We all have a trigger that can render us to act in a childish, unbecoming, rude or even hostile manner. Mine is with “tech difficulties.” Admittedly, I am not very tech savvy. Typically I am self-aware enough and do a good job of managing my emotions and reactions around this.
However, that didn’t happen this week when I was faced with several technical challenges along with some daunting deadlines. Such as, the spinning color wheel on my computer that kept appearing every 2 minutes and continued to spin while I waited over and over. (Yes, I Googled it and yes, I called tech support to no avail.) Add to that my password was declined when I attempted to pay my American Express bill and I had to wait 3 minutes (which seemed like forever) for tech support to come online.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that when I replaced my phone this week, my phone and computer wouldn’t sync, so I was constantly toggling between the two to find appointments and contacts? I have to admit that after a couple of days of dealing with all these issues, I was not the calm, positive, solution-focused individual that I would like for all of you to see. And I certainly didn’t contribute to a great day for Michael from American Express’ tech support team.
Then it hit me. What am I doing? I work with clients to teach them how to be more emotionally and socially intelligent in their work and life. Wow, I stepped back with humility after my regress, regrouped and coached myself to a better frame of mind and a positive approach.
So I practiced what I teach my clients. The 3R’s – Recognize, Relax and Reframe.
First, I became acutely aware of my physical feelings – recognizing the knot in my stomach, the clenched jaw, and my irritated motions, and my terse voice (yes you know the one) were triggering emotional responses in me and bringing out the worst in my reactions.
With that awareness, I put the phone down (calmly this time before I called Peach Mac) and took a few deep breaths, relaxed my face, neck and shoulders. Then, as opposed to just thinking about my short-term emotions and how great it would feel to vent my frustrations, I focused my thoughts on what I wanted to accomplish long-term. What was my real goal here? I also visualized the person on the other end of the phone who deserved to be treated with respect - and who I needed to help me! I thought about us as a team.
Then I visualized what I wanted to happen – me communicating in a rational, respectful manner and the tech person coming up with the solution. Only after that reframing of the situation, did I make the call. Joshua is now looking forward to helping me resolve my computer issues when we meet tomorrow and I’m now pleasant to be around again.
The first two components of emotional intelligence are self-awareness and self-management. The good news is that our level of emotional intelligence (EQ) can be increased. The benefits of a higher EQ are many:
- Increased ability to stay calm under pressure
- Higher empathy for others
- Capacity for more thoughtful rational business decisions
Could working with a coach benefit you?
If, like me, you only occasionally “lose it,” it’s probably no big deal. But if you are constantly stressed out, find yourself making excuses for your behavior, find that people aren’t reacting to you in the manner you desire, or you seem to have difficulty getting things done through other people, then the common denominator may be you. Working with an executive coach can help you learn how to increase your emotional intelligence and have more effective, productive – not to mention better – business and personal relationships.