I got some news I was not expecting that put me on the emotional surfboard and I went for a ride! Not the fun kind, the more distracting and uncomfortable kind; like a rollercoaster you really did not want to go on, and once it started, you just wanted off.
If you work in manufacturing, or any environment where there is pressure to get hourly results with many people involved, you will know what I am talking about. We would joke that there was more urgency at our assembly plant, than the local hospital. How does that comparison work?
When I found out a colleague of mine was stepping out of a joint venture, I was totally self-aware that this was going to impact me one way or another. This is the basis of Emotional Intelligence, and I study myself constantly. ‘How did that information impact my mood, behaviours, focus or energy level?’. I had the self-awareness and I could feel the anxiety rise and the ridiculous stories of what could happen next in my head.
We know things pop up at work like this on a regular basis in many organizations, and if you have not ever felt like this, call me! I want to know your secret.
As much as I could step back, observe my thoughts and feelings, I found it difficult to be productive at all. Sure, I go through my daily tasks, however I was not feeling settled, focused, or present. What does a person do that studies and teaches this for a living? Difficult for me to share this, and at the same time, it confirms we are all in this together. You are just like me. We all have that amygdala driving our emotions.
I had to use a different approach because I did know the problem lay with me. Nothing to do with my colleague.
I remembered the ‘Let’s see’ approach. I could not control the direction, and it took my curiosity to kick in and think differently. We know there is this balance in the universe, that in life for the pain you go through, there is joy at the other end. We are in an ever-changing world, and the more we can remember that, the more productive we can respond to unwanted situations. I wonder what is going to happen next. What new opportunities does this bring that I was not predicting?
Off the surfboard, now standing in the waves, I could feel myself taking control of my emotions. That is self-management in the Emotional Intelligence world. A priceless skill, that I know for me takes a lot of intentional practice. I hear it is hard to learn how to surf, and since there are no oceans around me, I will continue to practice how I show up.
Let me know if you can catch yourself the next time you are riding a wave, and we can pull ourselves back, and say to each other, “let’s see”. Take a deep breath, release a bit of that tension, let’s see what happens next and enjoy this moment.
Written by Trevor Blondeel, copyright August 2020.
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