Your Emotions, Your Superpower

When I was in my first job, I was upset by something at work. A strong woman who had been there for years could tell I was upset and said to me “Girl, you keep your game face on and you never let them see you cry. You go and cry in your car if you need to, but in here, you stay strong.” For years, I believed that the only way to be seen as a professional and a strong woman was to pretend I didn’t have emotions, to never cry. But I’ve learned that it’s not about hiding emotion at work, it’s about harnessing emotions. Your emotions and emotional intelligence are one of your superpowers at work. Instead of pushing them down, here are 4 ways to use your emotions at work.

  1. Authenticity: When you allow yourself to feel and express emotion in a professional way, you show you’re human. Others can see that you’re a real person with feelings who is willing and able to communicate those feelings. 
  1. Empathy: By staying in touch with your emotions, you allow yourself to have empathy for others. If you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine what they might be going through and the pressures they’re under, you’re better able to communicate with them. You’ll go much farther if you frame requests, needs, and ideas as solutions for someone else.
  1. Clarity: Give yourself the opportunity to understand why you feel an emotion. Are you angry at work? Do you feel like something is unfair? Are you actually upset about something unrelated but you’re allowing those feelings to cloud your workday? Examining your feelings helps you determine the root cause and form a healthy response. 
  1. Stressors: Ever feel annoyed? If you feel stressed when people pop into your office in the morning, review why. It may be because you don’t feel like you have time to focus on your morning emails. Knowing this stressor can help you set aside time, find a quiet space to get those emails done so you feel ready for the rest of the day. Understanding your negative emotions can be used to adjust your habits and processes so that you can avoid those stressors going forward. 
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Running to the bathroom or your car to cry may feel more professional or at least hide you from feeling vulnerable. It’s ok to want to cry alone. But examine what is making you cry. Are you able to adjust something so you don’t feel this way in the future? Or is it a conversation you need to have when you’re ready? Use these 4 tips to help you harness those emotions and use your superpower for good. 

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