Saturday, August 2, 2008

Top 10 Steps for Harnessing Your Emotional Power for Business Success

Do you find yourself trying to make sense out of the emotions you feel at work? Do you wish that you could get rid of the "negative" emotions that you feel? Do you wish that your boss or co-workers or clients and other people involved in your business could change so that you don't have to feel the way you feel? If you answered "Yes" to these question, you are not alone. Emotions are a huge part of your work life. Whether positive or negative, it's important to not only feel your emotions but pay attention to them. In truth, your emotions are a flashing red light, warning you that it's time to take your life to the next level.

Here are 10 steps to help you harness your emotional power:

1. Be aware of and identify your emotions.

So many of us were taught that certain emotions were good and certain ones were bad so we try to ignore the “bad” emotions. In response we learned all sorts of ways to ignore or bury the emotions we didn't want to feel, ways like overeating, smoking, drinking, becoming a workhaholic, and so on. The truth is that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions. All emotions have something to teach us. So the first step is to get in touch with what you're feeling. Are you angry, frustrated, happy, or sad? Give it a label. Notice, too, how the feeling manifests in your body. Are your shoulders tense, your teeth clenched, or your stomach jittery? These physical symptoms are proof positive that emotions impact our physical lives. They teach us also, that it really is important to take charge of our emotions, instead of letting them take charge of us.

2. Trace the emotion to its root cause.

You may need help from a coach or friend to do this step. The trouble is, it's not always easy to trace the emotion back to its root cause. Often, what we think is the cause is actually a decoy taking us away from the real reason we're experiencing a particular emotion. Say, for example, you feel pressured and tense because you have been given a project that is supposed to be someone else’s responsibility. Do you feel pressured because it is a project outside of your expertise or do you feel pressured because you hate the fact that your colleague always gets good projects and you don’t? Or do you feel pressured because you never get the projects you want? You can't resolve the situation until you know what's really bothering you.

3. Interpret the situation.

Positive emotions tell you that your needs are being met and satisfied. They reflect to you what you like and what you dislike, what fits you well and what doesn't. Negative emotions signal you that change is needed. Get incredibly curious about what the emotion is telling you. It may be trying to signal you that adjustment is needed in order to cope with the future or to move to the next level.

4. Clarify what you want & design solutions.

Once you've interpreted the meaning of the emotion, determine what you need to change to make your life better. Maybe you are no longer happy in your current position. If so, can you talk to your manager or whoever is appropriate about changing to another group within the company? Maybe you don’t know what you need to do in order to change the situation for better, and that’s okay too. Admit it and find ways to get clarification. Maybe you need to work it out with a mentor or a coach.

5. Set a realistic deadline.

Time frames and deadlines make plans come alive. Once you have a plan for changing, set yourself a realistic deadline. Then, based on the deadline, work backwards and set short-term goals for yourself.

6. Take on the challenge and start moving.

Too often, we spend all our time in the analysis of the what's and the why’s and the design of the how’s. While important, these are just the beginning of the whole process. Real change happens when you are determined to make it happen. So make the commitment to change and go for it. No more talking. Just do it!!!

7. Get support.

If you are serious about making big and important behavioral changes, don’t do it alone. Get whatever kind of support you need from a friend, a family member, a coach or a mentor. Then help your support team to help you by communicating your plan as clearly as possible. Communicate what you are doing, describe your desired outcome, and ask your supporters to help you achieve your goals.

8. Take action and more action.

Follow your plan and take action. Don't stop. If it looks like your original plan may not succeed, consider other options, and adjust your plan. But do not go back to dwelling in the emotion. Repeat the steps, and keep moving and moving. Do not stop until you get your desired result. Adjust, change, start over, and keep moving.

9. Stay focused.

Many times, it takes a season for a change to happen. Especially, when you are feeling negative emotions and when circumstances aren’t changing, it is easy to loose sight, get discouraged and give up. Stay focused. Be patient and persistent. Picture in your mind the feeling you will get when your outcome is fulfilled. It takes a while for a seed to germinate and grow into a plant. You don’t stop watering the seed after a week just because you have not seen any leaves. You keep the faith and you keep watering. In the same way, be patient. Don't get discouraged. Stay focused on your outcome. Keep taking actions. Most people fail in this step. If you are can visualize your goal, make it real, and keep moving towards it, you will win the race.

10. Reward yourself.

Don't forget to reward yourself along the way. You are mastering the use of your emotions as a tool of empowerment. Give yourself a lot of credit for that. Write down your successes. Share them with friends. These will serve as your fuel the next time you need to face another emotion and turn it to your advantage. You will remember that since you successfully used this process the last time to create a better life, you can surely do it again and again. You will have a positive outlook on what comes to you, knowing that you will come out of it stronger and more powerful. You will become more and more confident that you are capable of becoming Emotional Intelligent and shaping your own life for better.

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