When it becomes a habit, self-reflection activates automatically, bringing a more flexible, present, intentional, compassionate, aware mind, and guiding us to make better decisions and create a general sense of wellbeing.
When we enter the workplace, we bring with us our loves, hatreds, anxieties, emotions, disappointments, and pride. We will meet and mingle with others who also have their cares and concerns and their emotional agendas. These influence whom we can collaborate with, how comfortable we feel, whom we trust, how productive we become, what we can reveal, and what we hide. They support, consciously or unconsciously, the coalitions, conflicts, and negotiations that arise. All this, in effect, makes “work”—what we do, what we produce, how we act. Emotions are not an optional extra or incidental to “real” work; they are part of the warp and the pattern of experiences and work practices.
If you read my articles, you know that I always talk about self-awareness. Why? Because, along my own path in life, I have noticed that most of the conflicts, struggles, and difficulties that I have experienced and continue to experience at work have taught me something valuable if I am conscious. The opposite is true when I am not aware. They become a “problem,” and my life becomes challenging.
There was a time when I could not see beyond the “story” because I was running on autopilot. You know, they said this or that, or my boss made me feel ashamed or ineffective, or my client was arrogant and did not respect me, and so on—the mental stories. However, as I started to practice emotional intelligence, I realized that I am more effective in handling conflict and creating solutions when I detach myself from the mental stories.
In other words, if I am conscious, I can detach from the story my mind is creating about a problematic situation or person. Doing so makes it easier to let go of the reactive program of finding whom to blame or take it personally. I can separate myself from those stories and see them as the product of years-long programming; I can choose to direct my attention to the solution or become the observer instead of the judge.
As I kept practicing emotional intelligence and I incorporated mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, and yoga, difficulties became learning opportunities, and even though sometimes I go back to the “story” to find whom to blame or the one “responsible” for this or that, I now find my way to a space of neutrality with more ease. Many years have passed, and now I not only read, practice, and cultivate emotional intelligence, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and neuroscience, but I research, write, offer conferences, create programs, and accompany others on their journeys to live a more meaningful life.
I have developed the ability to manage my emotions because I am committed to my daily practice: 1 Minute of Self-Reflection, a tool that helps me and others recognize emotions, feelings, and thoughts that go unobserved most of the time. When it becomes a habit, self-reflection activates automatically, bringing a more flexible, present, intentional, compassionate, aware mind, and guiding us to make better decisions and create a general sense of wellbeing.
Are you ready to develop and cultivate the ability to recognize, process, and transform emotions?