Imagine the eye-rolling and cell-phone check that happens when I announce at a live workshop that the secret ingredient to making wise decisions as a professional woman or entrepreneur is learning to recognize and redirect emotion. Oh, joy! here comes the woo-woo stuff.
Feelings Matter in Business
I’ve been encouraging managers and small business owners to stop stiff-arming their emotions and connect with them. You don’t have to love, or even like, your feelings, but you can’t deny them. Your feelings matter. The feelings of your clients and colleagues matter. Why? Because feelings have power. For the record- it’s always personal. Always.
Denise Shull wrote a brilliant article that explain why in very scientific terms and how to proactively use your feelings to guide your decisions. This is a must read article for anyone who sometimes feels hijacked by emotion. You know the research has matured when stodgy, logical bankers become believers!
Recognize the Difference
Not all feelings are the same. Simple statement but really more complex than at first glance. Some feelings are intuitive, the ‘I just know’ type. Other feelings are more deeply rooted, born out of our (often earliest) experiences. Being able to tell the difference opens you up to taking action, to enjoying opportunities you might have previously avoided. Like taking that new job in Argentina. Or becoming a speaker like me.
Separate Feelings from Actions
If you witnessed the massive stage fright I experienced as a 4th grader, you’d say there’s no way I could’ve become a speaker. And, I wasn’t one for a long time. Somewhere along the way, I realized I could be afraid and do it anyway.
As that legendary entrepreneur, Mary Kay said, fake it til you make it. I pretended to feel confident as a speaker and before long I was confident that people were really benefiting from my knowledge. What’s happening in your business where you could take a similar approach? What action does your business need that you can ‘feel scared but do it anyway’.
And, just cause you’re doing it anyway doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Reach out. Tell someone. Tell me in the comments. You’ll need someone to give you a pat on the back when you succeed!
Ready to start looking more closely at your emotions and how they impact your business? Good on you! Here are steps to get started.
1. Figure out what you feel. Go beyond the Sesame St emotions of happy, sad, angry to the more complex, compound emotions. Remember that we often feel more than one way about a situation, ie. happy yet jealous
2. Tell the difference. Is this a good feeling? Yes, than it’s probably an intuitive feeling, your deeper self and the universe talking to you. Does it feel panic-y and scary? A limiting belief from your past is probably the culprit.
3. Perish the thought. Negative thoughts follow negative feelings like a tail follows the dog. Ask yourself: what would I be or do if I wasn’t thinking this thought? This can lead to a big shift in your perceptions that frees you.
Bonus step: Do something. Success favors inspired action and speed.
I love the idea that feelings matter and are deeply empowering in business. In this chaotic, recessionary climate, it’s good to know that there are things that bring us together: who we are, what we believe and how we feel. Every day you can choose to be a fully feeling businessperson and reap the benefits.
What do you think? Is there no crying in business, to paraphrase Tom Hanks?