Emotional Intelligence: Managing Disruptive Emotions

Photo: Adobe Stock/© tiero
What are you afraid of?
  • Heights?
  • Public speaking?
  • Sudden illness?
  • Loss of employment?

A big point of developing emotional intelligence for ultra-high performance is managing those daily destructive emotions. In a big way, destructive emotions hold us back from success. If you are in sales, for instance, one destructive emotion can paralyze and engulf you. It can turn small setbacks into a mountain of uncertainty and fear.

In my new Selling with Emotional Intelligence program, I like to ask sales professionals to list disruptive emotions. Let's go ahead and name the dragons that hold us back:

  • Fear
  • Confusion
  • Overwhelm
  • Anger
  • Insecurity
  • Uncertainty
Destructive emotions can drive destructive behaviors. It can:
  • Cause a fog of confusion and self-doubt
  • Derail meaningful relationships that were meant to bring fulfillment
  • Cloud our perspective and cause us to jump to judgement
  • Create overreaction and cloud situational awareness
  • Lead to paralysis or procrastination

Managing disruptive emotions is a primary leadership and sales meta-skill.

Here is a quick checklist to manage emotions:

1. Build a reservoir

Think of positive emotions as a big battery. You have to plug-in and recharge daily with physical and emotional enhancers.

I recently went through a challenging experience and had it not been for my consistent physical workouts, I may have been sabotaged by destructive emotions.

2. Know your triggers
Many triggers, like facing rejection on a prospecting call, present need to be “taken on.” Learn to anticipate and gain greater control by… (read #3)
3. Prepare and practice

The most effective way I have learned to manage disruptive emotions is to have advance preparation and practice.

Example: Prior to a keynote presentation, I use “commute time” in my car to deliver the keynote at least ten times. I visualize the audience, I visualize myself standing on stage, and I speak (notes free) envisioning my dynamic presentation.

4. Positive visualization
As I mentioned, I visualize success. The brain tends to hijack our emotions with worst-case scenarios and negative outcomes. We need to pre-wire and pre-program our brains for success.

Begin by focusing on your breathing— slow it down. In your “minds eye,” go step-by-step through each part of the call, presentation, one-on-one, etc. and focus on how you feel. Focus on your body language, the tone of your voice, and visualize yourself succeeding.

I often say in Selling with Emotional Intelligence, if emotions can get you in trouble, emotions can keep you from trouble. There are several more strategies I share, in addition to these four, but start by focusing on these:

  • Build a reservoir
  • Know your triggers
  • Prepare and practice
  • Positive visualization
Here's to greater success and confidence!
— Steve
Having coached and trained CEOs, Presidents, professional athletes, and world-class organizations, Steve’s insights have gained a reputation around the world as an authority on high performance leadership, emotional intelligence for exceptional leadership, growing leaders at every level, and accelerated sales success.