We all have dark moments when we let our emotions get the better of us, but as soon as the moment passes, we start to see things in a different light.
Emotions can be powerful drivers in both our personal and our professional lives, but we must learn how to manage them. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of our environment, without having any control over the way we think and act.
But how can we successfully manage our emotions, especially when it comes to business?
Don’t Dismiss the Power of Emotions
Many people would argue that emotions have no place in business, that the professional world should be a reasoned world built on nothing but cold logic. However, the first step towards managing your emotions is understanding that they are deeply rooted in the human brain and necessary for our very existence. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that we wouldn’t be able to make effective decisions without emotions.
There is no situation where emotions aren’t in play. The trick is to keep the emotional level in check and make sure you don’t see the world through rose-colored glasses (overly optimistic) or blue-colored lenses (overly pessimistic). Basically, a little emotion is good and can push you forward. But if your emotions become too extreme (in either a positive or a negative way), it’s easy to miss important details.
Learn to check your emotional state. Before each major decision, take a break and clear your head. This could be as simple as taking a walk, drinking a cup of coffee, or a chatting with a friend. During your break, analyze your internal state and create a mental list of the pros and cons of the turmoil you are feeling. If your emotional response lacks balance, you may want to pause before giving an answer or ask a trustworthy third party to give you some advice.
Some studies have shown that emotions triggered by one action (usually anger or frustration) could be transferred to a completely unrelated interaction. To make sure that you don’t unleash your anger on an unsuspecting client or possible business partner, it’s best to take a step back and understand the source of your emotions before you act on them.
One way to deal with unchecked emotions is to meditate. You can practice meditation almost anywhere, it only takes a few minutes of your time, and it helps you calm down.
Managing your own emotions can be difficult enough; trying to help others do the same is difficult in an entirely different way. If you feel that the emotions you’re seeing from your discussion partner(s) are misdirected, try acknowledging their feelings by saying things like, “I understand this situation can be frustrating” or “I understand this is a real cause for stress and concern in your life.” These simple words have the power to defuse a tense situation; most people just want to be heard.
Don’t Let Fear of Failure Freeze your Future
Fear of failure is an incredibly powerful emotion that keeps people in dead-end jobs or positions they don’t find attractive. It could also be the thing keeping you from becoming an entrepreneur, starting a YouTube channel, or traveling the world.
According to Foundr, this fear stems from the way we view failure and a fear of the unknown. Back when the only available jobs were for hunters and gatherers, it was logical to fear failure because it helped you survive. However, in today’s world, fear of failure can easily be deconstructed by reframing your perspective.
Start by defining the way you see failure and why it makes you anxious, and then redefine the way you see success. Learn to view failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. For instance, a failed product launch can teach you a lot about how to deal with situations like these in the future and how to recognize that there may be a problem before it’s too late.
Another way to defeat the fear of failure is to expand your mindset and learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The fear may always be by your side, but if you learn to take action in spite of it, you will master the habit of striving for success.
Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand that we are living in a dynamic world and you need to stay up to date with the latest technologies and systems in your field or niche. This means that learning never stops. The only way to deal with the fear of failure is to be prepared and outrank your competitors in terms of knowledge.
Use Emotions to Focus on Your Goals
Emotions should not deter you from reaching the goals you set. They should drive you forward.
To reach this state of mind, it’s crucial to learn how to differentiate between feelings that can be constructive (curiosity, desire for achievement, need for social recognition, and so on) and the ones that are usually destructive (fear, anger, frustration, and more).
The secret to staying focused is to use techniques that tap into your positive emotions and help you get rid of the negative ones.
For instance, if you have too many goals on your list, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. To avoid feeling this way, trim down your list and only include the goals that must be achieved as quickly as possible. Don’t throw away the rest, just put them on a list you’ll tackle down the road.
You may also want to break big projects or goals into smaller goals and incremental steps that can be spread out over time. This action reduces the anxiety of working with a task that seems huge and difficult and lets you see that everything is achievable if taken piece by piece.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of breaks. If you find yourself procrastinating or filling your time with jobs that don’t really need to be done, take a break. Go for a walk, go to the gym, or have a chat with a friend. Our brains are not designed to constantly be focused on the task at hand, which is why we sometimes need to daydream or disconnect. Allowing ourselves the space and freedom to do this will help us refill our reservoir of energy and motivation.
Whether we like it or not, emotions are an important part of who we are as human beings. They were crucial to our survival in the pre-modern era and can be the perfect business booster in our modern days. To use your emotions to your advantage and learn how to manage them appropriately, you just need to recognize them and your triggers. Developing your ability to self-regulate your emotions will help you stay focused on your goals and allow you to be more successful in business and in life.
Content written by guest author: Steward Dunlop
CMOE guest authors are carefully selected industry experts, researchers, writers and editors with extensive experience and a deep passion for leadership development, human capital performance, and other specialty areas. Each guest author is uniquely selected for the topic or skills areas they are focused on. All posts are peer-reviewed by CMOE.