I know most of you will likely never visit my office here in Charlotte, North Carolina…but if you did (and you’re all welcome to!), you would notice that all of my walls are covered with pictures, mementos, artifacts, gifts, and like such. Now the fact that my office is decorated shouldn’t impress any of you. However, my office décor is not office décor … it is in fact a collection of very specific items that conjure a very specific experience and memory.
For example, one of the items sitting right in front of me, as I write this blog, is a small statue of 6th Century Mongolian soldier. It can probably be purchased for less than five dollars at a flea market. It is not spot clean and even has a few cracks in a few places. But it is quite possibly one of my most treasured possessions. You see, it was given to me by the most dearest of all human beings I have ever known — Gary Mason – my mentor and best friend who this year will have died exactly 20 years ago. When I look at this soldier, I can conjure up Gary’s face, his smile, and can almost hear his words. He was one of the very few people that I ever met where every single conversation was akin to an intellectual workout. He made me think in ways I had not considered…and in ways that left me thinking about our conversations long after they were over … even 20 years after they ended.
When I am wrestling with an email, phone conversation, or a personal or business decision I have to make, I often times just turn my head to the soldier or any one of the dozens of items I have and find that my emotional state almost instantly changes. The conscious conjuring of meaningful and positive experiences is what “Self-Regulation” in the Emotional Intelligence framework is all about. And I find myself much better able to process any challenge that comes my way.
I ask you to consider redecorating your office or your room or adding to what is in your wallet or in your cell phone — fill these places with such very meaningful items that can instantly take you to a great place for centering yourself, your mind, and your emotions. Your space is, after all, YOUR space. And if it is a place where you need to perform your best, then surround it with EVERYTHING you can possibly think of that can help you perform your best.