The Emotional Intelligence of Worry

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Worry

emotional intelligence worry procrastination leadership development

Do you procrastinate?  Procrastination is a sign that you are feeling worried about something.  Worry is the uncomfortable feeling present when you need to take action on the project at hand.  If you don’t use the energy of Worry to motivate you to take action, you will procrastinate and not take the steps necessary for you to succeed.  Once you take the necessary actions and feel well prepared, the feeling of Worry will dissipate quickly.  If you find yourself procrastinating or feeling helpless in a situation, check in with yourself to see if there is some unfinished business that you need to take care of.  Let’s look at an example…

I was halfway through the M.B.A. program.  I was sitting at my desk in my home office.  I had a mid-term paper to write.  I was working full-time and going to school part-time in the evenings.  I had been doing this for two and a half years and had about two years left.  I had put off writing the paper and had only the weekend left to do it.  I was tired from working all week, and didn’t feel like writing this in-depth paper.  I really just wanted to relax and do nothing.  As I was sitting at my desk, I broke down and started crying.  I put my head in my hands and started thinking things like, “I can’t do this… I want to quit… this is too much… it’s too difficult… I can’t do this anymore”.  Not only was I procrastinating during this time, but I was letting myself go into a deep, dark emotional abyss of helplessness and self-pity (which is a good distraction and a good way to continue to procrastinate). I could have been using that time and energy to start writing my paper, so that I could enjoy at least part of the weekend.

It was quite the dramatic scene.  After my pity-party (and wasting an hour of time), I took a deep breath and conceded to write the paper and stay enrolled in the M.B.A. program.  I got the paper done and two years later, graduated with the degree.  Sometimes, you don’t feel like doing the task at hand.  That’s normal.  And, when the Worry feelings get strong (really uncomfortable), it’s just your body’s way of telling you that the deadline is approaching and you still have work to do.  Once you do the work and get prepared, the uncomfortable, worried feelings will go away.  They are there for a purpose… to help you succeed.

Next week, we will look at the feeling of Hurt and what intelligence it’s trying to communicate to us.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

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ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Shame

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The feeling of Shame is the emotion that you feel when you do something that doesn’t serve yourself or others well.  The purpose of the uncomfortable feeling of Shame is to help you to own what you did, so that you don’t do it again.  It’s your internal barometer, telling you something is out of whack with your integrity.  In its essence, Shame leads to remorse.  Remorse leads to you learning a lesson (i.e. growing/expanding and not repeating the same action in the future).  There is a difference between Shame and Guilt.  Guilt is self-judgement, otherwise known as “beating yourself up”.  Guilt solves nothing whereas Shame creates remorse which emotionally connects you to the effect that your actions had on yourself or others.  It’s a sense of connectedness with yourself and others at a loving/caring level where you feel empathy as opposed to telling yourself how horrible of a person you are.

It takes courage to feel the shame that arises when you act less than perfectly.  No one likes to feel badly inside.  Let’s look at the example I gave last week.  To recap, I made a totally insensitive comment to an individual.  I was working in a facility which provided assisted living for developmentally disabled individuals.  I had accidently broken something on a resident’s wheelchair. When he asked me why I did that, my 16-year old response was, “Because I am retarded”.  I explained last week that I felt really embarrassed as a result.  Well, the other emotion I felt was shame. 

Let’s look at the ways I could have processed what happened that day.  After I made the comment, I could have:  1) Ignored it and said “who cares”; no one else was in the room.  2) Rationalized it by thinking, “I’m just a teenager and that’s how we talk… big deal!”.  3) Minimized it by thinking, “He probably didn’t understand what I said anyway” or “Maybe he didn’t hear me”.  4) Beat myself up over it.  I could have gone home and called one of my girlfriends and told her what happened, telling her that I am such a horrible person, saying “I can’t go back there.  I’m obviously not cut out for this kind of work”.  5) Own what I did and apologize to the resident.

