After many years of being controlled by my emotions and being reactive to situations and people, I’m slowly starting to see the light and learn ways of being more rational and responsive. For the past few years, because I’ve made it a point to be more in tune with myself, I’m much better at handling my emotions and not allowing them to blindly rule my life.
Because I believe in sharing the wealth, below are the three questions that I most frequently ask myself whenever I start to feel that an emotion is bursting to express itself. By having these 3 questions top of mind, when I start to feel an emotional outburst bubbling, I’m able to give myself time to think before reacting emotionally. I’m not claiming to be reflective and rational 100% of the time. But the times that I’ve been able to think of more rational responses to situations I’m facing, I’ve found that my responses have been much more productive and constructive than the emotional reactions that I managed to stop from surfacing.
Life-changing question #1: “What am I not doing for myself that I’m expecting others to do for me?” (thanks Susan Jeffers, PhD, best-selling author of the book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway)
I ask myself this question whenever I feel that I’m getting angry at someone. Just after a few days of being mindful of my anger, I started to notice that I usually get angry at someone because of something that I’m not doing for myself, not because of something that someone else hasn’t done for me or has done to me. Think about that next time that you feel like biting a colleague’s head off. Is it really their fault that you feel that way? Or is your feeling of anger your responsibility? What aren’t you doing for yourself? I’d love to know.
Life-changing question #2: “What am I telling myself?” (thanks Fiona Harrold, the queen bee of life coaching in the UK)
I use this question whenever I’m feeling afraid or de-motivated to do something. I’ve found that it helps me stretch myself whenever I’m about to do something that’s outside of my comfort zone. As soon as I put my neurotic, Woody Allen-sounding little voice on trial, I start to feel more energized and some times even ready to take on the world. See for yourself. Tune into the little voice inside your head whenever you feel deflated or afraid to do something, like cold calling* prospects or giving a presentation at a meeting. What are you telling yourself about your abilities, the potential outcomes, the situation itself, and what others think of you? Try it and let me know.
Life-changing question #3: “What’s the worse that can happen?”
This question helps me put things in perspective when I’ve a decision to make. It’s a question I ask myself constantly throughout day as I navigate through the many decisions that I need to make. Because of it, I’ve become a much more decisive person. The main idea behind it is to get me to see whether or not I can handle things if things go wrong because of a decision I’ve made. This is how a typical daily chatter inside my head goes: Should I wear the white shirt or the green one? (What’s the worse that can happen if I choose either one?) Should I park in this spot or the other one? (What’s the worse that can happen if I choose either one?) Should I use this supplier or the other one? (What’s the worse that can happen if I use either one?) Should I call this client or wait until the afternoon? (What’s the worse that can happen if I call at either time?)
Take a moment to this about this. Is anything the end of the world? I truly believe that if you think hard enough, you’ll realize that you can handle most things – maybe even the end of the world. What do you think?
*cold calling: making unsolicited sales calls to qualified prospects.