We’re all emotional. It’s how we’re wired. Some of us know our emotional skills are … exceptional, and that’s okay. It’s okay as long as we realize their power, like any other element of power, is only useful when controlled. In our hangout with Bob Burg last week, he made the analogy to take your emotions along for the ride but to make sure you’re the one in the driver’s seat. Beautiful.
The context of our dialog with Bob revolved around his new book Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion. While our Friday discussion ranged from influence to misunderstandings to Bob’s tips on how to get out of a speeding ticket without crying, the part that stood out the most to me was this statement:
If you cannot control your own emotions you’re powerless to turn a potentially negative situation into something positive.
Emotional stability is a constant struggle in my world, though I like to believe I’ve made great strides in the past few years. If you have a strong sense of empathy, like most community managers do, this is probably a constant battle point for you as well. If it isn’t, consider yourself very lucky, I’m totally jealous.
There are a few things I’ve found that help with emotional stability, especially when interacting in professional settings.
- Wait to respond. No really. I have a snap retort for anything that my brain first assumes to be an attack. When this happens I try to reset my brain by addressing another task first. As Bob advised, respond rather than react.
- Give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be quick to judge. Assume that your potential adversary really just wants to be your best friend, or at least an ally.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep and make sure you find time to de-stress. The best way for me to maintain emotional stability and sanity is by running regularly. Endorphins are your friend.
I strongly believe it is absolutely essential for us, as community managers and as fellow occupants of this planet, to maintain emotional stability and to look for ways to create allies rather than quickly slapping an adversary label on someone’s forehead just because we don’t like what they have to say.
Do you struggle with emotional stability? What helps keep your emotions in the passenger seat?
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