The Dichotomy Of Emotions
If you've been a reader for some time you know how I love the idea of dichotomies. Things like how often our greatest strengths can also be our greatest weakness. Recently I've been thinking about emotions at work and how they are both a positive and a negative.
There are many sayings about not taking things personally and getting upset. "It's not personal, it's just business." What a load of crap. Tell it that it isn't personal to the small business owner when the big box moves into town. Tell that to the person that just got passed over for a promotion they've been busting their tail for. It is virtually impossible to not react emotionally in those situations. In my career I've had every emotional state. I've felt anger, joy, jealousy, boredom, happiness, pride, ambition, fear, surprise and disgust.
It is good to be passionate, but you can't become so overzealous that bumps in the road consume you. You can't be so frustrated that you miss the ideas on how to make it better. When things upset you, make you angry, you want to vent about it, stomp up and down and yell at everyone how you aren't going to take it anymore. Maybe you don't go that far, but I guarantee you find a friend that will lend an ear to your complaints.
It is good to have emotions. Get upset, be happy, show some crazy enthusiasm when you get some good news. The people I can't stand working with are those that are apathetic. They don't care, come in, punch a clock, and figure out how to do as little as possible without getting fired.
The key isn't to show no emotions at work. The key is knowing how to not let your emotions control you and how you react. Recognizing when you are angry and needing to take a step back to fix the problem making you angry in the first place. The challenge though is when you are emotional it is hard to recognize you are emotional. This is why we need to be a part of a team. Have those friends and colleagues on your side who can point out when you are letting your emotions run away from you. Which means you need to be there for them, recognizing when they are in need of a friendly reminder to take a step back and really assess what is going on.
There is a curve in which our passion and emotions get us energized and getting through the ups and downs in life, but then they plateau and become more of a hinderance to us than a helper.