Emotions are what colour our lives. They are the what give experiences meaning and memorability. The one thing that entrepreneurs are renowned for is their passion – and emotion! Entrepreneurs tend to be colourful in both a good and a bad way.
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
It’s often not a loss of enthusiasm, but rather the display of frustration that differentiates entrepreneurs. Temper tantrums, blowing hot and cold, and extreme displays of emotion are all behaviours that those who work with entrepreneurs will be very familiar with.
The problem is not the display of emotion, but rather the impact that the display has on others.
For employees who are sensitive to the mood of others, this behaviour can be extremely stressful and even detrimental. It is unlikely that the entrepreneur is aware of their impact on others, because often once their display is over, they move on.
While emotional displays are common in many entrepreneurs, the entrepreneur needs to become cognisant of her ups and downs, how she expresses her emotion, and the impact this has on those around her.
Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will give the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.
To show you a graph proving how managing your emotions impacts positively on your career and life is probably a waste of time. Not because the data isn’t valid, but rather because it is only in the experiential management of your emotions that you can actually start seeing the impact unfold.
Emotions lie at the core of all human behaviour.
Before we think or act on anything, we have a feeling that charges through our system, to which we react. Most of us believe that we are in control and that the majority of our behaviour is controlled and chosen. This is true when we’re in balance and not caught off guard.
It is the massively charged human emotions – the shock, the frustration, the anger, the humiliation – which spiral our responses out of control. It is then that our internal regulator is hijacked, and we are faced with the consequent cost of an emotional outburst, and its resultant ripple effects.
Understanding your own triggers and emotional pulses empowers you to colour your life and experiences as you please, without having to rethink the collateral damage of an outburst. The emotionally intelligent person is able to experience the sensation of their emotions, without displaying anything inappropriate or incongruous.
“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals and values are in balance.”
The emotionally intelligent person knows themselves and their emotions. It’s not that emotions are bad – it’s just the inappropriate display of them from which we need to recover.
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One of the greatest misconceptions of modern times is the belief that ‘happy workers are productive workers’. As much as there is evidence to back this up, there is just as much evidence to disprove it.
Our emotions are the dynamics which colour our lives. They give moments meaning, frame our memories, and let us know how we’re doing. The truth is that our emotions drive us in different ways – and it’s not necessarily the good ones that make our work great.
Being emotionally intelligent is knowing ourselves, acknowledging our sensations, and knowing what does and doesn’t work for us. It is sometimes at the depths of desperation that we are catapulted forward to overcome a challenge; or it is the vehement anger that burns deep inside which ignites the passion to just get something done; or the simple sadness that forces us to face our own truths, from which a greatness emerges.
Artists across all disciplines are renowned for using their deepest feelings to spur their most prominent work. So too, is the average working person driven by stress, which gets them out of bed in the morning.
The fundamental question is not ‘are you happy enough to be productive?’ but rather, ‘what emotion initiates your efficiency, so that the best of you can emerge?’
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We’ve heard it said before: “No-one lies on their deathbed and wishes that they’d spent more time at the office.” The irony is that this is often said to those who desperately need to hear it, but although most of us would agree with the sentiment, there is frequently something stronger that drives us and pulls us into working long hours, whether ambition, a sense of responsibility towards our clients and our business, or an overwhelming to-do list.
The key to achieving a sense of work-life balance is to integrate the meaningful components of your life in such a way that each part of your life can flourish.
We’re not saying that the some parts of people’s lives don’t function independently, but rather that if your family supports and understands your work, they feel more involved, you feel less alone, and you are able to achieve a sense of belonging with your own people. In a way it’s about having your own cheerleading squad who support and sustain you – to include your loved ones in your work life makes absolute sense.
We believe David Rockefeller summed it up perfectly in a sentence:
“I am convinced that material things can contribute a lot to making one’s life pleasant, but, basically, if you do not have very good friends and relatives who matter to you, life will be really empty and sad, and material things cease to be important.”
