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Archive for the ‘Acknowledging Emotions’ Category

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At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Hillary broke down and was near tears as she described what is at stake for both her and for the country in this election. Hillary’s every move is, of course, being watched right now, as she appears to be about to lose the New Hampshire primary by an even greater margin as the Iowa primary. This is one of the first times she’s allowed herself to show her human side.

 I am, of course, a big believer in not segmenting parts of your life, and I believe that it is especially critical not to segment parts of your life if you want to be an inspiring, authentic leader. A great leader doesn’t distance herself from her emotions, she uses them to make herself stronger, more empathic, and more powerful. It’s been dissapointing to me that Hillary has thus far tried to distance herself from emotions to be the ‘rational’ and ‘strong’ voice that she seems to think voters are looking for.  I’m curious to see if this openness about what she really cares about, this window into who she is as a person, makes a difference on the voters in New Hampshire. And whether or not it lasts.

Of course, it could just be one more calculating move to win attention and votes, but even if it is calculated, I’ll be looking to see whether bringing more of herself and her emotion into her campaign makes a difference for Hillary. To read more about her speech and or watch the video, go to: http://www.newsweek.com/id/85609

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One of the things I’ve learned from work is around setting expectations. The work that we do is often ambiguous and we often take our clients through a process is is scary, uncontrollable and unlike anything they’ve ever been involved in before. And we need to get through that process so that we can generate ideas that are both truly new and really good business ideas. (It turns out its easy to come up with ideas that are new and bad, but that’s a whole different post.)

One way that we address the issue of clients calling in a panic about the process is to set expectations as soon as the project begins. We share a document called The Emotional Rollercoaster that gives them a sense of what they’re likely to feel, when. It highlights ups and downs that we’ve seen clients go through time and time again. This is a great opening into a conversation about the emotional side of innovation. It also provides a tool for us to talk about during the moments when people really begin to panic. Reminding them that it’s common and necessary doesn’t ease the pain, but it makes the pain more bearable.

The conversations I have with my kids are, of course, a little less heady. But kids require the same kinds of expectation setting so that they can be emotionally prepared for what’s coming next. That applies to little things: I always have to warn them in advance when I’m about to cut a bagel in half and give them each half a bagel instead of a whole one. And it applies to the big things: their nanny, grandmother, father and I talked a lot about what would happen when they started school and developed an entirely new routine. While helping them anticipate what they’re going to experience and potentially feel doesn’t always mean I can help them avoid feeling it, it does leave the door open to helping them make sense of their emotion and, ultimately, get past it. Which means we can spend less time focusing on the emotional cost of an activity and more time doing it.

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