By Frank J. Rich
It is fact that decisions are formed of emotion. Accumulated data may inform them, but ultimately, we usually make decisions before the data-driven decision-making process begins. This may not be so bad “if” we are practiced at managing our emotions by their natural evocations. To do so requires both awareness and correctional models. When equipped well, the exchange between buyer and seller, at issue in most every exchange, is easier and much more rewarding – financially and emotionally.
Science tells us that emotional change, which results in better outcomes, is the product of six elemental variables. The process in each prepares a good emotional attitude, and as well, a good financial result. Specifically, these processes are described as awareness, expression, regulation, reflection, changing emotion with emotion, and corrective emotional experience. If this sounds a little far afield from “the business of doing business” consider the reason you last turned away from a vendor.
Awareness, in this context, sees the emotional experience, its adaptive information and action tendencies, to inform our next steps. When we speak about this process in words we form a model of the relational process, which helps us know how we feel and how to connect to the needs signaled by that emotion in order to meet those needs. When greeted poorly by a vendor or customer in our store the fear in losing the opportunity in each is at risk. We may feel disappointed, angry, or frustrated. When we are aware of our emotions and sensations we are better able to navigate the circumstances in our lives. In this case, we might better identify the real needs of the other and so take action to address them.
When we put our emotions and sensations into open expressions, we are better able to manage the tendency to avoid the experience, which negatively affects the neuromuscular system. Open expression of the emotional experience aids the necessary change in self-organization and interactions.
When we learn to tolerate the emotional experience, regulation, we are better prepared to address the emotional experience in a healthy manner. Why consider this approach; think about road rage, anger over gouging at the pump, unreasonable food prices, and rising healthcare costs for perspective. These and other issues are better managed by a healthy emotional experience, something that significantly aids the buyer/seller exchange. Self-soothing exercises such as breathing and oriented distractions are the internalizations that turn lemons into lemonade.
What we make of our emotional experience prepares us more completely than even our skills and knowledge – the reason that most succeed by attitude and habit. The reflection helps create new models of collaborative behavior that are more productive and inform results going forward. A critical element in organization building, assessment (reflection), adjusts our perspective and builds more positive narratives to work with in the future.
In the effort to chase maladaptive emotions such as fear and shame, transformation, or the undoing of one emotion for another is most useful. When employed, maladaptive emotions are transformed by empowered and supportive responses such as understanding of another’s concerns and simple caring. Generally, people care more about what you know, when they know you care. The idea flies in the face of the view that empowerment is the unique domain of so-called “smart” people, but is a more accurate view.
Allowing a new experience to change old feelings, referred to as corrective emotional experience, has the tendency to correct poor behavioral patterns of the past. When we see (emotions and sensations) – that a new way works better than the old – the success produces a corrective experience.
The way we approach things is as vital to the results as the things themselves. The emotional schemes we employ make the difference. Happy feet make happy paths.