Which “solution” is best?  I chose to suck it up (a.k.a. actually feel the shame and remorse), admit I was wrong, and apologize.  I don’t know that at age 16 I consciously processed the remorse I felt inside, however, I did learn from the experience.  As you can imagine, from that day forward, I became extremely aware of the words I used when speaking to others.  Even to this day, I really pay attention when I speak about sensitive subjects or about groups of individuals who have a specific designation.  The benefit that resulted from the shame I felt that day was an increase in my social intelligence.

Note: Feelings arise in order to tell you that something is out of harmony.  In this case, the crappy feeling (shame) only lasted a few minutes until I apologized.  Then I felt better and was back in balance.  Emotions are supposed to blow in (think “in motion”) just long enough to guide you as to what action to take to get back in balance.  In this case, shame “blew in” for good reason.  And, it “blew out” as soon as I apologized.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the feeling of Worry and what its purpose is.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

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ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Feeling Embarrassed

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What good could possibly come from feeling embarrassed?  All feelings have intelligence and serve as guideposts to tell you something about yourself.  When you feel embarrassed, it helps you develop humility which is a sought-after leadership character trait.  I read recently that humility is knowing that you are nothing more and nothing less than the other people around you.  (Just think of the vibe you would send out if you possessed this character trait and the positive results you would see in return.)  I’m going to give an example of an embarrassing situation from my adolescent years.  I’m using this example because I’ll never forget it… It was that embarrassing!

At age 16, I got a job as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) at a local health care facility in my hometown.  This particular facility specialized in providing care for the developmentally disabled.  It was divided into four distinct units/floors.  The units were divided up based on the level of care the residents needed on a daily basis.  The floor I worked on was for residents who needed care with daily living activities.  They were not quite to a self-care level that they could live on their own.  Part of my job was to provide some of these daily living activities like transferring the individual into their wheelchair from their bed or putting away their laundry into dresser drawers.  Each individual had their own unique abilities and disabilities, and each individual had their own story as to how they came to live there.

One day, I was in one of the resident’s rooms.  I had just finished putting his clean laundry away.  He was lying in his bed, and we were having a conversation.  He was probably in his early 30’s.  He was a youthful, smart individual with extensive physical disabilities.  His wheelchair was next to his bed.  I decided to sit in his wheelchair while talking to him. (Remember, I was 16 years old.)  While we were conversing, I was maneuvering around in his wheelchair and ended up messing something up on it.  I think the foot pedal fell off.  The resident saw what I did and right away asked, “Why did you do that?”.  My response (which to this day I still remember like it happened yesterday) was, “Because I am retarded”.  It was the 80’s, and this was a term that we would throw around regularly in conversation with our peers.  But, once those words came out of my mouth, I was completely mortified and wished that I was dead, right there on the spot.  The milli-seconds after, once I realized what I had said, was a blur.  There was no way that I was going to be able to fix this.  I remember quickly trying to minimize/rationalize by thinking, “Maybe he didn’t hear me” or “I hope he knows that I didn’t mean it that way”.  But, the truth of the matter was no amount of rationalizing or minimizing would take away what I did and my complete embarrassment.  I ended up apologizing to him, saying that I didn’t know why I said that.  I owned it which was probably the best thing to do in the situation.  But, it was one of the most humiliating moments in my life.

If we don’t feel and own our feelings of embarrassment, we’ll feel like we always need to be perfect which is an unachievable objective.  We are human.  We make mistakes.  Owning them is what gives us the character virtue of humility.  Humility and self-acceptance are the benefits of the feeling of embarrassment.

