Emotions are such an interesting, sometimes hard, crazy thing. I had a day this week. Actually, it fed right to the next day. I took a very quick negative spiral into the abyss of frustration followed by anger then to add to it decided to wrap it all together with sadness and worthlessness. See, I’m someone who tends to “beat herself up” (figuratively speaking of course) when I feel that I’ve let someone down, it’s tough! People are such an important part of my life, I want to help lift them up (again figuratively). When I see someone hurting, emotionally, physically, whatever it is, my initial instinct is to help support them. This right here can be very tasking on my emotions when I get into the spiral. Or, what some people call the negative mind loop, it really takes awareness to turn around.
Here’s what happened. I’ve been in leadership roles for a very very long time. Each of the four companies I’ve held leadership roles with have varied in culture and expectations. The thing for me that holds true anywhere as a leader, manager, or coach is that there are certain things one should do. Three of which being, expectations should be clearly set, support given when needed and accountabilities adhered to. I really enjoy empowering people and allowing them to put their own “twist or personality per se’ on things”. Anyway, as a leader when you are responsible for holding people to expectations it is a balance so as to not “micro-manage” which from my point of view I am very far from that. This is a whole other topic that is not meant for today but there are so many misconceptions of what micro-managing really is. Anyway, this is what hit me and put me into that abyss, the spiral, ugh. Being called a micro-manager gets me to my core you guys. This my friends is what is called a “Trigger”.
The first thing you must do when this happens is catch it. You can be having a great day. You’re happy, at peace, whatever it is then something happens, your heart sinks, or starts racing, you get angry, sad, or frustrated, when you feel it, take a step back and pinpoint what triggered these emotions. Identify as many details as possible. If you can, try to note the times of day it happens, are there patterns? Once you have identified what triggered you, it makes it easier to work through what to do next time it comes up.
Next, look at the facts of your details and ask yourself, are they true? Here’s an example, for me. I had to look at the facts about my leadership style and question, am I micro managing? There are times as a leader, you have to. This was not one of those moments. When I took a step back and looked, it was so much easier to see. If it’s true and you can grow from the information, use it. It is OK to say, “I can do better in this area”. You guys, if you knew all the areas that I have screwed up and grown from it, oh boy! I know this can be hard especially if you are someone who tends to be harder on themselves like I am but trust in the fact that it will truly make you stronger. Please remember this from me, “You are human today and every day” embrace it! I am thankful to have you in my life, give yourself a break, be thankful for being able to make mistakes. If you need a reminder email me, I’ll remind you!
Now you know the trigger, this is great, you can be ready for the next time it shows up. It’s easier to overcome when you are equipped to deal with it. Keep in mind that even though you are aware and ready there will still be times it catches you completely off guard like this day did for me. First thing I do to be ready when my emotions come in strong, I have my list of positives. For me, it’s hard to see the positives in the moment so if I have my “you ROCK” list ready I can read it through. We all have amazing traits that we have brought to this universe and that we have yet to bring. Have a “go to” notebook with all of the good positive you have done in your life, all of the great things about yourself. If you write these when you are in your most positive moments, they can help you get out of the negatives faster. This is so important my friends.
Next up, get a support system in place, people who will listen and will be honest with you. We all need someone to help us put things in perspective. When you get in the loop, get ahold of that person. I struggled with this for a long time and will just say when you have a go to it helps! I also learned who not to go to. See, there may be people in life who love you and care about you and will listen but may go into their own sea of negative. You guys that won’t help. It’s OK to have those people in your life but don’t make them your go to. For these folks you may also need to learn when not to have them around. If you are already on the edge, they might push you right in the abyss. This isn’t their fault or their problem, it’s yours. You just need to know when and how to have them in your life. For me, this has been super important even for people as close as my husband, the love of my life, I know he is not my go-to in certain situations, sometimes he just doesn’t get it and he really struggles seeing me when I’m hurt. Then, when he can’t help or doesn’t know what to do to help he gets frustrated. Again friends, know your people and who to go to for what. If you feel you don’t have anyone you can count on message me, I’ll give you some ideas. There are groups and support systems, you just have to find what’s works best for you. Please just be sure to find others that will help you up as opposed to bring you further down. Or, if you need a nudge, email me, message me, whatever you need!
A few other things that could help, try a gratitude journal. It’s a whole lot harder to stay down when you are grateful. This one is newer for me but has had such a profound impact on my life. It really helps put life in perspective and for me at least keep my stress levels manageable. Hang some post it notes all around your house, write things on them that motivate you or give you good reminders, tomorrow is a new day to start again. Try mediating. Exercise, breathe, try yoga, get your body moving, it can change your state and help bring you out of the negative. Find songs that motivate the heck out of you, turn it up and dance around your house, room, wherever! Try several things and you will quickly learn what works best for you.
Finally, somedays, you just need to cry it out, eat some chocolate then start fresh the next day. Just make yourself the promise that tomorrow is a new day, when your feet hit the floor, say it out loud, “It’s going to be a great day”!
Stay strong friends, you got this!
Supporter of people and growth. I absolutely LOVE helping others see in themselves what I see in them. We all have good in us, we just need a bit of help seeing it at times.