmed to look after our safety at work and at home, it’s in every single cell.
Hurt came later, when certain animals realised if I’m hurt often enough, I’ll die. This can happen in the workplace when we feel our job is threatened. We and fellow work mates can either get aggressive or avoid situations that might hurt us. In the first world, hurt ranges from a mild annoyance, like another executive’s offhand comment, to the extreme pain of a severe injury. The critical difference is safety keeps us alive and hurt teaches us.
Happiness came when those animals could deal with hurt. They were able to express happiness. When there’s no hurt or safety felt, we’re relaxed and happy. This is when you perform at your best, managing your team and contributing as a leader. Leaders who do this well, thrive as leaders.
If we deal with hurt well, happiness appears. In our society, we’ve been taught we must do stuff for happiness to happen. We must be efficient and effective at work, making ever greater sales targets to make our company ever more profitable. Actually, happiness is easy to come by. If we deal with our hurt issues, happiness happens spontaneously. Like when you see a baby gurgling happily, in the absence of any hurt or safety issues, they’re naturally happy. Some may think happiness leads to less profit, in the workplace the opposite is true. Happy team members engage well and perform at their best on a day to day basis.
Then humans began to share their happiness and that’s love. When we’re a happy individual, we’re able to share our love with others in all kinds of social and business environments, with our children, our partners, our friends and our work colleagues. In the EQ code, love is sharing our happiness without an expectation of anything in return.
We often want more love in our life; business and social. We can’t force others to love us. Instead, focus on your happiness. Becoming a happy individual at work and home, so people want to be around you, leads them to loving you; sharing their happiness with you. Unfortunately in the workplace, not everyone is happy, so not everyone is capable of sharing their happiness. So be sure to take responsibility for creating your own happiness rather than looking for love to make you happy. This is a key tenet of executive coaching, dealing with all facets of your personal and professional life.
The first world is a wonderful place to be. We should be happy all the time. But if we don’t know how to deal with feelings, we spend more time dealing with our emotions than just enjoying our own space.
It’s vital not to dismiss your emotions.
Do you remember a time where you tuned into your feelings at work and learnt something from them?