Written By: Robyn Shulman
Let it go or put it in your pocket. Whether we are aware of it or not, our emotions do not only play out in our personal lives; they are running rampant in our occupational lives as well. Quite often, these emotions are sprinting in the wrong direction directly through our subconscious and into the faces of those we work with, as well as, those we love.
I have been privileged to provide career and academic advice for thousands of people at all different life stages and from all different cultures. Although I have seen many differences and needs, I have noticed one area that remains constant: Emotions impair so many from landing a job, moving forward after a lay-off, or growing within a company or organization.
It is perfectly normal to combine our emotions with our careers, as it is what makes us human. However, how we tend to and address these emotions is critical for personal growth and development. When feelings begin to create unrealized obstacles, we must take a step back and either let them go, or put them in our pocket to address at a better time.
With that said, here are some strategies and examples I’ve learned along this emotional career journey:
1. Put your problem into perspective: Draw a line from 1-10 on a piece of paper. At the end of 10, write down something that was or could be one of the hardest challenges/times in your life. Now place your current event on the line and step back. How does is it fit in? Does this problem fall low on the line? Perspectives are important and we all must be able to look at the big picture of our lives.
*Thank you to Louise Jacobs for providing this fascinating information and tool. I have used this strategy so very often, and it truly makes a difference.
2. Let it go: Let go of negative feelings holding you hostage. If you are angry, sad, or resentful, your potential employer or current employer will feel and notice it immediately (they have feelings too)! There is no reason to let emotions hold you back from career growth. All stages of grief are normal and require time to heal. However, holding on for longer than necessary will only consume you and affect those around you. Let these emotions go when you are ready, and you will find a much more pleasant time awaits you (and probably that promotion or job you wanted).
3. Put them in your pocket for later: If you are not ready to let go of negative emotions, and need to move forward now, put these feelings and/or situations in your pocket and address them at a better time. Do not take them out at work, or with a potential employer.
4. Stop blaming others for your situation: If we spent less time blaming others, and more time working to improve and build upon our already amazing skills, can you imagine how much more productive our society could be? Give the blame back to the person or place that gave it to you in the first place. You don’t need it, as it only takes up more space in your mind and heart. The only change you can make is the change you create; take the opportunity and run.
5. Give what you want to receive: Yes, this good old karma thing is not a new discovery, but it is so true! For example, if you go out to a restaurant and the waiter or waitress is in a horrible mood, how does your meal typically end up? How does your mood change during dinner? We must give the energy we want to breathe in. If we give love, we will get love. If we smile at others, most of the time, they will smile back. Be a mirror for reflection, and you will not only change how you feel, but how others feel as well.
6. Stop comparing yourself to others: Don’t spend endless amounts of time comparing yourself to others. You are you, and there is nobody as unique! If lay offs come along, and you happen to be let go, don’t spend endless hours wondering why this and that co-worker did not get let go as well. This is an endless curiosity, and to waste time with this focus in mind is counterproductive. Move forward.
7. Put the negative feelings and/or situation in another location: Envision and imagine yourself taking the situation and/or feeling and physically disposing of it somewhere. Oscar the Grouch is a good receiver for negative situations and feelings; he’s grumpy and lives in a garbage can; you get two for the price of one!
8. Don’t take everything so personal: Business is still business, even if you have been at a company for a lifetime. Times are rapidly changing with technology, as are jobs, needs and requirements. These are not personal changes, but rather, world changes. Move with the times, and don’t let fear, anger or resentment slow you down.