Another feeling I felt that day was Shame.  Next week, we’ll look at the feeling of Shame and what intelligence it has to offer us.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC. We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives. For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

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ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Envy

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The feeling of Envy is a motivational feeling, and its purpose is to give you the energy to make a change. If you don’t feel and “use” the energy behind the feeling of envy, you’ll become stuck and remain jealous of what other people have. Here is an example…

I personally like the look of Audi cars, especially the sport sedans. Every time I see one on the road, I feel a tinge of envy inside. The purpose of my feeling of envy is to get my attention to let me know that I feel positively towards that car and that I’d really like to be driving it. I have two choices at this point. The first is to use the energy created by my feeling of envy and figure out what it’s going to take to be able to drive that car. To start, I need to research how much that car would cost. The Audi S6 Sport Sedan starts at $70,900. Next, I need to figure out what the monthly payment would be. If I get 72-month financing at 0% interest, my monthly payment would be about $985. Now, I need to figure out if I can afford that or not. If I can’t, then I need to make a plan of how and when I can afford that payment, if that’s what I still want to do. If I decide that the payment is not something I want to undertake, then I learned that the Audi S6 Sport Sedan is not something that I can afford, and I maturely decide that I do not wish to dedicate that much of my monthly income to that car payment.

This is the purpose of the feeling of envy… to give me the energy and motivation to pursue something that I want. My second choice is to block my feeling of envy and the energy associated with it. Then my inner dialogue would be something like this… “Oh, man! I LOVE that car. That lucky bastard! I could never afford a car like that. I bet his life is so much better than mine. I’ll never have anything that nice in my life.” The emotional block that goes with this inner dialogue is jealousy. Jealousy is a sign that you are not utilizing the healthy, motivational feeling of envy.

The next time I see someone driving the Audi S6, I’ll say to myself, “Well, I could be driving that car if I wanted to. I’d have to make lots of sacrifices in other areas of my life, but I could afford it. I choose not to because I don’t want to spend that much every month on a car payment. I’ll just enjoy the look of the car. I feel good about my life and the decisions I make.” I’m now back in harmony and feel good.

That is emotional maturity which is achieved through increasing my emotional intelligence. Next week, we will explore the feeling of Embarrassment. What good could possibly come from that emotion? Stay tuned…

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC. We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives. For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

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ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of the Feeling of Disappointment

feeling of disappointment

The feeling of disappointment is a normal and natural feeling that arises when things don’t go as you expected, desired or planned. Disappointment is the body’s way of telling you that it’s time to move on. Your desire, expectation or plan is done…whatever “it” is has ended. If you ignore the feeling of disappointment and do not fully accept the “ending”, you will most likely act indecisively and feel discouraged. And, this indecisiveness and feeling of discouragement will continue until you deeply accept the ending and are able to detach from the situation (a.k.a. let it go).

For those of you who have gone through a divorce, you know the feeling of disappointment. When I got remarried in 2010, I was 40 years old and truly thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Not only was there both a physical and spiritual attraction, but we were both career-driven, goal-oriented, and shared a lot of the same values and beliefs with regard to family, parenting, finances, travel, etc. Fast-forward a few years…things weren’t so great. (I’ll spare you the details and drama.)

There came a point when my therapist asked me why I was staying in the marriage. I said, “because I love him”. In truth, there were a few other factors going through my mind like: I had committed in my wedding vows that this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t want to get divorced. I didn’t want to fail…again. I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to accept that it was not going to work. Instead of feeling the disappointment of us (in truth) not being a good fit, I continued to stay and talk and fight and rationalize and minimize and deny. My days were filled with indecisiveness, and I constantly felt discouraged. I was unhappy. I was trying to hold on to something that my body was sending me clear signals that this deal is OVER! But, I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t want to let it go for the reasons I mentioned above.

I finally listened to my body and acted on the feeling of disappointment. I admitted it was over. I accepted that the marriage was going to end in a divorce. There… that was the cold, hard fact that I was avoiding. Of course, the divorce process totally sucked. It didn’t become easy because I accepted the truth of the situation. It was painful as hell, honestly. But now, coming up on three years later, I can see how much I’ve grown. I now know how important it is for me to listen to my inner guidance. I have a sense of peace and humility within which came from making yet another mistake in life and forgiving myself as I learn the lessons I am here to learn.

Next week, we’ll explore the feeling of Envy. Yes, it’s a feeling and it also has intelligence attached to it. Until next time…

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC. We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives. For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

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