Every stress management article out there promotes identifying the cause of your stress – treating the source and not the symptom. The problem with this is that for most people who are active in the economy, life in general is the source of stress. Trying to get through what we’ve planned, feeling pressure to constantly up our game, and continually feeling the need to create balance, are just some of the areas that contribute to feelings of stress.
Regardless of the source of your stress, if you resolve it, there is a high likelihood that it will be replaced by something equally, or more, stressful. The principle then is to learn how to manage your stress levels so that you feel in control of your life.
The below are 10 simple stress busting tips that really work and can transform your life:
Learn to say no! If it’s not your responsibility, do not allow someone else to increase your workload and cause distress.
Categorise what matters to you. We can all list our priorities. It’s when clients and colleagues start to pressurise us that we lose sight of what really matters. Keep the vision of what really matters firmly in your mind.
Do what you enjoy doing first. There is a time management principle that promotes getting the work you don’t like doing out of the way first. We advocate that in fact the opposite holds true. Doing what you love and what you’re good at increases your energy levels so that the rest of your day is more fruitful, productive and enjoyable.
Exercise. Whether it’s yoga, running or going for a walk, the human body needs the endorphins that come from physical movement. They are a natural stress reliever, and give us the ability to think clearly.
Breathe. For years we have been told that we slump at our desks and only fill the top 12% of our lungs’ capacity. At least every hour, take a few seconds to have a few really good, deep breaths – inhale for five slow counts, gently hold for five counts, and then exhale for five slow counts.
Cold water. Most of us are slightly dehydrated. By sipping cold water we not only rehydrate, but we also refresh ourselves and keep our bodies, and energy levels, from slumping during the day.
Positive talk. Although stress does not arise from a negative self-perception, how we handle stress can be strongly influenced by how we perceive ourselves and our stress levels. Be kind to yourself and be kind about yourself. Watch your internal dialogue, and if you wouldn’t talk that way to a loved one, don’t talk that way to yourself.
Have fun. So many people get caught up working incredibly hard to build a life that they want, and forget that the process is part of life itself. By the time you’ve achieved your goal, you will probably be too exhausted to enjoy it. Let yourself appreciate all the moments along the way.
Let others help. So often our stress comes from the belief that we have to do everything, and it all has to be done 100% right. Getting another perspective can often offer amazing insights, and realising that imperfect is also good enough is a valuable step in managing feelings of overwhelm and stress.
Rest when you’re resting. When it’s time out, it is not time to discuss, or read, or think about work. It is time to let your body, mind and psyche take a break. Embrace it.
In 2009, Vishen Lakhiani was asked to speak at Engage Today in Calgary, alongside such luminaries as Sir Richard Branson, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Stephen Covey, Nobel Prize Winner F.W. De Klerk, Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos.com, and world-famous artist Wyland. He talks about ‘flow’, the ultimate state of human existence. You’re in the ‘flow state’ when you are being pulled forward by big goals, but are also happy with exactly where you are.
The concept of being ‘in your flow’ sounds so simple and easy. Most South Africans however profess to being very stressed or under immense pressure. The question is, how much of that stress is beneficial, and how much is necessity?
Defining stress in these terms is unconventional. Traditionally stress is seen as the ultimate evil, to be avoided at all costs, and is perceived to be neither beneficial nor essential. However, if you think about it, the business world thrives on stress. It is the pulsating pressure that makes things happen and moves us forward.
So how does that help us get into our flow? Psychologically, you’re in your flow when you have the perfect balance between feeling challenged, using your abilities to create meaningful work, and finding happiness in the moment. Experiencing the right amount of stress can stimulate you to achieve the overcoming of obstacles, and the advancement of yourself. That way, you play to your natural strengths and keep yourself vital.
By redefining how you think about stress, how you experience it, and by assessing the levels of stress you can tolerate before it becomes harmful, your flow overflows and your stress levels work to your advantage.
“Inhale the future. Exhale the past.” – Unknown
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