18 Jun Become a pro-athlete with your feelings
The idea of ‘Emotional intelligence’ and ‘Emotional resilience’ have been hot topics lately. Studies show that those who are emotionally ’smart’, are headhunted for jobs, great in relationships and more apt at handling life’s curve-balls. So, what exactly does it mean?
The Art of Emotional Mastery
There is a lot more to harnessing your feelings than simply controlling them; the actress can shed a tear on cue; the interrogator can read the anger of his suspect and the negotiator can hide his fear behind a poker-face. These are three very distinct emotional skills, which, when used appropriately, open up three very different worlds of opportunity.
Emotional mastery, then, is not a singular ability, it’s a complex art.
Training Your Feelings
It is helpful to think about your feelings in the same way as you do about physical sport: The gymnast, the weight-lifter and swimmer, may all be athletic, but each of them has a unique combination of skills to win at their game.
Becoming a pro-athlete with your feelings is not much different: Depending on your temperament, your career and relationships, you need to develop your emotional athleticism in a specific way:
The Working Mother
You rush through the front-door at the end of the day, your head still juggling figures for tomorrow’s deadline, the cellphone pinched in your neck, and grocery-bags dangling in your hand. As you lift your head, you see your seven-year-old, crouched on the step, glaring up at you through his teary, puppy-dog eyes.
This is the moment where two worlds collide: Your son is obviously in need of a mother. Whatever the reason; comfort and emotional support are highest on his priority list. However, your mental space is just not quite in the right gear to meet him there. You love him enough to risk your life, but making the switch from the multitasking, career-driven head-space to the warm, loving arms of ‘mommy’, requires more than love:
It requires skill.
“Three million?” as the client says these words, you feel cold chills running down your back. Now is not the time. You knew they had a budget, but this is way above your expectations. His eyes look across the table in a confused expression. His pen hangs 11 millimeters above the paper. When that signature is made, the deal is sealed.
“Mister Johnson, are you okay?”
If they see how nervous you are now, they could reconsider. You could pass up the biggest break of your career. Hiding your nerves in this situation, is not a nice-to-have:
It’s a deal-breaker.
“I just can’t take it anymore! What do you actually feel?! Do you even care what just happened?!”
She runs off, and slams the door behind her. You are left in the cold. You know that you must’ve said something wrong. You thought it was a lovely restaurant, and you both had a great time. But, by the time you got to the car, you realised that your girl hasn’t said anything since you ordered the dessert. When you think back, you realise she was awfully quiet in the car as well, but it didn’t bother you at the time – you were just zoning out, thinking about…well, nothing, really.
And then, suddenly, she snaps. You missed a whole chapter. You didn’t pick up the cues, and you have no idea what you did wrong. Reading her emotions won’t just make you a better lover:
It can save your relationship.
Training For the Game of Life
The skills you need to be a good athlete, are unique to each sport, but they can be trained individually. Skills such as:
Emotional athleticism is not much different. Skills that make up the pro’s in this game, could include:
So, in order to train yourself for the game of life, it helps to know exactly what kind of emotional skills you are training for. We’ll cover some of these in the following blog-entries.
Something to try
Set your timer for 1 minute, and write down as many emotions as you can. No cheating!
How many words did you get? Depending on your personality, linguistic skill and even your gender, you could have anything between 4 and 40 words.
The higher you score, the more emotionally articulate you are. This skill is extremely helpful when trying to express how you feel, and people with this ability are usually more apt at having a civil argument.
Those with fewer words in their vocabulary, tend to snap more easily, since they can’t adequately express themselves.
How is your emotional articulation? Do you need some help finding & expressing your feelings? Give us a call – we’d love to help.