• Read What We Can Learn From the Groundhog

    Emotional Intelligence, Well Being

    What We Can Learn From the Groundhog

    It’s been an interesting week here in Austin, Texas.  The first ice storm of 2023 rained down on the city this week and considering the driving skills of most Texans in ice, we have all been ordered to stay put in the safe recesses of our homes (assuming you have power, and if not it’s every man for himself…).  The Makings of One Massive Frustration Funk Not being able to leave the house for several days already had me in a funk.  We extroverts need to be let out of our cage.  Then a client offsite I had so carefully planned got cancelled due to covid.  There went my perfectly orchestrated client schedule and my trip to New Orleans I was so looking forward to that just happened to perfectly coincide with Mardi Gras (Throw me some beads, Mister!).  Unfortunately, no new beads for me this year.  Add to that a 5-day migraine which started on Monday and is only letting up now, and it’s fair to say I haven’t been an easter basket of joy these past few days. My consolation had been old episodes of Married at First Sight (it’s addictive, I swear!) until we lost internet, so now I’ve been forced to work on this blog given I can’t stream anymore.  And I’m mad about that.  I need to know if Sonia says yes to Nick in season 4 of my show…if I were in her shoes, it would be a big resounding NO.  This morning tensions came to a peak, no yoga for almost a week, and I found myself in what I often refer to as an emotional loop of doom – an ongoing diatribe that repeats in one’s head like a bad Def Leppard song.  It’s easy in these moments to feel like you’re right back where you started.  I was down on myself and life in general.  I’m never going to figure these migraines out.  Rescheduling the offsite is going to put my work back with these clients, it’s going to jeopardize the progress we’ve made.  Why are these jeans so damn tight!  Why does the internet hot spot on my phone not work!  My ISP sucks!  Why did the cat just pee inside in the pot of succulents – Jesus! And then my thoughts went to an even darker place.  What’s the point of any of this!  Does anything I do even make a difference!  You know that sticky, restless feeling when you’re mad with everyone and everything including yourself?  You can’t focus, you rush from task to task to keep yourself busy but nothing seems to help?  Yes, I was there. And coincidently yesterday was Groundhog Day.  A coincidence I think not! 3 Simple Tactics to Fight Frustration and the Curse of the Groundhog So I sat down at my computer and forced (yes forced) myself to do 3 simple things that I’ve often advocating my clients do (yes it is hard at times to practice what you preach!): Coaching Questions […]

    February 3, 2023

    |

    4.1 min read

  • Read Feeling is freeing: How to Practice Emotional Intelligence

    Authenticity, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership

    Feeling is freeing: How to Practice Emotional Intelligence

    For years and years, I would have told you that I was a very emotionally intelligent person.  I was aware that emotions could take many forms, had many names and I knew intellectually it was important to understand them.  Emotional intelligence has been a notable topic for many years, and I considered myself to be one of those wise people who were in the know. Unfortunately, in all of my information gathering on the topic, I ignored one crucial point.  That in order to have emotional intelligence you actually have to experience emotions.  Who would have thought? The key to emotional intelligence is to not just identify the emotion we are experiencing with a handy dandy robust emotional vocabulary, but to allow ourselves to feel it non-judgmentally.   This is a key point, because many of us who grew up in households where emotions were not welcome got used to shoving them down and pretending they didn’t exist. Feeling is freeing When we suppress emotions, it typically doesn’t lead to much good.  We end up accumulating hurt on top of hurt and over time these feelings build up until one day we can’t shove them down any longer, and the long-awaited bomb finally erupts.  Or we can try to numb them out with the help of food, booze, shopping, video game playing or any other addictive habit we have accumulated over the years.  Not a recipe for success either. We often try to squash the negative emotions.  The ones we consider to be “bad” like anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, shame (my personal favorite), disgust, overwhelm, anxiety, fear.  We’re often not super aware of the oh so subtle tricks we’ve accumulated over the years for disowning these things in ourselves. I feel anxiety before delivering a leadership development program, particularly a new one.  Perfectly reasonable, right?  And yet, in my head I’m thinking to myself, “Bad Shelley.  You shouldn’t be feeling that.  You’re only feeling that because you’re a bad teacher and facilitator.  If you were better at your job, you’d be more confident and you’d never experience this.” So the anxiety comes up, and I try to swat it down by directing anger at myself for having the emotion in the first place. Or perhaps I’m frustrated or angry at a family member.  “Bad Shelley.  You shouldn’t be feeling that.  You’re only feeling that because you’re a bad niece, sister, cousin, etc.  If you were a better person, you would be more caring and emphatic and understand their perspective and where they were coming from.” Here is the mental leap that often eludes us:  having and especially feeling an emotion does not make a person “bad.”  What matters at the end of the day is what we do with the emotion we’re having.  I can be angry and resentful inside and yet I can still manage to put that aside and recognize in the moment exhibiting that behavior would not be helpful.  I can choose my response.  I feel the way […]

    August 18, 2022

    |

    4.5 min read