…that’s how many words we speak, on average, each day. So imagine how many unspoken word navigate their way through our minds. Many of them are not related to anything factual but are instead, evaluations and judgments related to our emotions—some positive and helpful…’I’ve worked hard and I’m certain I can ace this proposal’; ‘This issue is worth speaking up about’; ‘The new supplier seems flexible’, others negative and restrictive…’She’s purposely ignoring me’; ‘I’m going to make a fool of myself’; ‘I’m going to fail’.
Prevailing wisdom says that difficult thoughts and feelings have no function in the workplace. It is a commonly held belief that entrepreneurs, executives, leaders, should be either impassive or cheerful and must project confidence and eliminate any negativity that might be building inside them. That is wrong!
All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. That’s just our minds doing the job they were designed to do: trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid pitfalls.
What’s important is to learn how to manage our emotions in a way that keeps our stress levels from rising alongside our emotions, and also to curtail any negativity affecting our business and personal relationships.
Leaders stumble, not because they have undesirable thoughts and feelings, but because they fixate on them.
They treat them like facts or they question the existence of their own self-talk and try to rationalise it away. In either case, they pay too much attention to their inner chat, allowing it to deplete important cognitive resources that could be put to better use.
This is a common problem.
I often meet executives with recurring stressful challenges…anxiety about priorities, jealousy of others’ success, fear of rejection, distress over perceived slights. When I ask how long the challenges have persisted, the answer ranges from 10 years and all the way back to childhood.
Attempting to minimise or ignore thoughts and emotions serves only to amplify them.
Effective leaders don’t buy into or try to suppress their inner experiences. They approach them in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way—developing emotional agility.
In our complex, fast-changing knowledge economy, the ability to manage one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour is essential to success. Emotional agility helps alleviate stress, reduce errors, promote innovative, and improve job performance.
What inner chatter do you have that does not serve your ambition to succeed?
If you want help sorting out the “chatter” …please click here and set up a free 30 minute meeting and I’ll tell you if I can help.
Here’s to mastering your stress.
The Stress Master