Last week I introduced the concept of being emotionally bipolar. This is the idea of being very strong and courageous in some situations with certain people, and being weak and fearful in others. The key in both is the emotional safety that you feel. My argument was that since you already have demonstrated strength and courage, and therefore have these attributes, then by simply altering your emotional temperature or of that of the situation, you can in fact proactively create more emotionally safe environments that then allow you to perform at higher levels more consistently.
Changing your emotional temperature proactively starts with first recognizing the situations and people that give you anxiety. Last week I asked you to make a list of these, along with a list of situations and people that allow you to be at your best. Healthy people are not people who do not have situations or people that give them anxiety. This is a myth. Healthy people are those who irrespective of the severity of the situation in the emotional spectrum are able to get back to their “GREEN” state where they can access the skills and memories required to navigate through the situation. So, realize that it is normal to feel several points of emotional highs and lows during the course of the day, week, month and life in general. GREEN, as I’ve blogged before, is your happy place, to use a layman’s term. The trick is to use your positive situations and people in your life to manage the other. For example, if you know you are meeting someone for lunch today that will give you anxiety, then for the hour or two before your lunch meeting, you should proactively engage with those positive people and positive situations (which you’ve already made a list of). We call this ‘filling up your EQ tank’ since you know it will be drained shortly. If you go to the situation with your EQ tank already low, you are likely to revert to the ‘fight or flight’ behavioral modes since you have little to rely on.
This week, look at your calendar for the rest of the week. Color code your meetings – Green, Yellow or Red. For every YELLOW or RED meeting, proactively eliminate meetings before and instead use that time to fill up your EQ tank.